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Nathan Sinnott May 7th, 2022

From Touch to Sound: How Voice Technology Is Changing the IoT Landscape and Should You Follow the Switch?

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been around since the 1980s, but it was only in the last decade that this technology has taken off and grown in popularity and wide adoption. In 2019, there were approx. 10 billion active IoT devices in use worldwide, with this number is expected to grow to 30.9 billion by 2025.

Looking at today’s landscape, it is already evident how IoT has integrated itself into people’s daily lives, such as home security, smart appliances, wearable devices, and much more. Further, the rapid development of IoT has undoubtedly revolutionised many industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, transport/logistics and retail.

At the center of this flourishing growth is voice technology. While this is not a new concept in the market, voice technology has gained strong momentum in recent years, transforming the overall IoT landscape. Read on to learn more about what is causing the shift from touch to sound, so you can better understand the value of making the switch.

Key Factors Driving the Voice Technology Revolution

You might be wondering why voice technology is suddenly making waves in the digital space when it has been around for a while now. To better understand this phenomenon, here are the key factors driving the growth of voice technology in the market.

COVID-19 Pandemic

The pandemic has created a new need for touch-less systems and transactions as people seek to minimise contact and practice safety measures. As a result, many businesses started using voice technology to provide customers with a sanitary alternative to previous touch based tasks. Examples include online banking, booking medical appointments, and scheduling grocery deliveries.

Similarly, Tom Taylor from the Amazon Alexa team noted a considerable increase in the use of voice at home. For instance, individuals use Alexa to find recipes, listen to music, and stream shows. In addition, they spent more time at home and started working remotely during the pandemic.

Smart Speaker Penetration

Another main factor driving the voice technology market is high smart speaker penetration. At present, approx. 30% of Aussie homes have a smart speaker installed.

As highlighted above, the pandemic further emphasised the value of these speakers as people spent the majority of their time at home. Additionally, the quarantines and lock-downs have opened up many new use cases for smart speakers.

For example, Amazon Echo, Google Nest, and Facebook Portal added Zoom capabilities to their speakers and screens in 2020. This move came in response to the surge in video conferencing apps to support online classes and work-from-home (WFH) activities.

Voice Search Popularity

Finally, the rapidly increasing popularity of voice search continues to fuel voice technology adoption. Whether through smart speakers or even your phone, you can effortlessly search online by dictating your questions instead of typing them manually.

With this, it is no surprise that voice search optimisation (VSO) has consistently topped the list of digital marketing trends in recent years. To keep up with this change, businesses have been adjusting their strategies to include more long-tail keywords and create content aligned with user intent to cater to the growing volume of voice searches.

How is Voice Technology Transforming the IoT Landscape?

So now that you better understand what is driving the voice technology revolution, check out how this technology is changing the IoT landscape.

Smart Workplaces

After smart homes, smart workplaces are becoming the next big thing, especially now that workers are returning to the office. Voice technology systems play a huge role in minimising contact between employees, allowing businesses to prevent infections and contamination in the office.

Overall, voice assistants can significantly boost employee productivity by streamlining tedious tasks such as scheduling meetings, marking calendars, etc. Given recent advances in this technology, you can even integrate voice commands into your sales funnel to perform tasks like sending emails, browsing through sales history, and managing customer relations.

Voice Payments

Now that online payment options are more important than ever, voice technology will likely play a more significant role in the financial sector in the post-pandemic world. Influential players have jumped on the bandwagon by using voice-based agents for customer service.

However, among the many uses of voice interactions in the industry, voice payments are perhaps the most revolutionary. While this functionality is still in its early stages, voice payment adoption has grown as more individuals become comfortable facilitating certain transactions through voice.

Healthcare

Of course, it should be no surprise that voice technology has also made its way into the healthcare industry. It is particularly relevant now that people are increasingly conscious of their health and well-being. With voice-enabled IoT devices, physicians can perform administrative tasks seamlessly and provide more personalised patient care.

Outside hospitals and patient rooms, voice technology can also be seen in wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers. So you can expect even more voice-powered wearables to gain popularity in the healthcare space.

Energy Management

Moving on to a more technical application, voice technology has also been pivotal in advancing the energy management space. Now that homes and offices use more devices, energy consumption is increasing across the globe. Energy companies have benefited from using voice assistants to provide better customer service and decrease call center costs.

Voice technology is making its mark on the IoT landscape—at this point, it is no longer a passing trend but a significant shift in the digital space. The pandemic may have accelerated its growth, but it was already integrated into many activities and operations even before then. Now, it has only become more prominent, with voice technologies redefining how people interact with the world.

So if you have been thinking about whether you should follow the switch—the answer is undoubtedly a yes.

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