Behind closed doors a revolution in voice recognition tech is taking place. In 2013 the7stars uncovered users of voice recognition were too embarrassed to use devices in public, believing that it was generally easier to press buttons. As a result, most had only used it for novelty. Now, four years on, tech companies are shaping new attitudes and beliefs about conversing with technology.
Amazon’s Echo has found a purpose for voice recognition and is normalising what many might feel as unnatural or embarrassing. The Alexa product is everybody’s personal assistant. For example, when you’re at home, probably multi-tasking by holding the fridge door open with your foot as you stretch to reach for the ingredients list on the counter, you quickly realise you didn’t pick up the all-important saffron for your ambitious curry you want to make tonight. As you kick yourself and start thinking about just how much of a difference that damn Saffron would’ve made, you also ask Alexa to order it for next time.
For those who aren’t called ‘Alexa’ the reviews so far seem to mark a game changer. Naturally other competitors have rushed into the space, most notably Google Home, and so too have brands. Yet the phrase “do in haste and repent at leisure” has perhaps never been so relevant. Just search “Is Obama planning a coup” or “Burger King, Google Home” to see the evidence.
As consumers get into the habit of missing out ‘search’ and simply ask for the answer, the tech itself will become more central to everyday lives and is undoubtedly en route to becoming the next major disruptor. Brands will be on alert about the idea of “hacking into the home”; breaking down the consumers walled gardens and eliminating the competition before perhaps giving it sufficient consideration.
Brands should think hard about how they can utilise a world where voice is preferred over touch. Three questions Marketers should consider are:
1. What answers does your brand have in a Q&A world?
2. Does your brand have permission to hack into the home?
3. How do you persuade Echo, Google Home or any equivalent to choose yours over another?
Early adopting brands who have started experimenting with voice recognition will inevitably have an advantage in the long term as more and more consumers begin to shake off their embarrassment and realise the potential new technology can offer them. Even if it’s just adding Saffron to their next curry, it’s still a huge step forward.