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The Future of Voice Assistants and AI

Joseph Maurer
~ Game Development Software Engineer ~ MBA Aspiring @ University of Nevada, Reno ~ Oregon Tech Alum
Originally published at josephamaurer.Medium ・3 min read

The introduction of voice assistants and AI into our daily lives has added conveniences to our routines. While some find the technology intrusive, the trends say that people are adopting the technology. It is estimated that 1 in 4 U.S. adults own a smart speaker. At this point, the technology is at mainstream adoption and is being used by the critical mass of people, so the next question is what’s next and why does it matter?

Voice User Interface (VUI) in Customer Relations



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Source: Amazon Connect

While it isn’t new to call a company and hear an automated voice walking you through a complicated menu structure, there are innovations in this area outside of that technology. Particularly Amazon has found a way to help businesses to be more proactive in assisting customers. Amazon Connect Voice ID uses machine learning to make their services smarter at analyzing conversations in real time in order to find relevant information needed to assist the agent or even to authenticate a customer just from the sound of their voice (Opt-in only).



Contact Lens for Amazon Connect is a set of machine learning (ML) capabilities allowing contact center supervisors to better understand the sentiment, trends, and compliance of customer conversations.



The technology is pretty crazy when you think about all of the machine learning that is going on in the background to pick up on the trends and detect who is calling. The idea here is to give the call center agents more tools during a call with the hopes of simplifying their problem solving equation. In the picture above you can see an example of what the agents would see. It analyzes the customer sentiment, total talk time, and, more importantly, how the call is trending. Going forward, I see businesses putting more emphasis on using AI and voice assistants to ensure that their customers have positive experiences when dealing with their brands.



AI Powered Virtual Assistants in Healthcare



For both patients and providers, the advantages that AI affords is well worth in the healthcare context. The trend toward healthcare consumerism-a movement to make delivery and consumption of health services more efficient, convenient, and cost-efficient-has led to a restructuring of how patients connect with providers.



0*Xd9Ggs6gSF0dBsx- Better health outcomes with AI-powered virtual assistants. Source: IBM

In the pandemic era, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants played an important role in aiding people during their diagnosis. Even most virtual assistants, like Siri, could walk you through the assessment questions and then make a recommendation on the following steps for a COVID-19 diagnosis.



Mobile App Integration



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Source: Spotify

This past week Spotify announced that they would now have a hands free virtual assistant in their app. Users could say “Hey Spotify” to launch the assistant and make a song request. Because of how popular voice assistants are, app makers have been leaning into the trend. Users now see this as increased functionality and a time saving feature that can get them at the data they want faster than other means.



As this trend continues we are starting to see bigger companies help developers implement these types of features. Amazon offers Transcribe, an automatic speed recognition (ASR) service that enables developers to add speech to text functionality to their applications. Google has Actions, which allows developers to build voice into their own products. I see this trend continuing in the future as more developers try to support this feature.


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