Headspace Product VP on Voice Technology (Part 3)
Going beyond the rapid adoption of products that are powered by voice technology, it’s important to understand the product characteristics that contribute to their popularity. Beyond the convenience and “cool factor” that voice-enabled products deliver, there are a number of modalities that contribute to the ubiquity of how we use voice products every day.
Here are the four key drivers for using voice technology to enhance our daily interactions.
Simply put, voice technology is everywhere – and that’s only going to continue to expand. Remember that major tech companies are looking to make voice-enabled products one of their foundational platforms for user engagement. As a result, we have billions of voice-enabled products across a wide spectrum of categories.
Furthermore, this technology is not confined just to smartphones, smartwatches or car infotainment systems. For example, think about the wide array of Alexa products offered by Amazon. Most importantly, you don’t need a ton of space to create a voice-enabled product. Similarly, you don’t need a screen / touch interface / keyboard to enable interaction. Instead, you can seamlessly incorporate voice technology into just about any device or basic service.
Early on, the first wave of voice products did not capture user intent. In other words, the device would recognize the words being processed, but wouldn’t deliver the expected return response. Today, voice products continue to advance their capabilities at a phenomenal rate. As a result, the adoption rate and overall usage for voice technology continue to grow because interactions are faster and more reliable.
Most importantly, today’s voice products are able to go beyond simply recognizing words or commands being spoken. Instead, they are beginning to understand the depth and intent behind people’s commands to deliver better results. Simply put, voice is becoming much smarter.
Beyond the increase in overall product trust, voice products are making an impact on simplifying the ways in which we use technology. Said differently, the ability to speak a command or request information is way simpler than trying to open a search engine. For example, you can ask your smart-home device what the temperature is or to set a timer for your dinner.
As we covered earlier, voice technology represents a return to our most basic instincts. Most importantly, it cuts through the need to interact with a device in your hand or remember how to search for something. Instead, you simply give a verbal command – and the voice-enabled product delivers exactly what you need in a completely intuitive way.
More so than ever before, protecting privacy and identity are top priorities for everyone around the world. Unlike other forms of communication, everyone’s voice has a unique signature. As a result, companies are able to apply biometrics to voice technology in being able to verify a user’s identity. For example, Vanguard (a large investment firm) uses voice technology as a secondary form of identity confirmation.
Furthermore, Google uses individual voice signatures to understand who is using a specific voice device. Depending on the person who’s speaking, the content and preferences will adapt to align with that specific user.
About the speaker
Randhir Vieira is the VP of Product at Headspace - leading the product team to achieve the organization’s mission of improving health and happiness around the world. Prior to Headspace, Randhir was the Chief Customer Officer at Mindflash, a leading cloud-based Learning Management System. He was also the VP of Product and Customer Care at Eyefi - and Senior Product Director at Yahoo.