The growing power of voice in B2B5 minute read
One needn’t look any farther than a Panasonic-backed business accelerator for proof that voice assistance has the potential to change the way the world communicates. There you will find projects like the Fukidashi, a translation device that enables users to overcome language barriers and speak directly to people from different countries.
Created by Panasonic’s artificial intelligence group and 100BANCH, a Tokyo-based accelerator, the gadget is designed to look like a speech bubble – the universal sign for conversation – and features two screens that write out what each person is saying in real time, in that individual’s native language. The Fukidashi is a prototype, but the goal is to have it ready for prime time by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and eventually be used to bridge the language gap in places like airports and restaurants.
As advances in speech recognition push the boundaries of what’s possible, there is no doubt the voice revolution is coming.
It’s here now.
The voice of disruption
At CES 2018, Panasonic announced plans to bring voice-integrated artificial intelligence to our cars via partnerships with both Amazon and Google Assistant, incorporating these smart platforms into next-gen infotainment systems. “Voice is the new UI,” Dave Isbitski, chief evangelist for Alexa and Echo, told a CES crowd.
Imagine this: Voice for everything, and everyone. It’s only a matter of time before voice search expands beyond translation, recipes and restaurant drive-thru orders to B2B queries such as, “What’s my competition doing or show me last week’s sales data trends.” Savvy marketers should be strategizing how they can be the first to answer.
Ease of use = captive audience
The biggest benefit of voice is the ease of use. Pew Research reports that 46 percent of adults use smartphone voice apps, and 55 percent use them primarily to interact hands-free. A Forbes survey found that 90 percent of executives conduct research via mobile devices prior to making a purchase, and it’s inevitable that these decision makers will transition to voice search. Leading the way? Next-gen customers already relying on voice at home, on their commute and in their office.
What’s really interesting to think about is how to use voice with other disruptive technologies to create entirely new experiences. Panasonic Corp. of North America recently commissioned a research series, Moving Forward, on how CTOs and other decision makers see the impact of disruptive technologies. Three in five respondents are using the Internet of Things in their companies.
Renewable energy, advanced materials, energy storage and artificial intelligence (AI) are each expected to be a near-term investment for two in five companies. Artificial intelligence is vital to voice tech, and as AI evolves, it will have the capability to better match searches to more finely-tuned information that the business world often needs. Considering Gartner’s estimate that the buyer's journey is about 57% complete before the prospect wants to talk to a human, having voice embedded into that part of the journey as well as post-sale, can only deepen customer relationships. From start to finish, think voice.