Voice Assistants (VAs) are slowly but steadily making its way into enterprises. A survey conducted earlier this year across 500 IT professionals across organizations in North America and Europe found 40% large organizations will implement intelligent voice assistants or chatbots by 2019.
Intelligent VAs are the next big frontier after smartphones. Advances in speech recognition along with artificial intelligence and machine learning is making VA more appealing for businesses. Intelligent assistants are already making deep inroads into consumer domain creating a generation of users more fluent with voice commands than texting.
Young generation of children are rarely typing on smartphones and easily using voice commands to get their work done. Amazon’s Alexa has tied up with Mattle to design toys that obey voice commands. Future employees of enterprises will be more used to voice commands than typing and touching—voice adoption in enterprises is not a question of if but when.
Where Businesses can Adopt Voice Assistants
While the scope of intelligent voice assistants abound, three areas will likely see fast adoption—personal assistance; customer support and voice-enabled search.
Personal assistants will enhance employee efficiency by managing calendars, to-do lists and setting up reminders. Intelligent assistants will guide employees to meeting rooms, turn on lights and start meetings eliminating the need to remember phone numbers and codes. During the meeting, VA will convert speech to text and provide notes to participants.
Voice assistants in IT department will see huge adoption in taking customer calls and logging complaints. Similarly voice assistants will play a useful role in streamlining administrative processes and ordering office supplies.
More consumers are going to use voice to search websites and therefore websites must become voice optimized. Application developers will need to design user experience for voice where urgency and immediacy of response assume significantly different proportions.
Enterprises will have to overcome security challenges for voice command to proliferate. For voice commands to be really effective, it will need to be integrated with enterprise applications across systems. For example, voice must be embedded within ERP systems to throw up answers employees are looking for Or voice must be embedded with employee portals for meaningful adoption.
But that means exposing enterprise systems to much more security risks. Will employees be able to access these systems outside the premises. How about security risks in accessing these systems from a public place. Businesses will need to figure out these answers before adopting voice enabled assistants.
Alexa for Business
Amazon launched Alexa for Business in November 2017 making it easier for enterprises to integrate voice into their office environments. Businesses can access thousands of Alexa skills or build their own via open APIs but each business will traverse a unique journey in understanding customer requirements and developing skills that create compelling experiences. The key to successful experiences will be to understand the persona of user and seamlessly combine touch, talk and text allowing user to choose the most convenient mode.