Are Voice Assistants the Future of the Modern Workplace?
Voice assistants are fast becoming the consumer tool of choice when it comes to searching for information, navigating the internet, booking calendar events, ordering food and much more; with the limitations of voice assistants seemingly shrinking daily, it’s not surprising that the Voice Technology Revolution is going to be one of the biggest disrupters to the internet and communication technology as a whole for years to come.
Through advanced machine learning, voice assistants are able to adapt to the ways in which people use their voice to communicate. As well as defining keywords and phrases, speech recognition technology can also analyse context and even the speaker’s emotion.
Voice is the most natural form of communicating for the majority of us as human beings, so having the ability to interact with technology in the same organic way in which we interact with each other is fast becoming the method of choice – preferred by many over tapping our smartphone screens or typing on our laptop keyboards (which requires a lot more thought and effort in comparison).
Just a few quick figures about the rise in popularity of voice search so far:
- There are now over 1 Billion voice searches per month.
- By 2020, it is predicted that over 50% of all searches will be done by voice and 30% of all searches will be done using a device without a screen.
- 72% of people who own a smart speaker say that it is used as part of their daily routine.
What can Voice Technology do for us?
Anyone new to smart speakers and voice assistants is more often than not surprised to learn that products like the brand-new Amazon Echo Show and Google Home Hub could be used for much more than just playing our favourite songs on Spotify. Here are just some of the more basic functions that smart devices and voice assistants are currently able to easily assist with:
- Send messages
- Set reminders
- Create calendar entries
- Make phone calls
- Answer questions
- Show weather forecasts
- Take photos
- Open apps
- Set Alarms
- Provide real-time information
- Control smart devices
- Stream entertainment/movies/videos
- Create lists
- Shop online
Alongside this, Voice Technology in general is rapidly developing to enable professionals to complete tasks and create documentation much quicker. Stepping away from voice assistants, modern Speech Recognition and cloud-based dictation solutions are readily available for businesses and organisations to cut costs by streamlining their documentation workflow.
Voice Assistants in the Workplace
It’s clear to see how businesses can utilise the natural, organic interface of the voice assistant for streamlining basic office processes such as arranging meetings, setting team reminders and dialling calls. Recent developments by key players in the Voice Technology industry have also shown evidence of developing bespoke virtual assistants for industry-specific applications. Amongst the most exciting and promising of these are designed for the healthcare sector with a view to eliminating much of the administrative workload for clinicians in order for hospital staff to spend more time with their patients.
Prototype virtual assistants that can integrate with a clinic or hospital EPR (Electronic Patient Record System) to both input patient data into corresponding fields of an EPRS are sure to be seen in the not too distant future. The technology has been developed to both listen to and to interpret speech in a two-way doctor-patient conversation to analyse and take down the key facts of the conversation for fast and easy reporting by the doctor.
Tailor-made virtual assistants will not only able to understand advanced medical vocabulary and terminology but able to extract relevant segments of information from the patient/doctor conversation to be input into the correct part of the patient record. Time is saved by hospital staff in not having to manually capture and document the relevant information themselves and any information that may have been looked over can easily be referred back to, as the whole of the conversation can be recorded and transcribed to text automatically.
It is often stated by industry specialists and thought leaders in the technology world that ‘Voice’ is still in its infancy, with its full potential still to be realised in both the consumer market and beyond.