*When Cardi B took over Amazon Alexa’s voice in this year’s Super Bowl ads, it was a sign of how far voice control technology has penetrated American mainstream society. By the time the 2017 holiday shopping spree ended, one in six Americans owned a smart speaker, an increase of 128 percent over the previous year, according to NPR and Edison Research data. The growth of smart speakers reflects a more widespread phenomena. Over four in 10 Americans now use digital voice assistants such as Siri on their smartphones, a Pew Research Center poll found.
These trends towards voice control are only expected to grow as the technology becomes more integrated into everyday life. Here’s a look at four ways voice control systems are shaping the future.
Making Communication Easier
The global market for virtual digital assistants (VDAs) such as Siri and Alexa reached $816 million last year, Tractica estimates. By 2025, this will reach $7.7 billion, with over a billion VDA users worldwide. One of the most popular reasons for using this technology is that it makes communication easier. Being able to use your device without using your hands is the most popular reason Americans use VDAs, Pew’s research found. It’s convenient when you can call your friend on the phone without dialing their number, get directions to your destination without using a map or order a pizza just by talking to your phone.
Voice control is also enhancing the way entertainment is delivered to consumers. Smart speaker systems such as Amazon Echo allow you to use your voice to call up your playlist or download a song from anywhere in your home, in your yard or even when you’re away from home if you use a portable speaker. Smart TVs, expected to be a $292.55 billion market by 2025, are another way voice control is enhancing entertainment. With a voice-controlled smart TV, instead of having to scroll through hundreds of channels using your remote control, you can simply tell your TV what you want to watch.
Making Homes Smarter
Smart speakers and smart TVs aren’t just for entertainment, either. Along with smartphones, these devices are becoming hubs for smart home systems that allow you to use the sound of your voice to interact with home technology devices. For instance, one of the most popular smart home applications is security camera systems. Lorex provides audio camera surveillance systems that combine cameras with built-in microphone systems for two-way communication so you can listen and talk to a visitor at the other end, allowing you to verify who’s at the door without getting up. In a similar way, you can use your voice to interact with other smart home devices, such as energy-saving smart thermostats and smart appliances.
Enabling Smart Offices and Autonomous Cars
Even as voice control technology takes over the home, it’s also expanding its reach beyond the home. Last November, Amazon introduced Alexa for Business, intended to encourage offices to start using smart speakers, Fast Company says. This puts Alexa in competition with Microsoft, which has been promoting Cortana as a digital assistant for the workplace. Meanwhile, voice control is also becoming a feature of vehicles. Car manufacturers such as Nissan are already including cars with voice-control features, such as the ability to tell your car to unlock itself before you leave your house. Auto makers and tech companies are currently developing technology that will allow you to use your voice to turn on your car, perform maintenance checks or even select a destination for your car to drive you to autonomously. An estimated 51,000 autonomous vehicles will roll out onto highways in 2021, growing to 1 million sales a year by 2025 and 33 million a year by 2040, IHS Markit projects.
More convenient communication, enhanced entertainment, smarter homes and offices, and self-driving cars are some of the ways voice control systems are shaping the future. As voice control technology transforms society, you will be able to control more devices in your home and order more goods and services by simply using the sound of your voice, making everyday tasks easier and profoundly changing the way we live, travel, shop and work.