How companies are embracing voice tech as their way forward

Published: August 2, 2020 12:23 PM

The voice recognition market in India is expected to grow from $440.3 million in 2015 to reach $1.99 Billion by 2022

Recently, Google released a report saying that Hindi is the second most common language for its Google Assistant after EnglishRecently, Google released a report saying that Hindi is the second most common language for its Google Assistant after English

By Sanjay Mehta

Around a decade ago, all what we knew were voice calls and assistants were either for doctors and corporate magnets. And with the development of technology what seemed to be science fiction then started taking life. The transition from feature phones to smartphones have had us glued to the screens and opened too many avenues in the technological spectrum.

The voice recognition market in India has been growing exponentially over the years and is expected to grow from $440.3 million in 2015 to reach $1.99 Billion by 2022. Recently, Google released a report saying that Hindi is the second most common language for its Google Assistant after English. This is because we fellow Indians are loving the way voice works.

In India even the brands have adopted voice as their way forward

  • KFC India has introduced Alexa skill to allow the customers to order food online via the smart speaker
  • Paytm has come up with an innovative voice speakers which allows local vendors to track their payments
  • Tata developed Google assistant skill for its newly launched premium hatchback “Altros” where customers can simply talk to Tata Altros bot and even book a test drive.
  • Voice as a biometric pass key has become an important tool in the fight against fraud in financial sector
  • Bengaluru based Vokal is a platform where Indians ask questions in Indian languages and get answered by Indians in their language, it is a Quora in Indian languages. Just that Quora is text based while Vokal is voice based.

These are few examples out of many which are happening and changing the face of consumer behaviour through voice capabilities. Brands nowadays are working towards developing more and more new skills for the assistants available.

Talking about our country where out of a population of 133.2 crores in India, a total of 101 crores of people are estimated to own active mobile connections as per TRAI out of which 74 crore are still using basic feature phones. India is segmented into two categories Urban and Rural. As per the recent census 66% of the population lives in rural areas and 20% of it uses smartphones. Having said that a major chunk of our population has no access to the cutting edge technology which is available on smartphones. Now, even if these people who are losing out on technology are given the internet on their inexpensive phones, they will not be able to understand the content as it isn’t in their language.

The country has 120+ major languages with 1600 dialects and one can never ignore this fact if it has to penetrate and tap into the Tier 2 and Tier 3 of the population. As of now India is a very big video first internet market and looking at the current scenario of the increasing numbers of smartphones it will soon become the biggest voice first internet market. This basically means that the new customer which will be oncoming the smartphone world will be comfortable in speaking with the smartphone and the internet instead of typing, this new untapped audience will not be conversant with typing at all but will go ahead with speaking in their own language and dialect. Vernacular language support will be a major factor connecting the dots to create a big picture to make the new India speak and connect. One can start with the major languages after English and Hindi and gradually move on towards covering all the languages spoken in India. As we speak of this, the tech giants aren’t that behind. Google Assistant is available in nine Indian languages whereas Amazon Alexa is available in English and Hindi.

Having said all of these, it is very evident that in our vast diverse country India voice technology is the upcoming trend which will keep us connected. A person speaking in its own language with the machine and the machine responding back to the person in the same language is what we shall see in near future. Brands and agencies are moving forwards with their notes scribbled with ideas to draw a significant picture of voice tech in India.

The author is joint CEO, Mirum India

Read Also: What has been the impact of Covid-19 on brand communication

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