Voice could be the next big technology revolution in the world, and tech giants like Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and others are investing heavily in it. There are already several tools that listen to people and respond like a human being and the growing use of Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, Cortana and other virtual assistants is certain to catch the eye of marketers. These assistants are always with the person or the family they are assisting, and every time someone interacts with them, they collect data and save it.
“It is all about data. Essentially, the more data they have about you, the better they know you and the better they are able to sell insights about you to marketers,” says Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst, founder and CEO, Greyhound Research.“Brands and merchants can use Alexa skills as an additional engagement channel for their goods and services, like Zomato to order food online or Ola to book a ride. Brands can also provide added benefits to their customers,” shares Puneesh Kumar, country manager, Alexa experience and devices, Amazon India.
In its recent report, global technology market analyst firm Canalys rated smart speakers as the fastest growing consumer technology segment, with year-on-year growth of 210% in the first quarter of calendar year 2018. While that’s great for the segment, it poses a threat to privacy too. The recent uproar about Alexa recording a private conversation between a woman and her husband, and then sending it to a random contact, has come as a huge blow for the category. “It is a big challenge for these players. Whether you like it or not, there is someone listening to you all the time,” opines Gogia.
India could be at the heart of all the innovation; the size of the market and the opportunities have forced brands to market their smart devices and assistants aggressively in the country. As per Amazon, thousands of customers in India have adopted Echo devices and are interacting with Alexa to play music, get news briefs, weather updates, book a ride and more. “We get millions of utterances a week, which is among the highest in all the countries where Echo devices are available currently. These utterances have helped us in improving voice recognition and understanding requirements of Indian users,” informs Kumar.