Voice technology presents a remarkable opportunity for transformation and innovation. The global market for voice recognition technology achieved an impressive milestone, nearing USD 12 billion in 2022, with a surge to nearly USD 50 billion by 2029 [1]. Voice-activated technologies have contributed substantial benefits in various industries, including: 

  • Fostering a technology-infused household for great convenience;
  • Enhancing patient and healthcare professionals’ experience;
  • Creating an innovative shopping method for customers; and
  • Driving a revolutionary shift in the manufacturing industry. 

Smart Technologies for Smart Homes

The emergence of voice technology has brought about a shift in the way individuals live and engage with their living spaces. Research indicates that the adoption of domestic smart home technology is set to soar to USD 138.9 billion by 2026 [2]. Voice-enabled devices have transcended traditional control modes by utilizing natural language processing and advanced speech recognition algorithms. 

Homeowners can now control their household appliances through simple vocal commands. By connecting these voice assistants to their Wi-Fi network and compatible smart devices, users can issue personalized voice commands to adjust temperatures, dim lights, or even check the status of their security systems. A survey revealed that 70% of respondents own one or more smart devices, from home appliances to fitness equipment and gaming consoles [3].


Following the pulse of healthcare

Voice assistants have revolutionized patient care by offering a range of valuable applications. Voice technologies are reliable medication reminders, ensuring patients take their medications on time by providing audible prompts.

Furthermore, voice technology enhances patient experience by helping them manage their appointments. They can efficiently schedule, reschedule, or cancel appointments through voice commands. This reduces no-shows and optimizes clinic schedules, improving overall healthcare efficiency.

Physician-patient interactions can be enhanced with voice technology. With healthcare professionals spending approximately one-third of their time on paperwork [4], voice AI can help healthcare providers deliver better care and provide quality time with patients. By using speech recognition and natural language processing, voice-enabled technologies, integrated with AI, can dramatically reduce clinicians' time reviewing documentation, such as electronic health records (EHR) or billing. 

For instance, instead of manually typing or clicking through EHR systems, clinicians can use their voice to input information. This is especially beneficial for various tasks, including updating patient histories, adding diagnosis codes, or documenting treatment plans. Voice recognition technology can transcribe spoken words into text accurately and quickly, reducing the time required for data entry. This can save time and improve accuracy by eliminating manual data entry errors. Thanks to voice technology benefits, 28% of healthcare institutions consider voice recognition in their operations over the next 1-3 years [5]

Elderly and home care benefit significantly from voice technology, with voice-activated emergency response systems being critical for elderly individuals during medical emergencies, such as heart attacks, strokes, or severe allergic reactions. Voice-activated emergency response systems, often referred to as "personal emergency response systems" (PERS), allow elderly individuals to call for help by simply using their voice. They can activate the system by saying a predetermined phrase like "help" or "emergency." This triggers an alert to a monitoring center or contacts specified individuals, such as family members or caregivers, who can respond immediately.

Voice technology can also contribute to accessibility and inclusivity in healthcare. It empowers individuals with disabilities by enabling voice-controlled wheelchairs, communication devices, and home automation systems. With the ever-growing demand of consumers seeking to use voice assistants for healthcare growing by 5% - from 51.9% to 56% [6], voice technologies will continue to play a pivotal role in the healthcare landscape.


The next level of customer experience for e-commerce

At the forefront of this evolution lies voice-enabled commerce. Specifically, consumers can initiate purchases, access product information, and create shopping lists effortlessly. They can say, "Order a new laptop," and the device responds by presenting product options, specifications, and pricing details. Voice assistants recognize individual preferences, offering personalized recommendations and simplifying decision-making. 

Moreover, this hands-free approach allows consumers to add items to their carts or reorder products without needing to type or navigate websites or apps. Once ready to purchase, users can confirm orders and securely complete transactions using voice commands, with additional features like order tracking and customer support readily available.

Notably, the COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst, expediting the adoption of voice-based technology as individuals increasingly seek contactless and hands-free solutions. With an impressive global worth of USD 19.4 billion in e-commerce transactions via voice assistants [7], this technology is reshaping the retail landscape and revolutionizing how consumers purchase goods.

With the rise of voice-activated virtual assistants and smart speakers, brands can tailor their strategies to individual preferences, voice commands, and geographical locations. Notably, marketers can now optimize their SEO strategy for voice search. Google's impressive 95% accuracy rate in voice recognition is a mere example where multiple tech giants are vying to harness the potential of voice search [8]

For social commerce, voice-enabled technology wields considerable power for companies equipped to harness AI and ML. These tools enable brands to fine-tune voice-activated promotions, gain deep insights into customer needs and behaviour, and respond more tailored. According to Gartner, businesses adopting artificial intelligence grew by 270% in the last four years [9]. As voice technology increasingly permeates everyday life, leveraging AI and ML becomes a strategic move that sets brands apart in the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape. 


The commonplace for the manufacturing industry 

The manufacturing industry is currently witnessing substantial growth and intense competition. Projections indicate that this sector's global market for voice recognition could reach an impressive USD 117.7 billion by 2025 [10]. This presents a prime opportunity for manufacturers to adopt voice recognition technology, leading to smarter and more efficient factory operations that enhance productivity and reduce costs. Notably, manufacturing technology advancements have significantly transformed factory floor processes, laying the groundwork for the future of assembly lines.

Voice technology can improve factory workers’ efficiency. In traditional manufacturing settings, operators manually control production lines by pressing buttons at each workstation to move products along the assembly line. Unfortunately, this manual process results in delays and increased production costs. 

The advent of Industry 4.0 is facilitating streamlined processes on the factory floor, contributing to cost savings for manufacturers. Voice technology is evolving into a comprehensive human-machine interface (HMI) that moves beyond traditional keyboards and touchscreens. The efficacy of this technology is intertwined with AI, which helps the system understand humans’ complex communication and interactions.

For instance, BSH, a leading European home appliance manufacturer used voice technology to address inefficiencies in their factories. BSH factory workers could operate heavy machinery hands-free by using a specialized headset connected to an embedded voice recognition system. To initiate commands, the operator simply utters a predefined keyword, followed by the specific instruction for the appliance on the assembly line.

Leveraging advanced speech-to-intent voice recognition technology, BSH could enhance workplace ergonomics by eliminating the need for manual product handling and control board operations on the production line. Specifically, voice technology resulted in up to 75-100% efficiency gains and reduced product transition time from 4 seconds to 1.5 seconds [11].

When considering the implementation of voice technology, several factors come into play. Disruptive noise levels frequently characterize factory floors. As a result, manufacturers should prioritize incorporating technology that can seamlessly operate in such environments. 

Additionally, manufacturers might look for voice technology that can be scaled across various markets and regions. This requires a technology capable of understanding multiple languages and accents to accommodate the diverse workforce. In addition, manufacturers will need to spare some time for employees to familiarize themselves with the technologies. The manufacturing industry can achieve operational efficiency in the long run by providing training and safety measures for voice technology.


Following the voice of the future 

As this technology advances and finds new applications, businesses can anticipate further innovations that will drive efficiency, convenience, and inclusivity across a wide range of sectors. 

Author Tuan Minh Tran