“Alexa, start a 20 minute timer.”
“Alexa, start a 20 minute timer please.”
“ALEXA, 20 MINUTE TIMER NOW!!!”
The most expensive timer my mother has ever bought, the Amazon Alexa is a virtual assistant that, using nothing but the sound of your voice, allows you to play music, search the internet, create to-do lists, shop online, get instant weather reports and control accompanying smart-home products. There are many of its kind on the market proving voice search usage has increased significantly over the past few years… and it’s not just my mum who’s getting in on the action.
“Hey Google, what’s voice recognition?”
Voice recognition or speech recognition, “is the interdisciplinary subfield of computational linguistics that develops methodologies and technologies that enables the recognition and translation of spoken language into text by computers.” And in English? “Voice recognition is computer analysis of the human voice, especially for the purpose of interpreting words and phrases or identifying an individual voice.”
“Alexa, what’s caused the rise in voice recognition?”
Humans can speak 150 words a minute but only type 40 words a minute. In 2017, sales of smart speakers more than tripled thanks to the rise of Google Home and Amazon Echo. These speakers are almost exclusively reliant on voice commands to operate, conditioning people to resolve their questions and accomplish tasks using voice-based queries.
This rise has led to a growing appetite for companies to continue building voice-enabled experiences. So while voice recognition debuted on our mobile phones, it is now available on our computers, smartwatches and even in our cars.
“Cortana, is voice recognition a generational thing?”
A recent study by Childwise proved that children and young adults (aged 9 to 16) are more likely to be using voice recognition. Conducted across 2,000 UK school pupils, the study found that four in ten were using voice services, most notably Siri (36%), Cortana (20%), Alexa (15%) and Google Assistant (7%), most of which are accessed via a mobile device.
The majority of smart speaker owners are aged between 18 and 36, with this demographic making up 53%. A further 32% are aged 37 to 52, leaving only 15% of smart speaker owners ages 53 and over. So while voice recognition usage is generational on mobile devices it certainly isn’t on smart speakers, especially as this is set to grow.
“Siri, what’s the future of voice recognition?”
Comscore predicts that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Voice recognition and the understanding behind it will only become more sophisticated – with some suggesting tonal inflexion and all the other characteristics that add meaning to the spoken word will become part of the process of comprehension.