The old days of physically turning the lights off before a movie or scrolling through your phone to call someone or typing a ‘how to’ search in google are fast coming to an end. The touchless age is upon us.
Over the past few years, there have been vast improvements in AI voice systems. Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa are fast changing the way we go about our daily lives. Think about it, Siri can do just about everything on your iPhone or Mac without you having to lift a finger, double tap the home button or hover over a sentence because you left a word out. She can do everything, all you have to do is ask!
My personal favourites include, ‘Siri call mum’ to ‘Siri beatbox for me’ or ‘Siri, knock, knock’.
AI systems such as Siri and Alexa are ushering in a new age of ease and convenience. In new cars, voice control is already a common thing. If your phone is connected, with a push of a button, you are able to ask your car to call people, change the song or turn your butt warmers on. But, that isn’t really using it to its full potential. While voice technology isn’t new, it is definitely starting to create massive disruptions in the marketplace.
While, all of the above are fairly fun and novel uses of voice technology that are helping to improve our day-to-day lives, for marketers voice technology has huge potential! We are still probably several years away from seeing voice really shake things up for businesses but like all things digital, it is never too early to start thinking about it and planning for it. You should definitely be looking at building strategies to capitalise on the inevitable shift in how people operate.
One area that I am particularly intrigued to watch, is how we can start leveraging these online voice searches for our clients. Much like SEO and Google Ads, we anticipate that over the next few years, we’ll start seeing sponsored ads appearing in our voice searches.
It would be foolish to think that systems like Siri and Alexa aren’t collecting data about our most common searches, keywords we use and tracking our behaviour during these searches. All this information is obviously a goldmine for a company.
With the increasing tendency to use voice over typing, as one in five searches in 2017 was via voice, expect the amount of data produced and collected to only increase over the coming years.
As they have done for normal searches, search engines will begin to monetise the results we see. Which will allow marketers who are switched on, to design SEO and remarketing strategies specially tailored towards the queries and results of voice searches.
Whilst we obviously look at these emerging AI advancements in voice search through a business lens, I’ve recently found myself, daydreaming about how these advancements are going to shake up our society!
We’ve all seen the movies where humans and machines throw around banter like tradies on-site. But in reality, this is a very real possibility. Siri and Alexa are already capable of holding fragmented conversions, but their heads explode after a series of questions. However, we are on the fast track to being able to have meaningful and intelligent conversations with our AI counterparts.
Are we going to get to a point where we are doing business with robot companies? Are robots going to completely take-over? Maybe that is a step too far at this point in time.
But, to take the recent advancements in AI voice systems a step further, what happens when the technology advances so much, that we get to a point where our kids are being taught by robots. Not to be too controversial, but image 10-years down the road when human teachers are no longer relevant.
While teachers are arguably one of the pillars of our society and a major reasons why our nation punches above its weight. The AI systems of tomorrow are going to be able to pull knowledge and provide a much more comprehensive education system than humans ever will be.
In saying that, are government policies to increase funding for teachers or doctors over the next several years money well spent? Arguably, these are two industries which already rely heavily on technology could be drastically improved by new technologies.
We may still be a number of years away from having to call robots our colleagues or going to a parent-teacher meeting with Mrs R2D2 but it is something to be mindful of. The next step in this AI journey is being able to control our daily lives with our lovely Kiwi accent.
From our perspective, we are going to be watching the advancements with a very close eye. Because, at the end of the day, the shift towards voice control and a touchless society is not a trend or a fad, it is something that is going to stay.
So, for business looking to stay on step ahead, start considering how voice search may impact how people find you and how you can optimise both your website and search engine strategies for it.