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What are voice assistants, how did they become popular, and who are the main providers of this technology?

Have you ever watched a show where the technology is so cutting edge and intuitive you wish you could have access to it, too?

Nothing would be better than having a personal assistant read your mind through voice input to buy your groceries, call taxis, or shop for a loved one’s birthday gift. Then, you simply go about your day carefree as the assistant takes care of the nitty-gritty. 

While some people do have access to such assistants, most of us run these errands independently. 

However, you probably have noticed a progression in voice technology lending a hand in daily life. For example, think Siri (from Apple), Alexa (from Amazon), and Google Assistant. These tech giants are currently the big three in mainstream voice technology assistants.

What is a voice assistant?

Modern voice technology allows a program to take in spoken language and then carry out a specific task. Our wish is Siri’s command (within technological allowances, of course).  Simply put, these intelligent systems allow us to communicate with the internet using our voices.

Why is voice technology on the rise?

A key component in the move towards user-friendly voice devices has occurred because of consumer demand. Basically, we crave comfort, ease, and convenience — and as we should. Life is busy, so why not move toward customer-orientated, time-saving solutions (such as voice assistants)?

Many tech experts predict that almost every application we use will integrate voice assistants in some form in the next few years.

How will voice-based shopping and browsing become the mainstay for e-commerce and lifestyle needs of humans moving forward?

We are all consumers in some way or another. And we have all had positive and negative experiences when it comes to customer care. But what if customer service could become more personalized and attentive?

Many believe that voice assistant technology can improve a shopper’s experience. However, because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, voice-activated shopping options increased as a safety precaution. In addition, because of time and employee constraints, most companies cannot answer every customer’s concern adequately.

For these reasons and more, companies seek to utilize voice assistant technology to help patrons. 

Brands like Amazon and Google continue to fuel the voice tech trend as they compete. Audio interfaces continue to advance at a tremendous rate in all industries. But we see massive growth in banking and healthcare.

And according to a consultant report, voice-based shopping is predicted to increase to $40 billion by 2022.

But, of course, there is work to do. Voice technology is continually improving in the hopes of bettering a customer’s experience with a company. 

While humans seek comfort, ease, and solution-orientated shopping, it’s only natural that voice technology continues to develop.

In the meantime, imagine a voice assistant who personalizes your shopping experience in a meaningful way. Snap Brands makes this our personal goal for you. 

What is the short and condensed historical overview of voice tech from beginning to now?

Modernized speech technology began in the 1950s and continued to skyrocket over time. 

In the 1950s, Bell Laboratories created Audrey, a voice-tech system that recognized numbers one to nine. Over the decades, quicker and more accurate voice processors developed. And we saw the advent of dictation technology. By the 2000s, speech recognition reached a whopping 80 percent accuracy rate. 

In the 2010s, Apple and Google introduced Siri and Alexa. Today, Apple, Amazon, and Google still charge forward in voice technology. 

Every year, developers move toward improving voice technology to better communicate with us more precisely.

What are some major studies about voice assistants and artificial intelligence taking place in Canada and around the world?

  1. A study published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. explains that speech processing technology could help patients complete mental health assessments with ease. The authors of the study include Harvard Medical School, MIT, and McGovern University.
  1. A Research and Markets report, the speech technology market will roughly reach 27 billion USD by 2026. While in 2020, the revenue was around 10.7 billion USD. This financial burst indicates that speech-activated devices demand banking, retail, home, auto, and healthcare sectors.
  1. An article published by JMIR Publications explains that voice technology was efficient and effective during the height of COVID-19. For safety reasons, in-person consultations were not an option. Therefore, telehealth services developed quickly. In short, voice technology can enhance the management of patients during a pandemic.
  1. Research from Klick Applied Sciences shows that Google’s voice assistant does the best job of correctly recognizing medication names. Google, Apple, and Amazon Voice Technologies were all compared. And it’s no big surprise how crucial proper medication recognition is for a patient — in fact, it’s of life-altering importance.
  1. A talented group of Loughborough University professors are examining voice-based technology and how it can help those with disabilities live independently. Dr. Saul Albert (of the School of Social Science and Humanities) is leading the research team.
  1. In 2018, Think With Google reported that 27% of the global internet-using population uses voice technology to search through their smartphones. Based on this claim, it’s safe to say that Siri and Alexa are part of the family now.
  1. Rupal Patel hopes to understand speech fully. Patel heads a research team at Northeastern University that researches prosody. What’s prosody? It’s the subtle change in pitch and loudness when we intend to convey an emotion through our voice. Patel uses her research to understand and improve voice technology.
  1. Mindshare World, a startup that seeks to improve media in our world, did a voice study. The research showed that Canadians use Voice Technology mostly to search for music, weather, and businesses. But, according to Mindshare World, Privacy/Trust is a barrier for new Canadian users to voice technology. Not to mention, French Canadians tend to use Google more often, while English Canadians use Siri more often as Voice Assistants.
  1. According to Statista, a statistics portal, 11 percent of surveyed Canadians own Amazon Alexa smart speakers. In comparison, 14 percent own Google Home smart speakers. The statistics represent the first quarter of 2020.
  1. According to a University of Alberta study, AI can more precisely detect depression through the sound of your voice. Professor Eleni Stroulia and Ph.D. student Mashrura Tasnim conducted the research. Stroulia and Tasnim developed a system that combines tech-learning algorithms that recognize depression through acoustic cues. Stroulia explained that the main goal is to create meaningful applications of Voice Technology.

Who are the thought leaders for voice technology and artificial intelligence?

2020 marked a shift from ‘normal’ to adaptation and innovation real fast. As a result, outdated assumptions about life, work, and consumer experiences shifted in a big way.

Amazon, Apple, and Google all brought poignant updates and continued to lure us in with their voice assistants. But the three tech amigos aren’t the only kids on the block. 

Even while they expand their reach, AI through voice technology is expanding its uses through new innovators. 

Leading thought leaders in AI and voice technology 

  1. Ilya Sutskever of OpenAI: OpenAI released GPT-3, a new language model that can intake and analyze large data sets. At times, the GPT-3 can produce text similar to how a human would respond to questions. 
  2. Yoshua Bengio of the Université de Montréal:  Known worldwide as one of the leading authorities in Artificial Intelligence. 
  3. Rohit Prasad of Amazon: As the head scientist for Alexa, it’s no surprise that Prasad made the list. 
  4. Brad Abrams of Google: Product Manager for the Actions teams, Abrams is accountable for developer experiences of Google Assistant. He is not the highest-profile executive at Google, but he is well-known and appreciated among software engineers. 
  5. Dr. Monica Lam of Stanford:  Lam boasts a stacked resume as the faculty director for OVAL. OVAL, also known as Open Virtual Assistant Lab, is famous for developing the Almond Virtual Assistant, which is privacy-focused.
  6. Geoffrey Hinton: Bestowed the Turing Award along with Youshua Bengio and Yann LeCun; this AI authority is a professor at the University of Toronto. 

Some other big AI and voice technology thought leaders are:

  1. Jeff Adams of Cobalt Speech
  2. Chris Mitchell of Audio Analytic
  3. Reghu Ram Thanumalayan of Deutsche Telekom
  4. Juergen Schmerder of Mercedes
  5. John Kelvie of Bespoken
  6. Andy Webb of BBC
  7. Michael Myers of XAPPmedia
  8. Jing Kun of Baidu
  9. Dave Limp of Amazon
  10. Rick Osterloh of Google
  11. Joan Palmiter Bajorek of Women In Voice
  12. Bradley Metrock of Score Publishing

How will Snap Brands change the way consumers shop online for health and wellness products with our in-house voice technology assistant Mila?

Moving forward into the rest of the twenty-first century and beyond, voice technology assistants will be a fundamental focus for most people. Consumers will primarily use audio agents to shop online in a more customized and personable manner. 

Snap Brands is well aware of the current and future tech demands of valued customers, and we want to be front row and center — leading the way with Mila, our in-house voice technology. 

To best serve our patrons, they will go through a voice intake process. After initial onboarding, Mila will offer our customers specific products that fit their particular needs. Our goal is to ensure that every visitor who visits Snap Brands to shop feels heard, unique, and catered to. 

As a customer, you can expect a concise, personalized shopping experience that caters to you in a way that builds trust with us and our well-researched, high-quality product offerings. 


citations used for research….