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Slightly more than two years after launch, smart speakers are already in 12% of US households. The ease and convenience of voice have made it a part of a daily routine. The most commonly used skills are daily occurrences. Surveys show that the most common requests are for checking the weather, playing music, setting alarms and timers.

Alexa, what's the weather

Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are just the beginning

As big as these platforms are, they also represent a shift in user behavior. As people become used to simply asking for things in the home, this expectation will extend to other places as well.

Voice will become the primary form of interaction in other environments. If the rate of households purchasing voice assistants is any indication, it will happen fast.

Voice in the Car

One of the first places to transition to voice-first experiences is the car. Voice is already popular for maps and getting directions while driving. But soon we’ll all be able to ask the car questions directly. Every car comes with a manual, and there is no reason that information wouldn’t be available through a voice interface instead. Drivers (especially rental car drivers, or members of car-sharing services like ZipCar) should be able to just ask the car for details from its manual.

“Alexa, what side is the gas tank on?”

Voice will also change how we maintain our automobiles. Today drivers bring their car to a mechanic, who plugs a device into the OBD-II (On-board diagnostics II) port to diagnose problems with a vehicle. Voice interfaces will let drivers simply ask the diagnostic system about issues with the car that need attention, like, “Hey Google, why is the check engine light on?”

In the Workplace

Voice will become an essential part of the workplace. Simple admin tasks like booking travel, reserving a room, or ordering pens will be completed via voice. VUI’s will also change how organizations interact with their data. Employees will be able to pull last week’s sales figures or update a Salesforce record with verbal commands. In fact, Google Analytics recently announced support for voice commands across web and mobile.

Customer Assistance by Voice Command

Smart voice assistants can improve how a company interacts with their customers. How often do we have to call a bank, an airline, a cable provider for help with something, or to find something out?

These calls will be replaced with a smart voice assistant that knows our preferences and activity history. Alexa and Google Home have already introduced calling and messaging, so a customer support experience that starts with a voice assistant is on the horizon. Users with a problem could have a quick interaction with a voice assistant that passes to a human who then sends a voice message when the issue is resolved. The promise of helpful, convenient customer service experiences, with no frustrating phone trees, will be ushered in by the rise of voice assistants.

Mobile didn’t just make the web portable, it changed the way we interact with devices, brands, companies, and each other. Voice will do the same.

Mark Webster

Founder and CEO of Sayspring. Designer. Developer. Follow me on Twitter at @markcwebster.