In their first few respective years in market, voice-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home have outpaced Apple iPhone sales.
By 2020, it is estimated that there will be voice-enabled devices deployed in US households at volumes that will rival cable TV subscriptions
Businesses are racing to build the next generation of consumer and partner applications delivering new engagement models with voice.
Amazon Alexa-enabled devices are estimated to represent roughly 62% of the voice market in May 2018. Google Assistant represents around 27% of the market.
Let's begin our Voice Application Market Overview with an introduction to voice-enabled devices. These voice technology devices allow us to interact with them through the use of natural language. For example, we can ask our smart devices for the news, tell them to set a timer, play music, and much more through voice apps.
Examples of these devices include Amazon Echo, Google Home, and various IoT devices such as Hello Barbie. It is estimated that more than 60 Million people in the US will use one of these smart devices at least once a month in 2017. By 2020, its expected that 50% of all searches will be voice-based.
As an analogy, these voice-enabled devices act much like our mobile phones do today. They provide the baseline functionality to interact with the internet, and then leverage voice apps (just like mobile apps) to provide new functionality and services. As conversational AI develops, the future of voice applications will evolve.
Voice Applications, just like mobile apps on phones, enhance voice-enabled devices by adding capabilities and functionality desired by the end-user. For example, you can add voice apps from your favorite brands, and have conversational experiences to learn more, get tips and tricks, or even get customer service assistance.
There are over 50,000 voice applications in market between the Amazon Alexa Skills (Amazon's name for voice apps) Store and Google Actions (Google's name name for voice apps). More than 10,000 voice apps for Amazon were added in 2017 alone!
In order for voice-enabled devices to converse with you, a number of machine learning and AI supporting capabilities are required. For example, speech-to-text, intent recognition, contextual dialogue, and text-to-speech are just a few of the components necessary to deliver engaging experiences through conversational AI.
Voice technology platform providers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple provide some of the components needed to build this conversational AI "brain,” which you can stitch together through the use of their public facing APIs. Or you can leverage an end-to-end solution like PullString and enjoy access to all the tools and techniques you need to be successful, including those from the voice technology platform providers, in one place.
Brands or Creative Agencies that wish to produce voice applications for use on Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and IoT devices have traditionally required technical resources to design and write code against the various platform providers' APIs, and then integrate that code directly with the target voice-enabled device platform. This approach provides maximum flexibility for the organization, but also tends to introduce a substantial technical burden and challenges in scaling and adapting the experience in market.
PullString provides a turnkey solution for brands and creative agencies that want to rapidly design, prototype, and publish voice applications. In our work with organizations over the years, we’ve seen a wide variety of award winning applications built with our software. Here are a few examples to get your wheels turning:
We have several resources to help you get started successfully on your journey with voice technology and voice applications. Please feel free to download and use these resources with your team, especially as you work on developing your strategy for how to invest successfully in this space.