With Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Bixby becoming popular, voice technology is the next big digital revolution. Consumers would rather use products and services that allow voice commands than type out a full sentence. In this article at strategy+business, Bob Woods explores how voice technology is the next wave of the digital revolution.
Maturation of Voice Technology
Traditional entertainment media like radio have shown only a 3% increase in revenue from 2014 to 2018, a recent survey suggests. Nevertheless, voice technology is becoming popular for smartphones. The market is filled with voice assistants, v-commerce, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. A Reuters Institute survey suggests that digital publishers are focusing more on audio in their content and marketing strategies.
The Beginning of the Boom:
Apple introduced Siri in iPhone in 2011 and Amazon launched Echo and Alexa in recent years. Google and Microsoft joined the bandwagon with their Sonos, JBL, and Harman Kardon. As per Voiceboit.ai, 66.4 million U.S. adults own smart speakers. 88 million smart speakers are in use in 20 major sectors and 440 million are going to be in the market by 2023. Amazon Echo holds a 61% share while Google Home a close second with 24% share. Voice technology is not only playing music for consumers but it is also making IoT devices a reality in consumer homes. In fact, all Samsung and LG systems are going to be IoT compatible by 2020.
Markets usually follow consumer consumption behavior. Juniper Research predicts that voice technology is going to shoot up voice advertising from current nil to $19 billion by 2022. The predicted v-commerce volume is $80 billion. Soon, marketers are going to SEO-optimize voice searches. Some companies are partnering up with voice agencies to build ‘skills’, a new term for audio-only forms of mobile apps. New York-based 360i is working with HBO for Westworld: The Maze, a voice-based video game. New York Times is introducing daily news and Sunday quizzes that require Alexa skills. Consumers have to activate Alexa skills to play these quizzes. Moreover, consumer brands like Hellmann are using Alexa skills to attract customers to their recipes.
The V-commerce Market:
A recent report reveals that podcasting ad revenues grew to $911 million in 2018. Additionally, podcast revenue across the world is going to increase up to 28.3% by 2023, i.e., $3.2 billion. Market giants in the entertainment and media industry are understanding the importance of podcasting. In 2019, Spotify bought Gimlet media for $230 million and Anchor FM for $110 million. CEO Daniel Ek remarks that audio opportunity is on the rise as everyone is trying to reduce screen time. Videos can be a distraction and hazardous, so people are turning towards voice technology that facilitates long content without interference. In 2019, the Association of American Publishers’ StatShot reports a 37.1% rise in audiobook sales. Michael Lewis, the author of Moneyball, has made a multi-year contract with Amazon’s Audible to ride the tide.
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