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Voice gets serious at CES 2018 in Las Vegas


Keen technology observers may have initially been underwhelmed by this year’s CES 2018 show in Las Vegas, but there was clear evidence of massive ongoing investment in voice control across all platforms and gadgets.

Sabio Group – voice technology

With its omnipresent ‘Hey Google’ branding, for example, Google was clearly making a big bet on voice, and there were hundreds of products – from speakers, cars and phones to cookers and clocks – that were promoted as either working with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. This week Tesla CEO Elon Musk also validated the voice interface, announcing that the company’s entry-level Model 3 electric car would definitely feature spoken-language controls – delivered as a feature via the vehicle’s ongoing software updates.

What’s clear is that the VUI – the Voice User Interface – is now clearly established and recognised as a reliable user interface for devices – indeed in China it’s estimated that voice assistant usage now has a 64% adoption rate. Voice-first devices are becoming common household devices, generations are growing up familiar with voice as a primary interface thanks to its success in applications such as YouTube for Kids, and SEO professionals are now actively focused on optimising for voice search.

We’ve been building voice technology into customer journeys for over a decade here at Sabio and its great to see this accelerated shift to voice as the user interface. We’d love to hear how you are planning on integrating voice technology into your products and services

In this week’s SabioSense we focus on the importance of context in successful voice applications, highlight the significant differences between a VUI and an intelligent assistant, mark the end of Facebook’s M human assistant programme, and map out the future of the User Interface with Wired.

  • Voice as a pathway to understanding user intent – While accuracy is critical for voice technology, natural language understanding is vital to identifying user intent & context
  • Distinguishing between a voice interface and an intelligent assistant – Interesting story suggests that ‘the smarter the assistant, the less I should actually need to talk to it’
  • Human-powered digital assistants aren’t the answer – Remember M, Facebook’s human-powered assistant service? Well it turns out this isn’t what people expected in terms of an assistant and the service is closing down this month
  • Beyond the VUI – next up its the IUI – the Intelligent User Interface – Just as we’re getting used to the idea of the VUI, Wired magazine maps out its potential successor – the IUI Intelligent User Interface that blends AI, Augmented Reality, machine learning to create a truly contextual user interface


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