The voice user interface (VUI), voice search, voice-based user experience, and more are transforming the world around us.
Voice interaction is a major focal area for technology and process development and it’s all about making life easier.
With voice interaction, the user or customer bypasses any need to read, type, or think, which are all requirements of typical screen and keyboard style interfaces. The user is put into a simple conversational mode to get their objectives met.
UX designers are scrambling to deliver solutions that will transform the way consumers interact with businesses and the way people interact with machines, systems, and services.
While the concept of “conversation” seems very straightforward, the technology building blocks underpinning it are complex. Breaking free of the screen-and-keyboard style UI opens up avenues of inclusivity and accessibility.
Further Developments in Voice Technology
AI-empowered voicebots can interact with humans in a human-like and comfortable way. With a mature artificial intelligence foundation, the user interaction can be quick and relaxed as natural conversation easily leads to an outcome, and because it’s intuitive there is no notable learning curve for the users.
Interactions can leverage voice analytics technologies, monitoring emotions to see if the user is happy, confused, disappointed, neutral or other.
Voice analytics can also watch for keywords to inform and direct the interaction, and can assess the style and quality of the user responses and tune a voicebot’s delivery to the situation. The potential insights that voice tone and pitch can provide simply are not possible at screen-and-keyboard interfaces.
Voice biometric technology can enable a more secure experience. Internet security, privacy, and identity protection are growing concerns. Voice biometrics leverage the acoustic characteristics and behavioral features that are unique to each individual for authentication and access services.
The use of voice search and voice assistants are growing exponentially and are becoming popular with all age groups, especially younger consumers. Services have grown well beyond basic navigation, playlists, and phone calls, to voice supported email and calendar management, shopping and more.
Potential of the Voice User Interface
Estimates indicate that more than 30 percent of web browsing was screenless in 2021. This was largely due to the rapid rise of voice assistants and smart speakers. Voice assistant tech is leading the way to much more dynamic and elaborate human-machine interaction which will be part of our everyday lives.
For businesses, the potential is quite exciting. Providing a VUI solution that is easy to use, helpful, and conveys brand personality can ensure that customers receive instantaneous responses while reducing operating costs. However, there is no guarantee of success in this arena.
The interface must provide an accessible and simplified user experience that is appropriate for the products and services being supported. Critically, many interactions will happen via phone. Network management teams must ensure the network environment supports the voice interaction.
The Proactive Approach
In human-human interaction, via phone, we often encounter latency/delay, echo, background noise, audio clipping, or a host of other phenomena that our human mind copes with after repeated conditioning, or where we have conscious or unconscious strategies to make sense of the flawed communication.
Voice interface technologies today, while impressive, are no match for the brilliance of the human brain.
Network teams are able to influence a business’s own network arrangements; however, customers access services from other networks.
Enterprise network monitoring solutions don’t provide the assurances that an active voice connection is supportive of productive voice interaction. Proactive approaches to voice services management will ensure end-to-end monitoring of those call paths that carry actual user traffic.