Technological advancements in AI promise to put Voice and Chatbots on centre stage

Written by: Samantha Wolhuter

picture of young people chatting

With 2019 well underway, the new year promises to be an exciting one for chatbot and voice technologies. In recent months, annual conferences such as the annual MarTech Conference have highlighted the growing prominence of these technologies in several companies. Here are some of the trends you can expect to see in this ever-growing sector.

Data collection versus privacy

Many global companies have indicated that they will be paying more attention to investing in voice technologies to drive sales, resulting in an overall increase of data-driven services in optimisation. This requires large scale data capturing and software development. At the same time, the EU has also introduced increases in protection of privacy and data permissions, putting pressure on companies to source purchase data in a legal and ethical manner.

The promise and fear of voice

The year also promises to show exponential increases in voice-based services such as Google, Alexa and Cortana, especially in the realm of voice shopping. Marketers are keenly realising the need to learn more about these in the drive to make their products discoverable again. However, along with the pros of Voice search engine optimization (VSEO), many industry experts have voiced their concerns about major companies cornering the market and determining buyer behaviour as this increases the risk of limiting innovation in this space in terms of consumer/assistant interaction and of course there is still the question of comfort, from a societal perspective humans still need to learn how to engage comfortably with their assistants. 2019 looks to be the year that this technology will effortlessly become part of a consumer’s daily life.

Our homes and cars are the new stores

Voice-based technologies are transforming the way consumers experience shopping and particularly online shopping. These innovations have the potential to turn once neutral spaces into storefronts. You can expect to see more cars connected with voice assistants and the vision of location-based shopping (LBS)y. Driving past a billboard and asking your built-in voice assistant to make a purchase for you, will become an imminent reality. For this to be successful, new frontier brands will need to change the nature of their advertisements from interference to assistance, from mass to personal, from push to pull, to becoming unobtrusive and on-demand.

Visual search is coming to town

Developments in computer vision are coming to Europe from the USA via the UK. And while fully-fledged visual search is not yet available with leading Dutch e-retailers, it is only a matter of time until pointing a camera and hitting a Buy-button will be common behaviour. Development of another visual experience-enhancing technology, Augmented Reality (AR) will also help the adoption. A very important aspect of visual search is that brands can instantly identify consumer demands as soon as an image is snapped and searched, using chatbots complete the search.

Visual search technology and the use of VR also have the potential to give copycat companies free publicity and hits when searches for certain products render similar results. For example, a visual search for a certain pair of shoes from a certain company could misdirect business to competitors.

Innovations such as IKEA Place show a great example of the power of visual search. A quick snap of a picture and consumers will be able to find similar products offered by IKEA. Amazon has also jumped on the image-search bandwagon with Amazon Glasses which support visual search along with rumours of Apple launching their own AR glasses. It’s not hard to see how visual search technology will change the way products are photographed to cash in the use of VR in online shopping.

The New B2B — Bot2Bot advertisement

You can also look forward to the rise of Bot2Bot (B2B) software developments, whereby devices and objects will have more ability to communicate with each other. It won’t be long before washing machines are ordering more detergent and fridges are restocking their own shelves. A rising trend which will most definitely be a hot topic of discussion and research this year!

With all the promise these new trends hold and the impressive developments in the technology around AI and Voice, it’s hard to not get excited about the year ahead. As always, WeAreBrain remains committed to finding new ways to invest in emerging and innovative technological capabilities and it looks like 2019 is going to be the year that AI and most certainly Voice will come into its own. We’d like to find out your views on these innovations and hear what you find interesting, challenging or concerning?

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Last modified: April 17, 2020
Author info
Samantha Wolhuter
Sam is in charge of writing a big portion of WeAreBrain’s creative content. She is a digital nomad always on the go, inspiring us with her words from some of the world's most beautiful locations.