On a modern ship, the captain controls the vessel with voice commands to the engine room. Thanks to voice-enabled devices such as smartphones and smart speakers, we can control our homes, get information, and perform many tasks with voice, too.
In this episode of the popular Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Perficient Digital’s Eric Enge provides evidence that voice use with devices is on the rise, and offers some insights on why this is the case.
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- Mobile Voice Usage Trends 2018 (study)
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Mark: Eric, are people really getting more willing to use voice commands with smart devices?
Eric: Yes, they are, Mark. There may be many reasons for that.
One is the huge adoption of so-called smart speakers or home assistants such as Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home. Of course, as Brent Csutoras countered in a live video show I did with him and Duane Forrester about voice devices, it’s possible that a lot of the recent growth of voice usage is just novelty, people playing with these new devices to see what they can do. But, I still think we’re seeing a trend toward growing acceptance of voice as a legitimate or even primary way of interacting with devices.
Mark: Any proof of that?
Eric: Sure. Several recent studies indicate that, including our own. In both 2017 and 2018, we surveyed over 1,000 U.S. smartphone users about their voice command habits. As you can see, in the graph below from the most recent study, in the majority of situations we asked about, the percentage of people who said they’re comfortable using voice with their devices went up significantly.
Mark: Wow. So the guy talking out loud in the next restroom stall from me at the restaurant last night, he was not so crazy after all.
Eric: Well, I can’t guarantee that. But, I think it’s true that it’s becoming more socially acceptable to talk to a device to get information or have it do something for you even in very public situations.
Mark: Okay. This series is called “Here’s Why.” So let’s get down to the why. Why do you think voice usage with devices is rising?
Eric: One factor has to be that so many more devices are voice-enabled now. All the major smartphones have the technology built in, and through our smart speakers we can do not only searches and play music, but we can control the room temperature, turn lights on and off, and do tons of other tasks without having to touch anything.
Mark: During the Olympics, I saw ads from Comcast XFINITY highlighting how you can talk to their remote to change programs, record, rewind segments, do a lot of other things.
Eric: Actually, I have one of those and the voice recognition in their remote is really awesome. With so many opportunities and integrated voice functions in more and more devices, it’s only natural that usage will become more commonplace. There are forecasts out there that by 2020, 75% of all internet connected devices will be something other than smartphones, PCs, or tablets. It’s a safe bet now that for most of these devices, they’ll either have voice interaction themselves, or be connected to a device that does.
Mark: So you could be at the grocery store and ask your phone or your watch to ask your refrigerator how much milk you have?
Mark: Thanks, Eric, for these insights. Now, our viewers who have any interest in search marketing will certainly want to keep up with your perspectives on this growing technology. Find links to Eric’s voice usage study and to his panel discussions with his futurism friends, Duane and Brent, in the notes for this episode.
Eric: And while you’re at it, you can actually gain access to our personal assistant Action on Google by just saying, “Ask Perficient Digital” in your Google Assistant. Or you can install our Alexa Skill if you want try our app on Alexa. Click here for full instructions.
Mark: Try that out and let us know what you think.
Eric Enge leads the Digital Marketing practice for Perficient Digital. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO. Learn More About Eric Enge