When it comes to voice, shopping is just the beginning, according to Simon Kemp, CEO and founder of marketing strategy consultancy Kepios, who says from a marketing perspective voice opens up so many more opportunities.

He said, “Whether it’s driving, cooking, gardening, DIY, whatever else.”

Kemp is the author of the annual Global Digital Report series which examines social media and digital trends across over 230 countries.

In an interview with Which-50, Kemp said he is frustrated by the way the media in marketing only looks at voice from one perspective — transactions. He said marketers need to get their head around voice as soon as possible because it will become more popular. 

“The number one thing that people use [voice] for is searching, not shopping search but ‘find me this song’ or ‘who’s the actor that was in that show?’,” he explained.

Kemp said the real barrier voice technology faces is getting consumers to use the function instead of typing.

He said most people in Australia have been using the internet for quite a long time and they’ve developed the habit of typing rather than speaking into the phone to ask a question.

“But realistically, it is a change in behaviour versus the immediacy of being a muscle memory thing. The main thing is the younger users go straight to voice and if you look at the average high school student, they’re much more likely to use voice because they’ve not got those ingrained behaviours.”

Kemp added he does not think privacy will be a barrier to adoption but the industry will need to deal with that as concerns become more prevalent.

New dimension of data

Voice will provide four new dimensions of data, Kemp says, vocal context, ambient context, other devices and other people.

Vocal context is how the user speaks to the device, so it will know when a user is angry, sad or happy.

Kemp describes ambient context as when the device listens to the background to find out where its users are.

With other devices, voice speakers can hear them in the background and they can also hear other people too.

“Am I in my house on my on the street, are other other people with me? It also starts to see what other devices I’m controlling,” he explained. 

“So it starts to see when I turn the lights on, when I turn on the radio and Spotify, maybe it knows when I’m watching TV because they can hear that in the background as well. But even more scary is that if you come into my house and open these devices, it starts listening to you as well,” he warns.

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