Voice Tech: creating exciting new horizons for Developers

The continued rise of voice search means that by 2024, the global voice-based smart speaker market could be worth over...

James Bleese
7 min read Reading Time
26 October 2022 Date Created

The continued rise of voice search means that by 2024, the global voice-based smart speaker market could be worth over $30 billion.  Currently dominated by international giants Google, Apple and Amazon – machine learning and evolving algorithms continue to turn vocal queries into meaningful digital experiences.

Last year, Google unveiled Multitask Unified Model (MUM), its next gen speech recognition AI.  Google Technologist, Pandu Nayak, said “MUM not only understands language, but also generates it. It’s trained across 75 different languages and many different tasks at once, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models.”

Nayak said MUM is “1,000 (times) more powerful” than the BERT natural language processing (NLP) AI Google introduced in 2018. The MUM AI is also multimodal, meaning “it can understand information from different formats like webpages, pictures and more, simultaneously.”

Frankly, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a new smart device that does not cater for, and in fact advocate voice search.  Spanning languages and catering for people who struggle with reading, voice search is more accessible and continues to drive web experiences, notably ecommerce decisions through voice shopping queries, meaning businesses who are not evolving their voice search capabilities will likely suffer. 

Knowing each voice

In pursuit of slick and personalised digital experiences, voice search queries will now generate personalised responses according to both the question and the voice behind it. Clever stuff. Which means companies need to evolve their digital and physical productisation to cater for a richer pool of users, delivering personalised responses and products for a larger range of vocal queries. 

FAQ Schema

Browsers are continually advancing to accept voice, which means code needs to leverage attributes and hints to support voice search.  Developers will need to work closely with content creation teams to ensure that the structure and information on site caters for voice search.  Adding an FAQ schema to core pages by increasing the chances of a core product or offering being served as a response to a voice search query. 

Speakable Schema

Google’s schema markup tool, Speakable, enables developers to mark up sections of content specifically for voice search. It creates the equivalent of featured snippets for voice search, enabling you to select key pieces of information you deem most relevant for voice search queries.  With this excerpt, Google will determine how relevant and valuable your content is for the user, and if deemed so by the algorithm will be delivered via a smart device in response to that search query. Well worth getting ahead of.

voice tech

Seamless Navigation

Voice led experiences go beyond search queries, and now anyone developing a new app will need to heavily consider the functionality of voice search in all interactions. From chatbots and voice assistants through to standard navigation, customised operability will be key in determining the success and future proofing the software to deliver meaningful and profitable experiences for users. 

CX lead by voice

Post-pandemic, there is a demand for businesses to deliver immediate gratification and solutions, with voice search as a rising factor in driving online experiences.  Which means that while the tech remains relatively in its infancy, developers embracing the need to cater for search will gain a competitive edge by adopting voice programs early to begin to understand the exacting needs of their user base. Ultimately, AI across all web development will drive automated but powerful customer experiences.

Internal operations

Soon to be gone are the days of diving into a spreadsheet to access stock or supply chain information. Voice led technology extends beyond consumer facing needs in ecommerce, and also drives faster internal processes, from supply chain management through to HR, by giving those needing information immediate access to the data they need to make decisions. Currently, supply-chain dashboards negate the risk of unfulfilled orders and sketchy product pipelines by delivering up to the minute information in response to voice commands.

The need for speed

Make sure your site loads quickly. Seems obvious, but voice tech continues to empower users to access content relevant to them quickly and on the move. Basically, you’ve got less than one second to get that page serving those results. Which means developers need to align with users’ evolving needs and build experiences that hinge on conversational and interactive experiences. Natural language processing and AI continues to evolve to deliver stronger customer relationships and more lucrative experiences.

Helpful resources for developers

Looking to level up your understanding of voice search? Google and Alexa have all published handy guides for developers to help you better leverage voice search. 

Businesses will continue to put emphasis on the need to understand and leverage voice search, and their development team will need to deliver the perfect approach to optimising for voice.  Which means that if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to get proactive and lead those discussions to benefit performance and future proof your digital offering. 

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