The recent adoption of voice-powered AI assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana are already changing our habits. The market for voice-powered virtual employee assistants is predicted to grow exponentially in the next few years. Gartner believes that by 2023, one out of every four employee interactions will be via voice.
Important differences separate consumer and enterprise voice assistants. Some of these differences were discussed at the annual, invite-only Forbes CIO Conference. The event brought together CEOs, CIOs and other leaders from some of the brightest companies to share lessons from the field.
Our CEO Chuck Ganapathi pointed out one glaring difference between consumer and enterprise voice-powered AI assistants. Ganapathi noted in front of a packed audience, “the enterprise must be careful not to hark back to the secretary pools of old: voice assistants at work shouldn’t automatically sound like they’re women.” Ganapathi also pointed out that we should remain cautious around framing voice AI technology as too human-like, and that we must remember -- at the end of the day -- these assistants really are ‘robots.’
As more businesses move to remote and desk-less workers, employees with long commutes - like salespeople - will turn to voice AI with the most enthusiasm. In an interview earlier in the year with PJ Jakovljevic of Technology Evaluation Centers, Ganapathi predicted this trend:
“Let’s first make this clear, most 2019 predictions around voice (conversational interfaces) in the enterprise are wrong. Where will this ongoing battle for assistants and voice spill over to? The third dimension: not at home, not on a desktop, but rather in the car. Last year brought new developments like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which laid out the groundwork. Automobile manufacturers Audi, Chrysler, Ford, and others are responding by integrating these services into the customer experience.”