Some trends around virtual assistants include the use of celebrity or personalized voices, the rise of in-car voice assistants, and the elimination of “wake” words. More information regarding these trends is provided below.
1. Personality Voices
- In the last year, users of smart virtual assistants are looking for ways to personalize the voice of their virtual assistants. For example, Amazon and Google are offering celebrity voices, such as Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Ray, Issa Rae, or John Legend, to be added to users’ devices. Also, people are looking to change their assistant’s language or accent.
- This trend is driven by users’ need for warm, familiar voices to help them “overcome a natural aversion to communicating with voice-based products.”
- It is expected that, in the near future, virtual assistants manufacturers will be giving personalities to voices and adding more celebrity voices to their catalogs, as users are requesting the voices of more popular celebrities.
2. In-car Voice Assistant Usage is Rising
- Users are increasingly using their favorite virtual voice assistants in their cars, with Siri, Amazon Auto Echo, and Google Assistant dominating the market. From 2018 to the start of 2020, the number of in-car voice assistant users increased by 13.7% to almost 130 million. In 2020, in-car voice assistant usage is 45% higher than smart speaker use. Also, according to Ned Curic, the vice president of Alexa Auto, automakers’ demand for Amazon’s voice virtual assistant is “through the roof.”
- This trend is driven by the need for consumers to experience more control over their lives while they are driving.
- According to a report, 73% of drivers will use an in-car voice assistant by 2022. That is a considerable rise when compared to the current 49% of people using such devices.
3. No More “Wake” Words
- Smart virtual assistants manufacturers are removing “wake” words from these devices. For example, in 2019, Google and Amazon announced that their voice assistants will no longer require the use of “Alexa” or “Ok, Google” to initiate a conversation. In 2020, Windows announced that Microsoft Cortana would temporarily not require the use of “Hey Cortana” as a wake word.
- This trend is driven by the current aim of developers to provide a more user-centric experience.
- In the near future, the next generation of smart voice assistants could eliminate wake words completely and only require to listen “to the acoustic environment” and provide services or recommendations based on conversations they listen to. Customers are already expecting a series of services that they would like from “always-listening voice assistants.”