Voice-Driven Technologies in Industry--What's the Talk all About?

Author:Hiskey, Terri

Last year, the market for voice-recognition technologies was estimated to be worth a staggering $6.19bn, and this is predicted to increase to $18.30bn by 2023. Amazon's Echo and Google Home devices are two of the most notable examples of how this technology is transforming the way we connect with machines. In fact, voice search is quickly becoming the primary search mode for consumers, with Comscore UK predicting that by the year 2020, half of all searches will be via voice.

While voice-driven technologies are currently mostly associated with home appliances, they will soon have a major impact on the industrial landscape too. Indeed, a recent study undertaken by Zebra has revealed that 51 percent of manufacturing companies are planning to expand their use of voice technology in the next five years.

Manufacturers that are already embracing Industry 4.0 trends are best positioned to implement voice-driven technologies in the industrial environment. Where businesses like SouthCo are connecting production lines and processes with data, they are witnessing an explosion of connected devices onto their factory floors as a result. Voice-driven technology may therefore slot neatly into the digital transformation strategies of these companies. The wider industry seems to be considering this--another Zebra Technologies study indicated that 49 percent of manufacturers ranked voice direction and recognition tech as the highest wearable tech investment areas.

However, voice-driven technologies may still feel like a luxury to other manufacturers looking to innovate. With many industry-transforming technologies, like enterprise resource planning (ERP), being seemingly available, why should those in the sector invest specifically in voice-recognition technologies?

Connection, communication, collaboration

One of the strongest arguments in favour of voice-driven technology is to increase productivity. A poor level of productivity is an issue that continues to hamper the UK manufacturing sector, with recent figures showing a slump in UK output. Despite analysts predicting an expansion of 0.3 percent, production dropped--falling to 1.4 percent in April 2018. In a time of global uncertainty, it is important for businesses to strive for a competitive edge and to make sure operations are as efficient and streamlined as possible. Some look towards technology to help boost performance.

A report from allBusiness has indicated that voice-driven technologies have...

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