In the past two weeks, several articles have been published on the next digital frontier of development, voice-based technology. Think about how much you use your smartphone or device, and if you ask Siri or Alexa for assistance, whether it is for directions, help in locating a book you want to purchase or to add items to your grocery list. Using voice-enabled tech is becoming second nature. To the digital natives, this is even more intuitive. I witnessed my six-year-old nephew ask his tablet to “show me games with penguins” on my last visit to Ireland- and the tablet complied! What are the significant implications for voice tech? How evolved is it? Do we trust it?
Changing Tech Landscape
A recent article in Mobihealthnews profiled 37 startup companies exploring voice tech applications across business sectors. They report that over 47% of the current voice-enabled tech is focused on the healthcare space. Voice reminders to monitor chronic conditions are increasing. Actions, such as taking blood pressure or blood sugar readings and tracking medication regimens, seem like logical applications. They point to additional use cases under development, like helping people age in place. Considering that over 9,000 people are turning 65 daily in the USA this type of support to keep someone at home and independent seems prudent. The advantage of voice also allows people of all ages to interact and get needs met. Labor intensive aspects of providing healthcare like medical note taking for physicians are also being pursued. Physician burn-out is rightly getting more attention, so tech solutions that can ease the administrative burden of providing care are essential. These aspects will be discussed in more detail at the Voice Summit being held in Boston in October.
Another recent report comes from New York Based Luminary Labs, CEO Sara Holoubek who recently spoke at Voice Summit hosted by Modev. Holoubeck reflects that voice is the next wave to hit the shore in the digital space- over the past 25 years, we have moved through the specific development of the web, search, social, mobile and now we enter the next era of disruption, voice. It’s an area not without association teething problems, Holoubek reflects that starting explorations and testing in low-risk ways to build expertise is advised. Also, being clear on the question you want to answer will lend itself to appropriate scoping as it won’t be a solution for all ills. Additionally, being realistic about what can be achieved in the near term will help build logical frameworks for long-term success. Holoubek points out that voice is at the heart of the three-way intersection of the IoT (internet of things- aka devices), Artifical Intelligence (AI- services) and User-experience (UX – how we interact with tech).
No doubt the next two years will see tremendous development in this space and recent blog posts on privacy, trust and ethics also need to be part of the DNA of voice-enabled tech applications in healthcare and other sectors.
Thanks for reading- Trina
(My opinions are my own)
Mobilhealthnews article on voice applications
Luminary Labs Voice Report