Post-CES, it’s clear 2018 will be all about AI and voice. By 2020, Gartner estimates that chatbots will be handling 85 percent of customer service interactions. And by 2022, Juniper Research estimates chatbots will be contributing to over $8 billion in annual cost savings.
From voice-controlled showers, cars, toilets (not sure if I can get behind that one yet) businesses are looking to integrate it into nearly everything this year ‒ and consumers are ready for it. More than two in five consumers (43%) are willing to interact with AI using a voice-controlled device, according to PointSource’s new AI and Chatbot Report.
According to the report, “Bridging the gap between understanding and acceptance of AI applications (particularly chatbots) with consumers will be critical to improve existing chatbot and AI interactions and to seed new innovations in ways that make sense for unique business goals and experiences.”
And part of the process includes the demystification of AI and voice-controlled technology. In fact, the PointSource report found that consumers still lack a firm understanding of what AI experiences can look and feel like today, leaving many AI-powered touch points to go unrecognized as such. In fact, “when asked about the specific kinds of devices they’ve used, 62 percent of consumers reveal they actually have used an AI-enabled device. This means that 8 percent of survey takers didn't know they were using AI, a statistic that likely doesn’t even capture the full scope of misunderstood AI experiences in America.”
And while 90 percent of consumers feel that companies are prepared to best use chatbots, over half (54 percent) would still prefer to talk to a customer service representative. The report concludes, “To push chatbots beyond their current adoption hump, businesses must take stock of their target audiences and analyze users’ relationships with AI. This means both what users find attractive about AI, and what’s turning them off. Uncovering insights like these through additional customer research is the single best way to find AI's new opportunities and to chip away at its biggest potential barriers.”
Ultimately, early integrations of AI and voice-controlled assistance should focus on making life easier for users and driving behind-the-scenes efficiencies. As consumers become more comfortable using the new technology and realize that it makes their experiences smoother, companies can gradually expand their use.
Despite imminent widespread adoption of voice-controlled assistants, however, Stephanie Trunzo, Chief Digital Officer and COO at PointSource, A Globant Company believes we have yet to harness the full potential of voice across touchpoints.
“Voice and zero UI interactions are currently limited by the capabilities programmed into each model. Alexa enables a set of defined skills for specific use cases and Cortana is designed to be a voice interaction interface for findability and retrievability. Combining capabilities allows additive use case patterns. When the systems connect multi-variable flows, and enable learning and iteration, only then will we see the real power of cognitive intelligence in voice interface," Trunzo explained in an emailed statement.