Walking down Main Street in today's Wild, Wild West of Voice

Fri, Jun 26, 2020

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In a (technological) world where no standards exist, how can we expect users to adapt to this new, ever-growing technology?

Walking down Main Street in today's Wild, Wild West of Voice

Today’s voice-assistance environment is similar to the early, pre-standards days of the internet—the era of the so-called browser wars.

It’s a bit of a sonic wild, wild west. There is no recognized registry of destination or dispatch names, no assured way for consumers to find companies or brands. There are no standards for identification and authentication in a multi-platform world, no set of widely-used voice commands for common commerce processes. There are no standards, nor commonly-developed and -adopted ethical use guidelines on the topics of personal and commercial data use and privacy, of protection of minors.

Broadly speaking, there is today no “rule of law” for voice technology users—be they consumers, enterprises, or developers.

In such an environment, two things generally happen:

The issue of consumer trust is a major reason for consumer-facing industries and their brands to invest in the development of standards for voice assistance.

In voice (as with other new technologies), the creation of consumer trust will start with the establishment of a “rule of law” built on standards, usage guidelines, even user-informed regulations. These will assure users of common, easy-to-learn processes, of destination access, of respect for privacy and data use. And whether the user is a consumer, a brand marketer, or a conversational AI developer.

Such a “rule of law” will also (to the benefit of consumers and brands) help distinguish the good actors from the bad. As such, it will give additional reasons for a consumer to place trust in a brand and a company, to try and embrace new capabilities, and to willingly share the data that will be so important to mutual value creation.

All which will grow the value and size of this market.

All these and more are the reasons why there is now a critical need for leaders across consumer-facing industries—business users and developers alike—to join together and develop the standards and usage guidelines that will lead this transformative technology into its future.

Standards that will encourage use and growth. Standards that will enable competitive differentiation.

Standards for the many. Standards that will give everyone their voice.