Salesforce Launches Custom Voice Skills for Einstein Platform
Salesforce revealed the next step in its plans to integrate voice technology into its business services by enabling clients to create custom voice apps for the Einstein voice assistant platform. The company debuted the Einstein voice assistant last year and wants to encourage customers to create voice apps to streamline how they use Salesforce tools.
Voice for Enterprise Productivity
The Einstein voice skills are supposed to be simple to create. While they are customizable for individual businesses, they share the same basic features and abilities, no matter what the role of the user or what industry the company is in. The role of the voice skills is to skip manual data entry and related tasks, replacing them with a conversation between the user and the voice assistant. Salesforce described examples like field workers checking service histories or managers using a voice skill to call up information and analyses at meetings.
Enabling clients to build custom voice assistants means the businesses will also be able to rely on Salesforce’s security and other data management infrastructure. Companies that trust Salesforce and have held out on building a voice app over security concerns may feel more comfortable using Einstein for the purpose. Salesforce is also adding Einstein’s AI to its service cloud, which will let the voice assistant analyze and transcribe phone calls in real time, sharing its findings with sales teams.
As part of the announcement of the new voice skills, Salesforce also revealed a special Einstein smart speaker that looks like a cartoon version of the physicist. The smart speaker was built in partnership with Amazon and includes Alexa as well as Einstein as a voice assistant. The Einstein speaker and its light-up hair won’t be publicly available any time soon, it’s more a gimmick to show what the company has been working on.
Enterprise Voice Tech Competition Grows
The data gathering and knowledgebase offered by Einstein voice skills are somewhat limited at the moment. While Salesforce has said that it plans to improve and expand what the voice assistant can do, the exact shape of those features is not yet clear. Still, after acquiring Israeli conversational AI startup Bonobo in May for $45 million, Salesforce could come up with an enterprise voice AI that could potentially compete with Google or Microsoft. Salesforce is certainly enthusiastic about its prospects.
“Voice is a huge shift for the industry and will be as impactful in businesses as it’s been in our homes,” Salesforce president Bret Taylor said in a statement. “With Einstein, Salesforce is bringing the power of voice to every business, giving everyone an intelligent, trusted guide at work.”
The interest in voice is also why Salesforce worked with Apple to create a Siri Shortcut to make it easier to access and control its mobile app. Despite Einstein’s growing list of features, it may be partnerships with developers that allow Salesforce to truly compete in enterprise voice tech. As Microsoft expands its own enterprise services via Cortana and giants like Google or Oracle bring out their own services, Salesforce has to come up with more than just data entry and a light-up smart speaker to come out ahead.