Speechmatics Survey: Voice Enterprise Adoption Accelerating Post-Pandemic
More businesses are adopting voice technology and the pace is only accelerating due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey from speech recognition technology developer Speechmatics found. A little over two-thirds of enterprises surveyed now have a voice technology strategy, an 18% leap from the year before and a sign that voice will be central to enterprise strategy for a long time to come, according to the report.
The central find of the report is that businesses are faster than ever to incorporate speech recognition, transcription, and related technology into their strategies. Surveying CEOs and other business executives from around the world, Speechmatics’ report illustrates how broad the appeal of voice tech can be to businesses. New enterprises as industries have included voice in their plans as the technology improved and new ways to implement it have appeared, but Speechmatics acknowledges there’s been no bigger boost to the field than the ongoing pandemic and the need to adapt to it.
“The results of the Speechmatics 2021 trends and predictions report reflects the impact of COVID-19 as organizations looked to leverage voice technology. The introduction of voice technology into business workflows could fortify product offerings and services to meet the challenges created as a result of the virus,” Speechmatics explained in the report. “As a result, the application of technologies such as voice are being considered even more important as countries, industries, organizations and individuals continue to operate in a world that is now defined by COVID-19 and look to plan for a post-pandemic world.”
While Speechmatics reported that speech tech has grown for many years, a year of social distancing and closed offices has led to a frenzy of adoption, especially from those companies that had not already begun experimenting with the technology. That’s partly why telecommunications ranked in the survey as the biggest beneficiary of voice tech last year, thanks to the widespread switch to Zoom and other remote conferencing platforms. Of the many ways the technology can be utilized, the survey found web conferencing transcription and customer experience and analytics as those likely to make the biggest impact in the coming year.
There are still concerns and reservations about voice technology in enterprises, however. Nearly three-quarters of respondents cited accuracy as the biggest barrier to including voice technology in their business, with 51% pointing to accent and dialect limitations as a reason to stick skip voice tech tec. And privacy maintains its perennial spot near the top of the list for reason executives are nervous to bring voice tech to the office. The fact that 60% of those enterprises without a voice tech strategy said they will consider one within five years suggests some optimism about smoothing over those concerns.
Speechmatics knows the promise and pitfalls of the industry well even without the survey. Its speech recognition platform is designed to be flexible enough to understand and transcribe not just regular conference calls, but the more informal conversations that happen during meetings. With around three dozen languages in sundry accents, the British company’s algorithms transcribe millions of hours of conversation a month. The startup’s $8.3 million funding round led by AlbionVC in late 2019 was already helping it bring in new clients at a steady pace. The pandemic simply contributed to that growth, including deals with speech analytics software maker Daisee and contact call center platform Puzzel, while navigation software platform what3words is incorporating the company’s speech recognition tech is to through a joint API. But, as its report highlights, there is plenty of business to go around.
“In recent years, voice technology has seen an upward trajectory in both popularity and adoption. Voice technologies are no longer the thing of science fiction, they are a valuable asset that see no sign of slowing down in the foreseeable future,” Speechmatics wrote in the report. “From consumer devices in homes like the Amazon Echo and Google Home to the deployment of voice-based solutions within business and enterprise environments, voice has and will continue to be additive to our daily lives.”