I was reading an article on the best startup investment opportunities for 2018, and it listed IoT, Blockchain and VAAS. You’ve covered the first two in previous blogs – but can you please explain VAAS?

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Doctor Digital

Doctor Digital Says:

Voice as a Service, also known as VAAS is really an evolution of what has been happening in the world of voice recognition, AI and machine learning, driven primarily by efficiency and customer service. But VAAS has the opportunity to be much more than that. The main driver of this shift toward voice user interfaces are the changing user demands. There is an increased overall awareness and a higher level of comfort for voice as a service demonstrated specifically by millennial consumers. In this ever-evolving digital world where speed, efficiency, and convenience are constantly being optimised, it’s clear that we are moving towards less screen interaction.

The mass adoption of artificial intelligence in users’ everyday lives is also fueling the shift towards voice. The increasing number of IoT devices such as smart thermostats and speakers are giving voice assistants more utility in a connected user’s life. Smart speakers are the number one way we are seeing voice being used, however, it only starts there. Many industry experts even predict that nearly every app will integrate voice technology in the next 5 years in some way.

VAAS already is part of your life if you use Google, Alexa or Siri to help you. This is a directed conversation based on information gathering with specified questions, more reactive than proactive. With machine learning and AI built in to this voice recognition model, VAAS creates voice activated programs that learn with usage, and can begin to offer real-time, real-value personalised service to people. Much in the same way a chatbot can develop understanding of your needs and patterns based on usage, VAAS is a voice version of that same process, where reactive becomes predictive with use.

One of the first obvious moves for VAAS is personal assistance services, using voice to create virtual assistance that is able to anticipate the needs of people and help them with increasingly intelligent queries. This is happening on the domestic front with Alexa and Google Home, but will increasingly be developed as bespoke business apps, further specialise these existing technologies for sectors and individual businesses. Having your own Alexa style service, built for your businesses needs has a tonne of advantages. This clearly can save time for your business giving your customers super responsive service while you are getting on building and running your business in areas where you can maximize your value.

For whole sectors like health and disabilities for instance, where there are shortages of care, especially in regional and remote areas, voice assistants can check in on people, undertake non-critical triage, and even just be a service to talk to with a compassionate time unlimited active listener, that is able to build up an understanding of topics of interest. The human response to voice is highly innate, which is why when voice and convenience met in the form of podcasting it took off in a way that was completely unexpected, and shifted our focus from entertainment to information. We continue to consume podcasts at an insatiable rate of knots – 75% year on year growth to date. But while podcasts are limited as a one way transmission, the future will be conversational.

As we are conditioned to listen and engage with voice more, we will find that this behaviour will begin to be reflected in how digital technology is built. Voice recognition will drive our homes, our vehicles, and text will become a thing of the past. Again the time saver of voice is one of its key value propositions, its hands free and on the move, and the one thing we all need more of is time.

Where can you see voice being integrated in your business? Will it be ordering direct from the table to your POS in your café, guided tours where an AI voice app can be asked questions (not just a recording and QR codes), ordering products online and providing real time FAQ, counselling and support, no more forms to fill in with a pure voice recognition interface – the opportunities are truly exciting, and this is undoubtedly a space to watch and prepare for in businesses large and small.