Posted by Alison Arthur on 24 Apr 2019
Our voices are becoming more powerful than ever. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). natural language processing (NLP), and smart home devices, our voices can control everything from turning up our thermostats to selecting our favorite television shows.
It wasn’t so long ago that intelligent personal assistants that respond to voice commands were considered cutting edge, but they’re now becoming more commonplace in our daily lives. Earlier this year, Google reported that Google Assistant will be available on one billion devices including Google Home smart speakers, Android mobile devices, iPhones, televisions, smartwatches, and more. Compare that to Apple’s Siri, which is now actively used on over half a billion devices. And estimates predict that Amazon Alexa could have 500 million active customers around the world by 2020.
As the technology that powers intelligent personal assistants continues to be refined, there are new applications for it being born daily. Here are three innovative uses of voice commands via smart home devices that help automate everyday tasks.
Amazon built a voice shopping experience that makes reordering and buying new products via Alexa easier than ever. Using a simple command like, “Alexa, order paper towels”, gives shoppers the ability to either reorder items from their order history or have Alexa find new items to buy. The final price is always provided before order confirmation. And if the user doesn’t have an Alexa home device, they can access voice shopping via the Amazon mobile app.
Google offers a similar experience through Google Express, in which Google Assistant responds to voice commands via Google Home devices. There is free shipping for orders above the store minimum, and Walmart and Target both offer products via Google Express, meaning there is a large assortment of products to choose from. As with Alexa, a Google Home device is activated using a voice command like, “Hey Google, order paper towels”, and different options are given along with their total prices including tax. Once a product is confirmed by the user, the order is placed.
In 2018, Amazon announced a new Alexa skill that lets users make charitable donations using voice commands. Users can either direct a donation to a specific charity that’s on the platform or say, “Alexa, make a donation,” and Alexa can suggest a charity. The list of charities is available here and continues to grow. It makes supporting charitable organizations easier than ever.
While voice commands can facilitate common tasks around your home, it can also facilitate the transactions that keep your home running (think mortgage, utilities, insurance, and auto finance payments). Intelligent personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can also facilitate bill payment tasks like inquiring about account balances, checking due dates, and making voice-enabled payments. By automating these important transactions, intelligent personal assistants can help users keep their finances on track and facilitate on-time bill payments.
The Bottom Line: Voice technology is facilitating everyday tasks like never before. In addition to checking the weather, playing music, and setting reminders, it can also automate transactions that keep households running smoothly – like making on-time bill payments.