Wednesday 30 July, 2014
Let’s get out our crystal ball and look into the not-too-distant future of ecommerce to see what’s going on. There are big changes afoot. For the last ten years or so, companies have been quietly developing and refining a technology that could change the way we surf the internet and shop online using voice recognition technology.
Marketers love to make up new kinds of ecommerce whey they replace the ‘e’ at the beginning with another letter of the alphabet. Yup, you guessed it. In some circles, they’re talking about vCommerce, or voice commerce.
With voice commerce, you don’t point and click your way through your purchase. You tell your browser what you want it to do. This makes shopping much quicker and easier, with no need for any touch-typing or mouse clicking.
The Wonders of Voice Recognition Technology
We’re not there quite yet, but voice recognition technology has made huge strides in recent years. You’ve probably been driven insane at some point by an automated voice menu of a company you use that didn’t recognize ‘yes’ as a word. Well, the old systems that only recognized numbers or ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are a thing of the past.
You can see a glimpse of the future by checking out Apple’s Siri. Again, Siri isn’t perfect. But it’s pretty remarkable what you can do with it. Try a voice recognition software program like Dragon Naturally Speaking. Once you get the program ‘trained,’ it’s pretty remarkable how accurately it types what you’re saying.
Firefox now has an add-on called Firesay that lets you browse the internet through voice commands. Of the above mentioned examples, I think Firesay represents best what voice commerce will look like.
How Voice Recognition Will Be Used
This technology can also be used to make ecommerce transactions more secure through voice biometrics. Like all biometrics, it’s much safer than using a password that hackers or other evildoers can get ahold of and use.
Voiced recognition is already used by disabled internet users who either can’t or have a hard time using a keyboard and mouse. Text-to-speech technology is also used for people who are visually impaired.
But most of all, I predict that voice commerce will be led by mobile use. If you can buy what you want online by simply talking into your phone, this makes the ecommerce experience faster and easier, which is what it needs. In the future, people could use it to reserve tickets, buy books and other items, find directions to offline locations, and so on.
This could be a huge opportunity for companies that can cash in on it. For developers, it offers an exciting challenge, creating voice commerce apps and websites for businesses. It’s not here yet, but it’s interesting to see what will happen in the coming years.