Hey Siri, what is the weather going to be tomorrow? Alexa, take me to the nearest sushi restaurant! Many owners of smart cell phones, speakers or televisions appreciate the option of having voice assistants search for information or make purchases over the Internet. While voice control was long regarded by German companies as a gimmick, a short-lived fad whose supposedly narrow added value was not worth the development and integration effort, it is now conquering one type of application and device after another.
The voice assistant also performs well in the car, dialing a phone number or playing the driver’s favorite song when called. The driver keeps his eyes on the road and his hands on the steering wheel.
As a barrier-free, intuitive interaction medium, the voice assistant is also gaining in importance in marketing – not as a replacement for other channels, but as a supplement. Content and technical specifics must be taken into account during the introduction. Because voice search is more likely to be used via cell phone or smart speaker than on a large screen, the content that can be accessed orally must be available in compact or readable formats.
The criteria for search engine optimization (SEO) are also changing. If users usually only enter individual keywords in a search field, they are more likely to formulate verbal queries as sentences or questions such as What assistance systems are in the new Multivan? In addition to relevant keywords, providers must therefore also assign so-called long-tail keywords to their content. The chance of being found via voice search is also increased if the text passages (snippets) for display on the hit page or for reading aloud are enriched with situationally relevant data such as images, links, prices or ratings.
Distribution and range of functions
According to a representative survey by Hamburg-based audio marketer RMS (Radio Marketing Service), 92 percent of 16- to 69-year-old online users in Germany are aware of at least one smart speaker provider; 41 percent of respondents own at least one of these devices. Their use increased by 61 percent from 2018 to 2020.
The functional spectrum of speakers with built-in voice assistants ranges from playing music tracks and controlling smarthome devices to online shopping. According to a study by the German IT industry association Bitkom, one in five owners already uses a smart speaker to place orders on the Internet, and the trend is rising. In view of the convenience of voice control, which is hard to top, analysts already see the dawn of the age of voice commerce, in which the buyer completes every step of the transaction in a verbal dialog with the machine. Companies are therefore well advised to keep an eye on this topic so as not to be among the laggards.
Source: bitkom Research 2020
How does a voice assistant work?
Basic functions like a timer or the weather forecast are integrated into the voice assistant at the factory. Depending on the voice assistant, special user functions can be activated on the device as so-called voice apps, just like on the smartphone itself. The work process of the assistant is divided into five steps:
Hearing: The assistant picks up environmental sounds, differentiates between speech and other sound events
Activate: If the assistant interprets a sound as a keyword, such as Hey Siri or Alexa, the transmission of the recording to the provider’s cloud begins
Edit: The system searches for content from the Internet or connected databases that matches its interpretation of the request
Output: The retrieved data is either output in written form or read out by a TTS synthesizer (text to speech)
Car buyers’ expectations of the product are changing, and the focus is shifting from purely technical requirements to an enhanced user experience. Instead of horsepower and speed, comfort and connectivity will decide the competition among manufacturers. From the customer’s point of view, apps will be more interesting than axles, assistance systems more important than powertrains. Voice control for the infotainment system, for example, has been around since the noughties. Now, more and more voice-enabled online services are being added for owners, drivers or passengers. In a survey conducted by voicebot.ai, an industry service based in the U.S., sixty percent of participants named a voice assistant as a criterion when buying a car, and for one-fifth it is even a main criterion. (Image source: Voicebot.ai 2020)
Examples of use
Field workers and commuters in particular spend many hours in their cars on weekdays. In the interest of safety, both hands should always remain on the steering wheel and the driver should keep his eyes on the road. Unlike on a smartphone, the driver does not have to press the power button on the voice assistant, nor does he have to open individual apps or search for functions in them. All they have to do is say the activation word, ask for the next rest stop, or inquire whether the front door is locked, and they receive a spoken response in a matter of seconds.
Also according to voicebot.ai, a good half of U.S. adults have used a voice assistant in their car, and a third do so regularly. Most frequent uses:
Send short message
Play music from server
Search radio stations
Ask general knowledge
Listen to weather forecast
Image source: Voicebot.ai
Voice-enabled mobility calculator
Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, and their purchase will be subsidized by taxes for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, many potential buyers still find it difficult to choose between an electric motor and a combustion engine. To help you decide, we offer a mobility calculator on our website. You can use it to calculate the conditions under which an e-drive model is worthwhile for you. To this end, the calculator compares the purchase prices, operating costs and life cycle assessments of gasoline, diesel and e-models in the most popular vehicle classes. This shows that reality has now overtaken the cliché of the “too expensive” electric car.
Operation of the calculator
The e-mobility calculato was initially available as a browser app for free use on our website. We also offer our clients the option of using the tool in their corporate design on their own pages. To encourage interested parties to use the calculator, we have radically simplified its operation. There is no need to type in numbers and other details. Instead, the user selects just three key data at the click of a mouse on the calculator’s home page: Vehicle class, annual mileage, charging preference. On the results page, the user adjusts the values calculated in the first step. In this way, they approach their individual needs step by step and are motivated to take a closer look at the matter.
New: Voice control
As an alternative to using the mouse, we have now made the mobility computer voice-enabled. We have implemented this technically in the form of a skill for the Amazon voice assistant Alexa. You can activate the function free of charge on your smartphone or smart speaker via the Alexa skill store. When the device is switched on, you will receive the first results page of the calculator in a short time without having to press a single button.
Try out the voice control of our mobility calculator! You can find the function under “Consileon-E mobility calculator” in the Alexa Skillstore.
Do you have questions about voice marketing?
Or its application in the automotive sector? Get in touch with us! Our experts will respond promptly and will be happy to answer your questions.
Consileon is now part of the Catena-X Automotive Network e.V. – the first collaborative, open data ecosystem for the automotive industry of the future, connecting global players in end-to-end value chains.
What is the measure of a software’s success? Shareholders would probably answer: profits, the lead over the competition, test scores. But these are all secondary effects. Their common condition is that the users of the product are convinced by its design and handling.