Amazon Breaks Into the Emerging Mobile Voice Industry
March 05, 2013
Today, customers expect to get information and interact with a company on their own time while simultaneously expecting a personalized customer experience. The recent rapid growth of mobile voice has given businesses an additional channel to provide better customer experiences.
In fact, Amazon’s recent acquisition of Ivona Software has opened the door for enterprises to integrate text-to-speech capabilities into their existing Amazon apps, offering customization, personalization and the tools to offer a multichannel, on-the-go experience to customers. Ivona’s technology is already in use with the Kindle Fire to enable services such as voice commands, text-to-speech and the innovative “Explore by Touch.” This move could be Amazon’s way of boosting the features and functionality of the Kindle Fire to compete with higher spec tablets.
Dave Limp, Amazon Kindle vice president, believes the IVONA team shares Amazon’s passion for customer obsession and innovation, which creates the foundation for the creation of great products with quality voice solutions.
This acquisition is a validation of the entire mobile voice industry that is just beginning to emerge, according to Kelly Weinhold, product strategist at Angel, who sat down with TMC (News - Alert) recently to discuss Amazon’s impact on mobile voice in the enterprise. “Amazon has already had some beginnings of speech and voice in its KindleFire product, but this acquisition is signaling that Amazon is doubling down on this technology,” she explained. “The possibilities are endless about what they can do.”
Image via Uttambaba.blogspot.com
So far, Amazon has offered limited use of voice and text-to-speech, but this acquisition will most likely lead to the development of a full virtual assistant that will be able to make recommendations based on consumer purchase history, according to Weinhold. “It could be a much friendlier user experience than just an e-mail getting pushed out for example about a new product recommendation,” said Weinhold.
Following this acquisition, more businesses are likely to tailor to their customers’ needs using text-to-speech capabilities through a personalized, customized experience. Weinhold sees something along the lines of a Siri-like experience on the Kindle that Amazon will develop by several companies. Overall, if it is what makes the customer experience the easiest and most efficient it can be, that is what companies will want to be offering.
“Amazon is a great example of a place where a virtual assistant is really helpful because of its enormous database of products,” she explained. “When you are searching a large database on a mobile device, there is limited real-estate there. It can be trickier to navigate to a specific menu item if you have to tap multiple lists and go through a searching mechanism. It becomes much simpler f you just press a button and ask for an item.”
Amazon is going to come behind Apple (News - Alert) and it is going to further validate that there are ways to use this technology that are immensely helpful to its consumer base, such as searching and making purchases. “Amazon is going to continue to prove to consumers that this is a great interaction channel that you could be utilizing with various companies as they start to develop virtual assistants,” Weinhold continued.
In the future, Weinhold thinks we will see a majority of companies having their own virtual assistant, as they will find that mobile voice is an even easier way for consumers to interact with companies when they are on-the-go.
“Most companies are going to offer you the ability in a mobile environment, interact with them in whatever manor you choose. It’s all about making the experiences as easy as possible and putting the interaction choice in the hands of the consumers,” she said.
Angel has put a lot of resources into determining the future of mobile voice. In fact, its product Lexee, can enable companies to create their own virtual assistant for their customers, giving them that multi-model option of interacting via voice or via touch.
A product of Angel Labs, Lexee, is an SDK backed by Angel’s Caller First Analytics, enabling businesses to implement conversational mobile voice applications and measure their effectiveness in real-time. Lexee gives businesses a new channel to engage its customer base and create a personalized customer experience. With more than one billion mobile applications downloaded each month, Lexee provides businesses with a voice activated iOS or Android (News - Alert) mobile solution for its customers.
Weinhold concluded, “It’s a very clear indication that the technology has gotten to the point that it is functional and very helpful to consumers. And, it is just going to get better from here.”
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo