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Voice Is the Next UI

FinovateSpring was a hotbed of future-looking technology. We spoke to Theo Lau, Innovator Technologist and Connector, Unconventional Ventures about why she thinks voice is the next UI.

Although voice may not a solution for all situations, there is no denying that the momentum and interest for voice technology is growing. In the Q3 2017 earnings report, Amazon disclosed that it has sold “tens of millions of Echo units” since the first release in 2015. According to “The Rise of Voice” report by Invoca, the voice opportunity is predicted to be worth more than $18 billion by 2023. Consumers have been using voice assistants from seeking information to playing music and shopping. Accessibility, convenience, and simplicity are some of the main reasons behind the user adoption. For those who cannot read or who may have trouble navigating the menu options on an app or website, ability to speak to a device offers a more intuitive option to obtain real-time information. Voice technology is also life-impacting for those suffering from isolation/loneliness. In all, it has the potential to become a more inclusive technology that can appeal to a board audience and serve a wide purpose.

Recognizing the potential and appeal, financial institutions such as Capital One, USAA, Bank of America, U.S. Bank, and Ally Financial have begun experimenting with various use cases. Applications thus far are still fairly rudimentary and focused on basic interactions such as checking balance, paying bill, and tracking spending.

Though voice banking is still at its infancy, the industry is quite bullish on its future. Capgemini predicts that 3 years from now, 40 percent of consumers will use voice assistants rather than website or app, and 31 percent will use a voice device instead of visiting a store or branch. Separately, Medici forecasts that approximately 1.83 billion customers will be using voice assistants by 2021. Financial institutions should leverage insights harnessed from these interactions to adapt the conversation to reflect their brand identity and user’s profile. As suggested by Mark Taylor from Capgemini: “A brand today is an image, a set of colors, something you see on TV, on a website or in a store. With a voice channel, you see nothing, so a brand needs to have an audible image.”

While we might not be at the “promise land” yet where the virtual assistants become truly conversational, we have made great strides. As with any technology, empathy is key. AI and voice technology has the potential to make businesses more human, allowing banks to truly focus on their customers and become their true partners.

The time to start is now.