Putting a Face to a Voice

One of the core characteristics of voice is its appeal to our natural desire to engage in conversation. Now brands are turning to digital human assistants to build an even more human-like assistant that exemplifies the brand’s voice and image. In December, VR company Fable Studios created Beck and Charlie, two ‘virtual beings’ that users can talk to in a video call. In addition, Epic Games recently revealed a new tool enabling the creation of hyper-realistic digital humans. This week, Nestlé Toll House launched a virtual ‘cookie coach’ assistant to guide customers through baking. Voice tech coupled with advanced human avatar animation and design is opening the door for a new breed of custom virtual assistants we expect to see more of in the coming years. 

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Ruth the Cookie Coach

Nestlé Toll House created Ruth, a web-based virtual human assistant who provides tips and advice on baking the perfect cookie. Ruth responds to both voice and text queries to walk users through baking the original Toll House cookie. Additionally the assistant offers customization ideas and answers questions about the baking process. Partnering with Soul Machines, Nestlé created the assistant to help customers who had recipe troubleshooting questions that not all customer service employees could answer. As more brands look to build virtual human assistants, Ruth is an example of how the voice can fill a customer experience gap. More on Food&Wine

Elevating E-Commerce

Indian voice tech company Haptik released its new multilingual voice assistant for e-commerce shopping. Named Buzzo, the assistant can be integrated with mobile apps and websites, allowing customers to use voice commands to search products based on several attributes. Buzzo can also add multiple items to a cart as well as upsell and cross-sell products based on the customer’s search. Already integrated in e-grocery store JioMart, over a million customers are using the assistant with a 50% increase in conversion rate from browsing to purchase, highlighting the value of voice for mobile shopping in the grocery sector. More on YourStory

Adding to the Dental Tools

Bola AI, a voice solution provider for dentists, partnered with software distributor Henry Schein One to make its voice assistant widely available. The Voice Perio solution aids dentists in recording periodontal tests that measure the health of your gums. Typically a hygienist helps the dentist input the data, but with the technology, dentists can work independently and hygienists can attend to other tasks. Voice Perio will integrate into dental IT platform Dentrix and will be available to 40,000 offices who can choose to sign up. Solutions targeted to healthcare are gaining traction as professionals look to enhance efficiency. More on Voicebot.ai 

Emerging Tech Stories

  • Hey Facebook. Facebook launched the new optional wake word for its Portal smart displays and Oculus Quest VR system.
  • Smart Vision. Qualcomm announced the Smart Viewer, an AR-enabled glasses-type device that projects your PC’s screen to a wall or allows interaction with virtual objects.
  • GIF Swap. People are spending millions of dollars on digital collectibles called non-fungible tokens, which include JPEGs, GIFs, tweets, and more.

Stats Don’t Lie

83% of respondents from companies who employ voice assistants noted support of better customer experience and customer satisfaction. (data via Opus Research & SoundHound)

$50 million The value of the Series B investment of voice transcription of Otter.ai. (data via TechCrunch)

Chart of the Week

(Opus Research)