The power of the voice “layer”

At RAIN we often preach that voice is best when it integrates with and augments an existing system. This week we see a range of examples of voice integration into other products and experiences which elevate the user experience. In gaming, voice assistance is becoming a table-stakes feature for the leading console designers. In design, voice is empowering creatives to use software in an entirely new way. In the home, voice is enhancing the listening experience for high-end audio. Have you thought about how voice can take your products and services to the next level?

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Gaming assistants go mainstream 

Voice assistants have served as helpful gaming companions for some time (see: Destiny 2). Now Sony has filed a gaming assistant-related patent that Voicebot.AI expects is designed for the upcoming PlayStation 5 console (slated for late 2020 release), where a voice assistant could be deployed to offer hints and arrange microtransactions during gameplay. The patent filing suggests “an AI that will use player data and natural language processing to work out the best advice to give or items to purchase.” Google has plans to integrate Assistant more directly into its gaming offering, Stadia, and Microsoft also plans to bring voice assistance to Xbox, although it likely won’t be Cortana’s job. More on Voicebot.

Google and Sonos remain frenemies 

While Sonos is suing Google for infringing on its patents, the speaker company is playing nicely with Google hardware, allowing users the ability to set Sonos as the default speaker on the Nest Hub, Google Home, and other Assistant devices. While some Sonos devices have Assistant baked in as an option, hotword/voice recognition is generally considered sub-par compared to first-party Google devices. With this new default speaker capability, users can continue issuing commands to a Nest Hub (thus taking advantage of the screen) or Google Home, but hear their music output on a superior Sonos speaker. This interoperability allows each company’s hardware to shine and create a better user experience in concert. More on 9to5Google.

Voice is the modern creative’s new tool 

The creative process for visual design has become voice-enabled. In a move that puts accessibility at the forefront of its value proposition, Adobe has empowered designers to use Voice Control to access all of the core design features of its XD product on macOS. With the new feature, users can design and prototype websites, mobile apps, voice interfaces, games, all with their voice. Voice can control core XD functions including drawing tools, layers, properties in the Property Inspector, and the XD application menus. This exciting development signals the likelihood of more voice-first innovation in the professional creative space. More on Adobe Blog.

Stats Don’t Lie

25% – Number of employee interactions with applications will be by voice by 2023 (data via Gartner/TechRepublic)

7.9% – Number of smart speaker owners have used them to buy food and beverage products (data via StreetFight Magazine)

Chart of the Week

Cognilytica AI Adoption
(Cognilytica AI Adoption Survey)