March, 2021

As voice recognition technology has become more popular over the years, it is most convincing that “voice” is the best technology to interface. This is because voice outshines any other input method. Typing is the primary methodology that is used to interface with computers and machines today, yet most English speakers type 40 words per minute. Ordinarily, human beings can speak three times that rate, read six times that rate and listen ten times at that rate.
We are moving towards a world in which we can not only interact with machines, but also listen to their responses, while state-of-the-art speech recognition systems perform incredibly in close talking conditions. Performance degrades when the microphone is distant from the speaker. Understanding a common scenario, whereby a person indoors is supposed to speak to an Amazon echo. The audio captured by the echo will be influenced by

  1. The speaker’s voice against the wall of the room.
  2. The noise in the background from outside.
  3. The acoustic echo coming from the loudspeaker of the device
  4. The output audio against the wall of the room.

As the user moves away from the microphone, the speech level and quality diminishes, while the background noise remains the same. Beyond noise and reverberation, other crucial challenges include a lack of large scale far field data and unexplored deep learning architectures. The fact of the matter remains that there is still an overarching gap between Automatic Speech Recognition and Human Performance in these far-field scenarios.
With the increasing numbers of voice control devices, our needs towards technology are also soaring. Working almost like an invisible assistant. Devices like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and Apple Siri are extremely popular in households across the world now. 35% of the US households own at least one of these devices, and this number I said to reach 75% by the end of 2025.
This is fuelling voice-enabled commerce, which is expected to be more than 80 billion per year by 2023. Thus, it is no surprise that the six largest companies in the world: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alibaba are all investing billions in improving their voice-enabled AI assistance. This is also because the user experience with voice is much more streamlined than other platforms. As mart voice assistance will answer your questions accurately without pouring in a laundry list of options that could or could not be related to the answer you are searching for.
As smart assistants become amazingly capable of doing everything from paying your bills to opening garage doors, it is clear how powerful these voice interface technologies are. It is the responsibility of the tech giants creating such voice interface machines and assistants, to be thoughtful in their approach as they define the user experience for this next frontier of computing.
The first company to take a user-centric approach and build a trustworthy and transparent voice assistant will surely own the future of voice and the commerce that comes along with it.

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