The technological advancements of the 21st century have been astounding, and it has only been twenty years since the start. We have gone from massive and not very aesthetically pleasing computers that had the Internet and the ability to search the web for anything, which, at the time of its release, seemed outstanding.
In 2021, we now have self-driving cars, small and compact cell phones that feature calling, texting, and the web, essentially acting as a portable computer, and we can even control our garage door from the comfort of our bedroom, all thanks to technology and recent technological advancements. In more recent years, we have gained the ability to talk into our phone using voice commands, simply by just saying “Hey Siri,” and then being able to give a command, which the device then understands and follows. This creates the opportunity to call someone while we are driving without ever taking our hands off the wheel or our eyes off the road.
In even more recent years, it is no longer a rarity to visit someone’s home and find a Voice User Interface, or VUI, enabled device sitting in their kitchen. The more commonly used ones include Google Home and Amazon Alexa. These devices have the power to control our homes, by following voice commands and completing automated tasks like turning off lights or turning the TV on and off. With the growing popularity of the use of these devices and VUI as a whole, the future holds a lot for VUI and what it can do to make our lives easier.
Here’s an overview of what can be found in this article:
Voice UI, or Voice User Interface, is essentially a way we interact with technology daily. Using our own voices, VUI enabled devices can listen to and understand what we are saying. These devices know how to respond and follow their given commands. You probably use VUI everyday, either through your smartphone or your home assistant devices. What gives these devices the ability to hear us, understand us, and respond to us is VUI. It is completely hands-free, which offers a convenience when preoccupied with other things or just to make it a bit easier to complete tasks.
Here are some things that you can do with VUI enabled devices:
Some familiar devices that are VUI enabled include Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri. These devices can be in the form of smart speakers, smart phones, wrist watches, and home systems. There is nothing rare or exclusive about these devices, either, as nearly everyone you know probably owns and uses a VUI enabled device without even realizing it.
VUI and VUI enabled devices have developed rapidly and become popular seemingly overnight. It is important to know what exactly is behind the simple command of “Hey Google” and how the little device on your counter immediately lights up, which can all be attributed to VUI.
While VUI systems are far from perfect, they have changed the world for those who require accessibility or are dependent on other people to perform daily tasks. For example, a blind person can much more easily control the lights in their home, and a disabled person has a much easier time in their homes because they no longer need to move far to control things. But there are also some privacy concerns and perceptions that these devices promote laziness.
Some good outcomes of VUI include:
Owning and using a VUI enabled device is certainly a convenience, and the positives are encouraging for VUI marketers. But with all things good, there is the bad. While the public reception of VUI and devices that support VUI has been largely positive, as demonstrated by the growing number of households who own and use the devices, there are still the downsides to VUI.
Some more negative outcomes of VUI include:
The reality of VUI is that it is slowly taking the way we interact with others and in businesses by storm, decreasing the need for Graphic User Interface, or GUI, and thus decreasing the need for touching screens, spreading germs, and no longer needing the ability to multitask. There’s a lot to be said for VUI and how it has changed the way we interact with not only each other, but technology itself. Having the voice interaction with these devices adds an element of human-like interaction, which can be nice in what sometimes feels like a tech-dominated world.
Valid privacy concerns and confusion over whether or not these devices are listening in on private conversations or storing personal information come with the positives and benefits of growing VUI popularity. There is also a lot of misinformation and lack of information for users on what exactly the device can do, its limitations, and its full capabilities.
We have come quite a long way with our technological developments and advancements, and twenty years ago the concept of being able to use just your voice to control the power in your home would probably be met with a lot of laughs and doubt. But alas, that is very much a thing and is easily accessible to the general public.
The VUI industry and the demand for VUI enabled devices is growing at a furious pace, with more and more consumers buying and regularly using these devices with each passing year. With different options for these devices and the built-in, easily accessible VUI features of smartphones and smartwatches, it is not unexpected and is quite likely that the demand and use of VUI will continue to increase at the same rate it has been for the past few years.
That being said, what exactly does the future hold for VUI?
Some more recent advancements include tailoring the devices for specific industries, such as Amazon’s AlexaBusiness, which is curated specifically for businesses and their employees. AlexaBusiness can control employee schedules, keep track of daily tasks and provide reminders, dial into meetings and business phone calls, and it can even automatically notify IT people when there is a technology issue or something as simple as a broken printer.
The future also holds improvements and further developments to directly address the present concerns and issues over VUI, such as expanding the language barriers and what VUI can understand. Certain dialects and phrasing can be outside of the device’s knowledge, so language expansion will result in an easier user experience with less errors.
Additionally, there is the improvement of security concerns and tightening security measures to prevent user data from being stored and used. There is also further education needed on how these devices work, including what they listen to and how they store user data and personal information.
The future undoubtedly holds a lot in the technology department, and our growing dependence on technology opens a whole world of possibilities. VUI devices are rapidly growing in popularity, and despite user concerns, the response has been vastly positive. The future holds a lot of developments and improvements, so there is a lot to look forward to as we progress towards technological convenience and reliability.