Voice recognition software allows us to tell our devices what to do by just talking to them. Now having to use a keyboard, a mouse, or a screen dramatically changes the way we experience technology.
We saw the rise of voice recognition technology on our phones. Due to the many uses of voice recognition software making our lives easier, in just a few years, we brought it into our homes. Today, businesses in a wide array of sectors are tapping into it to make our lives better.
We can now use voice recognition-based software to make purchases, check the weather, send emails, search for information on the internet, and define new ways to interact with machines.
In this article, we’ll look at 15 innovative ways businesses and individuals are using voice recognition and speech to text to streamline the way we get things done.
Top Uses of Voice Recognition Software
1. Virtual assistants
They go by many names — some call them digital assistants, others call them smart assistants. Some go as far as to call them AI assistants. Don’t let all this diversity confuse you, though — they’re all referring to the same thing. Virtual assistants are one of the most common usage of the voice recognition software.
Virtual assistants come in many shapes, sizes, and platforms.The most widespread virtual assistants today are:
- Virtual assistants on our phones
Most of the tech giants have been very invested in the development of voice assistants in the last decade. This is how Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Apple’s Siri, have become household names. According to Microsoft’s 2019 Voice Report, 69% of their respondents have used a digital assistant. Most of them have interacted with them on their phones (72%).
Speech to text has quickly changed the way we use our mobile devices. The first modern voice assistant was released with Apple’s iPhone 4S back in late 2011.
According to an article published by Adobe, in less than ten years since the release of the first publicly available voice assistant, voice has become one of the top choices for smartphone-based search, which is indicative of the enormous impact they’re having on the way we use technology.
- Smart Speakers at home
Little over three years after Apple launched Siri, Amazon has presented Alexa and Echo, which at that point were only available to Prime members.. According to Microsoft’s 2019 Voice report we mentioned above, three-quarters of American households will have at least one smart speaker by the end of 2020.A more interesting aspect of this overwhelming adoption is that over 50% of smart speaker owners allow these devices to manage their homes.
2. Online banking using voice
Banks and FinTech startups have been one of the earliest adopters of voice and speech recognition technology. According to some reports, banks in North America alone have allocated over $20 billion in 2017 alone to incorporate voice recognition into their apps and services.
Fast forward to the present day, massive payment companies such as Venmo and PayPal and banks like N26 and Bank of Canada have already provided their customers with the possibility of processing transfers and payments by using voice assistants such as Siri.
Another notable example, Garanti Bank has launched its own voice-based software that allows its clients to make transfers and pay for services by merely saying “I need to transfer money to” and mentioning the name of the business or individual.
3. Doctors can stop typing while talking to patients
The healthcare industry has been looking for a viable voice transcription solution for decades. They’ve tried everything — from entire teams of transcriptionists to changing the way hospitals documented their findings during surgeries and appointments. Speech to text software has been a very relevant and promising topic in healthcare since the early eighties.
As of recently, medical transcription has become an indispensable part of any doctor’s appointment, which significantly facilitates storing, structuring, and accessing information in patients’ medical records.
There are a myriad of benefits to using digital transcription in medical environments.
- It reduces the time a physician spends on writing during the appointment. allowing doctors to shorten the average appointment, and, as a result, see more patients during their working hours.
- Secondly, this ensures that all the essential data is digitally stored and easily accessible to other relevant specialists that are concerned with a patient’s health. Automatically storing information in electronic health record systems ensures compliance on many levels and it is required by the law in many countries.
Clinics and hospitals are incredibly time-sensitive environments. Sometimes, a few minutes can make a significant difference in saving a person’s life. Converting speech to text will have a beneficial effect on a doctor’s workflow and skyrocket their efficiency.
4. Enhanced security with voice biometry
Another impressive development that stems from voice recognition technology is voice biometry. It allows organizations to create a digital profile of someone’s voice, by analyzing a series of specific characteristics such as tone, pitch, intensity, dynamics, dominant frequencies, and so forth.
While using voice to improve customer service is something nearly all companies are fond of, high-quality voice biometrics need to be put into place to ensure that no sensitive personal information is disclosed during these interactions.
The global market for voice biometrics is experiencing staggering growth. Some reports suggest that this field is projected to reach approximately $4 billion by 2026.
Many organizations have already successfully adopted voice recognition and using it during interaction with their clientele. Swisscom, one of Switzerland’s biggest telecommunications providers, has recently integrated real-time voice authentication technology in all their call centers.
Companies are confident that this type of identification is significantly more secure than methods currently available, as this prevents its customers from sharing personal information like their license or financial data over the phone.
5. Voice assistants in the workplace
Voice recognition technology is gradually entering the workplace, and it has already started helping human resources departments to efficiently manage large companies.
Professionals all over the world can now use virtual assistants and smart speakers to access their human capital management software, such as Dayforce, to submit requests for vacation time, request and cancel meetings, and so forth.
Companies like Salesforce want to build ways in which customers can interact with their CRM through voice commands instead of typing.
Many specialists consider that the future of human and work system interaction is defined by voice communication, rather than keyboards and computer screens, simply because conversational interfaces can present workers with more information in less time and in a more intelligible manner, especially for workers on the go.
6. Using speech recognition to transcribe meetings
Keeping notes during corporate meetings is essential. We’re prone to making mistakes, and our concentration easily diminishes throughout a meeting which means that the notes we take aren’t always precise and are often incomplete.
Considering that a few years ago, we reached impressive breakthroughs in deep learning and artificial intelligence, meeting transcription software like Fireflies is now able to accurately generate a word for word representation of exactly what was said. The system today can also differentiate between speakers and even recognize when a speaker is interrupted mid-sentence.
This type of speech recognition software has become very helpful with transcribing conversations with customers as well as internal meetings across dozens of web-conferencing platforms
7. Ecommerce purchases using voice commands
A recent study published by NPR and Edison Research indicates that over 55% of the individuals they surveyed had made purchases using smart speakers at least once, while over a quarter said they do it on a regular basis.
While the shopping experience using voice is not ideal at this particular moment, it allows retailers to significantly enhance their customers’ experience by making it seamless and quick. Voice-ordering and convenience have become a very successful combination for many retail businesses, which has generated approximately $2 billion in retail revenue, and will increase manifold over the next few years.
8. Catching criminals using voice
Voice-identification software is gradually becoming an indispensable tool in criminal investigations.
The Interpol has been experimenting with voice recognition for a few years now. It allows them to match recordings of potential wrongdoers taken from social media platforms like YouTube, and Facebook or phone calls and compare them to the voice clips of criminals the agency has stored in its database.
While this approach might have its shortcomings and raise flags about privacy, law enforcement is warming up to the possibility of using voice recognition software for this purpose.
9. Making public transportation simple and inclusive
Voice-assisted software could potentially revolutionize the public transportation industry around the world, impacting everything from regional transport to car-sharing giants like Uber and Lyft.
Today, people can receive a wealth of information on schedules, the best routes to their destinations, and other topics associated with the city’s and the carrier’s infrastructure by simply asking a voice assistant.
In the future, this technology is expected to be installed in public spaces like bus or train stops, helping people navigate within cities and regions. Furthermore, this will be especially beneficial to people with visual impairments who require additional assistance with directions.
10. Creating superior content with dictation
Dictation software can work miracles on your content creation process and your content marketing strategy. Writers all over the world have started slowly incorporating voice recognition technology into their workflow to improve their writing quality and productivity.
Taking into account how accurate software has become today, writers can spend time simply dictating text and investing less time into proofreading and editing.
More importantly, using voice transcription software helps writers achieve a more conversational tone and jot down ideas quickly.
Nonfiction writer, Bryan Collins has reported that after incorporating speech to text translator into his workflow, he can produce 3000-4000 words per 30 minutes, something professional writers can only dream of.
11. Transcribing podcasts
As a podcast listener, you often want to have the valuable information presented to you in an episode in written form, so that you can follow along or search back to important points.
Podcast transcription software can help creators improve their SEO performance. Publishing transcripts along with the podcast audio will improve a podcast ranking, due to the wealth of keywords you make available on your site. Plus, you’re providing for a more inclusive environment for non-native speakers and people with hearing impairment.
12. Journalists have their interviews transcribed
Journalists all over the world can use speech to text software to transcribe interviews and get accurate quotes. This allows them to store recordings in a text format, helping them write more accurate stories.
Having interviews transcribed also allows journalists to organize their conversations, highlight important soundbites, and recreate important moments that they missed. Stories that took days to write now take less than a few hours. Human transcription used to make this process extremely expensive. With voice AI and automated speech to text software, the lower costs makes tools like Fireflies more easily adopted by thousands of journalists.
13. Booking your next vacation
The hospitality industry is one of the fastest developing in the current decade. People’s interest in traveling is seeing continuous growth, and naturally, all the businesses in this sector are happy to embrace the digital disruption and integrate modern technological solutions at every touchpoint.
London’s Heathrow Airport has recently launched an Alexa skill — this software will allow passengers to communicate with the virtual assistant and inquire for live flight updates, gate status, and detailed information on arrivals and departures at the airport.
Kayak, one of the biggest flight aggregators on the market, has created a similar software that allows customers to check flight and rental prices. At this point, passengers can’t book actual flights using this software, but it’s safe to assume that it’s a matter of a year or two.
14. Learning languages
Learning a language is an incredibly complex process from a wide array of viewpoints. A person needs to understand word order, pronunciation, lexicology, grammar, along with a host of other linguistic domains. Apps that use voice recognition software have already become a staple of self-paced language learning.
Most of these apps can help users learn to properly pronounce words in foreign languages. Typically they compare a person's speech to a series of native speaker models and establishes whether the two are similar enough, and informing the user whether there are particular aspects of their syntax or pronunciation that need to be revised.
15. Effortlessly translating and subtitling content
Automatic translation is gradually becoming of the most intriguing developments of the voice recognition revolution, due to its ability to bring down language barriers.
Today, voice recognition-powered translations can provide us with immediately translatable video and audio content, and high-quality subtitling.
More importantly, high-quality automatic translation is an essential component of effective global partnerships, because it makes communication between languages much more affordable and accessible. Not everyone can hire a translator, especially in the impoverished regions of the world, while a piece of software may allow us to communicate our ideas and opinions whether or not we speak a lingua franca.
Where is voice recognition headed?
Here are a few things we might see in the future of voice recognition software:
- According to the MIT Technology Review, Apple is planning to launch its own television. Rumors have it that it will be controlled via Siri.
- The next decade will bring more wearable devices. We’ve already seen SIRI getting equipped with Airpods. We’ll expect to see similar developments with other wearables across watches and maybe even jewelry
- Voice-enabled software won’t just do an excellent job at understanding us, but it’s expected that they’ll be able to understand the context of our requests
Voice recognition technology creates a new relationship between humans and digital devices. We’re making computers more human and having them interact with us the way we interact with other humans.
What’s exciting is that the past decade has been proof of this shift both at home and in the workplace. With the rise of new devices like the smartphone and smart speakers the technological disruption has been amplified. We’re sure to see more disruption in the next decade as voice recognition becomes as commonplace as a keyboard and mouse.