Pindrop: Voice technology to take over by 2023
27 March 2019 16:08 GMT

Nearly half (48%) of the general public think keyboards will barely be used by 2023 as voice technology takes over, according to a survey of consumers conducted by voice authentication experts Pindrop. The majority of the population (63%) are already using their voice to interact with devices and appliances and 53% plan to use voice even more in a year’s time. The data also shows why there is such appetite – on average, 56% think that voice technology will have a positive impact on their work and home life, a number that jumps to 68% when looking at people who are already using it.

Two fifths believe voice technology promises a future where using technology is less intrusive, with 41% believing it will make people stop staring at their phones. The same number also believe their lives would be made simpler by voice, as the technology’s capabilities increase over the next five years.

In this timescale, well over half of people plan to use voice-activated devices and appliances to help them with cooking (63%), managing their home (58%), ordering groceries (52%) and organizing a holiday (52%).

It isn’t just in their homelife that people are planning to make the most of voice technologies. 57% plan to use it to access their workplace, while 50% also plan to use it to operate equipment or a car while on the job. And the ease of use voice brings to everyday life is also reaching into our leisure time – 56% plan to use it to book tickets or restaurants within five years.

This rapid growth is being supported by businesses; research from Pindrop in 2018 found that businesses also have ambitious long-term goals for using voice. Over two-thirds (68%) are planning to use voice-activated assistants for the majority of customer interactions, while nearly one in four businesses plan to use them for all interactions.

But as technology uptake has increased, so too have security fears. In 2017, the main issue with voice technology was its usability; but in 2018, security and privacy concerns were the number one challenge. Indeed, when offered the chance to use their voice as a password, 44% would say yes, while 46% would say no. The number one reason given for using voice was not having to remember a password; clearly the public is split between the ease of use of voice, and the security challenges it presents.

However, this trend looks to be changing. In 2017 only 39% would say yes while 50% would say no. Because of these worries, certain voice technology application uses will see less uptake – online banking via voice will only be used by 43% of people in five years, while making a purchase higher than £30 will also see less than half of people use voice to complete it.

Vijay Balasubramaniyan, CEO and co-founder of Pindrop, said “The last few years have seen early adopters rush to bring smart devices and speakers into their homes, normalizing a technology that was once seen with skepticism. Today’s results prove this and also point towards a future where the way we engage with technology fundamentally shifts to a hands-free model. People can see the benefits it brings them, allowing them to simplify their lives and help battle the constant distractions handheld devices provide.

But, and quite sensibly, people are still skeptical about how secure such devices are. The media have published many stories of mishaps with smart speakers and our own research from June 2018 has found that 80 percent of businesses are worried about how to secure voice data. In order to ease these fears, and encourage wider usage of voice, those rolling out voice services need to ensure that the systems put in place to check user identities are up to scratch and can accurately spot both fraudulent and genuine activity.”

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