Kate Burleigh, Country Manager, Amazon Alexa in Australia and New Zealand, told the audience at this year’s CeBit why voice matters, why those statistics will increase and how voice technology can benefit us all.
According to a study conducted by iProspect in 2018, the penetration of voice technology is growing rapidly with about 57% of Australians using voice assistants.
Voice technology can bring to life what the sci-fi writers had imagined” says Kate Burleigh, Country Manager, Amazon Alexa in Australia and New Zealand
Going back down the timeline, we’ve experienced several major shifts when it comes to technology. From character mode in the 70s, GUI (graphical user interfaces), the web, mobile, to now VUI (voice user interface). But like certain technologies of the past which have come and go, we have to ask, ‘Is voice technology just a fad?’
Kate doesn’t think so. She argues that the most natural thing that we do on a daily basis is talk, which is why it feels so normal to speak to Amazon Alexa. It doesn’t feel out of place, it is in fact naturalised into our routines almost seamlessly. Today, hundreds of brands engage with Alexa, creating voice skills to make the experience even more rewarding and efficient.
Voice is here to stay. It’s not a fad … It’s one of the most natural ways to engage,” says Kate Burleigh, Country Manager, Amazon Alexa in Australia and New Zealand
But what has been a recurrent issue with these kind of products is of course the question of privacy and security – something that has been troubling Facebook recently. Amazon understand Kate says, that “trust is won in drops and lost in buckets”, so the last thing they want to do is compromise that trust.
What’s the interest in listening in on your conversations? Kate asks rhetorically. Alexa only collects data when she hears the “wake word”, whether that be “Alexa”, “Computer” or any customised one that you decide to make. A blue ring on the top will let you know that she is now listening. If you wish, you can delete everything Alexa has ever heard, right from the app.
In her fireside talk to female tech advocate Nicola Hazell at Cebit 2019, Kate also briefly mentioned that there are newly updated multi-language functions for Amazon Alexa including the recently launched Hindi and English in India (Hinglish).