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Voice Control: Why Apple, Google and Microsoft need to fight back

08 May 2014

Digital platform providers Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are competing fiercely to find the next big method to grab more minutes of consumers' attention.

Voice control and monitoring may just be the golden ticket, claims Forrester Analyst James L. McQuivey in new research released last month.

"Far more than just replacing keyed-in commands, a system of voice control and monitoring — what Forrester calls 'vox' — will provide entirely new avenues through which to deliver value to consumers," he says.

"How so? By turning voice control into a device-bridging interface, we will go far beyond the current single-device inputs to create a persistent personal assistant available wherever the consumer is."

According to McQuivey, Amazon has the first, best shot to build — and make money from — Vox.

The commerce giant has already enabled voice-based purchasing for select customers with Dash and, combined with its deep data chops and device-agnostic mentality, sits in the best position to build the strongest digital customer relationship ever.

Motivation...

According to McQuivey, because Amazon makes money each time you purchase something using it, the company will have stronger motivation to get you hooked.

"Apple can’t charge you for Siri, and Google won’t make you pay to use Google Now," he adds.

"Plus, those other services, other than being useful for dictating text messages, can never offer you the convenience of purchasing products wherever they come to mind, in front of the TV, in your closet while getting dressed, or in the laundry room when you realize you’re running out of bleach."

McQuivey believes that Amazon will ultimately build using this tool is the world’s deepest customer relationship, one which you would never replace because of its wide-ranging utility.

"Why switch to Cortana when Amazon’s voice service — I call it Amazon "vox" for now in my new report, until Amazon gives it an official name — can do so much more for you" he questions.

"This realisation is what will kick off a whole new effort from Google, Apple, and Microsoft to fight back."

In the long run, McQuivey believes these microphones will do much more than accept dictation or product requests.

"They’ll be set to continuous listening mode, and by listening to our daily patterns, they will generate deep insight into who we are and how we like to live our lives," he adds.

Coming full circle, McQuivey claims Amazon may even recommend a book on how to talk to your teenager after it notices that you’re losing your cool more often than before.

Better yet, Amazon will build application programming interfaces (APIs) that will allow Deepak Chopra to build a personal coaching service that listens to you, identifies behaviors you need to change, and institutes a six-week training session, monitored continuously by vox.

"A service that knows you, anticipates your needs, and can sell you whatever you need to meet those needs — that’s why embedding microphones into your life will enable the next big thing," he adds.

"Whoever owns this service owns the customer, probably for life. No wonder Amazon wants to get a jumpstart on its peers."

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