Voice assistants and smart speakers such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Home have given relevance to voice as an up-and-coming meaningful medium. In fact, 14% of the US population already uses voice technology in some capacity. And 50% of all searches are expected to be voice-enabled by the year 2020, which speaks to its projected exponential growth.
The adoption of voice technology has largely been driven by utilitarian value, as it provides a level of convenience that is seemingly unattainable through other mediums. It gives a hands-free efficiency to the typical multitasking consumer.
It is safe to say that I am most certainly a part of the 14% of US consumers who rely on voice. But unlike social, radio, TV, etc., it hardly feels like an active choice that requires my conscious attention. Rather, it has become somewhat second nature. My Amazon Echo and iPhone’s Siri impacted my day in small—as well as big—ways, with minimal effort. Which is why I had to actively reflect on the last 24 hours to remember all the ways in which voice activations affected my day.
To kick it off, voice enabled my morning alarm. It triggered my favorite Pandora station while I got ready for work. It gave me the up-to-date weather forecast that informed my outfit choice. It dialed my brother hands-free while I walked to work. It reminded me to pick up the dry cleaning on my commute home. It orchestrated the DVR of my favorite TV show. It served as a timer to let me know when my cookies were fully baked. And it set my wake-up time for the following morning.
Voice gave me back the gift of time. Now that’s what I’d call a meaningful medium.