Voice technology growing louder in B2B, as Amazon and IBM drive corporate adoption

posted on Wednesday, 11th July 2018 by Steve May

Corporate AV  Voice Control 

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With sales of smart speakers topping 37 million by the end of 2017, voice-assistant technology has become the predominant trend in consumer electronics.

Now this technology is starting to make waves into the B2B world. Futuresource Consulting predicts that by 2022, 82 million professional AV displays and room control devices will be voice-enabled - and this excludes the infiltration of consumer smart speakers in healthcare, hospitality and education.

“Much activity has been occurring within the consumer space around voice assistants and smart homes and this is translating into greater interest in the B2B space,” explains Chris McIntyre-Brown, Associate Director at Futuresource Consulting. “End-users and service providers are asking OEMs if they can also take advantage of VA and voice control. Increased productivity and efficiency along with improved customer service are two of the primary drivers.”

A new report from Futuresource Consulting about B2B applications for voice assistants (‘Voice Assistants and the Potential Use in Business and Institutional Applications Report’) suggests brands now see the technology as strategically important, allowing them to offer personalised services and acquire valuable user analytics.

Voicer Assistants

Market leader Amazon has partnered with leading companies like Crestron, Polycom and Cisco for office control, automation and communication applications, and continues to build its Alexa-for-Business suite of capabilities, adding features such as smart scheduling with Office 365, Exchange and G-Suite calendars.

IBM has announced that its AI platform ‘Watson’ will power a white label VA solution for third parties.

According to McIntyre-Brown: “Most companies are in the evaluation phase of how best to implement voice and what level of capability and intelligence will be most suitable for their customers' use cases. In terms of adoption, B2B will lag behind consumer adoption, not least because of data privacy and security concerns. Voice is not quite there yet, but it is not far off, and the number of pilots and meaningful integrations and partnerships is increasing.”

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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