“Tea, Earl Grey, hot” is driving the fourth generation of human-computer interfaces, the voice command. The ease with which Captain Picard can interact with the Starship Enterprise is providing the benchmark for this new computing interface.
The macro trend that we follow at Revenue Engineers is that of “Instant Satisfaction”, we believe any company or product that can deliver exactly what a user wants faster than their peers will win. We are backing that Voice is now at that inflection point where it will become the fastest growing interface.
When you look at why people will use voice commands as an interface the main drivers will be speed, we can speak far faster than we can type, particularly on phones. Secondly if our hands or eyes are busy fending off Klingons but more likely making a sandwich, driving a car or watching TV then voice becomes a no-brainer.
From a technical perspective we are now at ubiquity levels where the necessary processing power, microphones, speakers and internet connections are low cost and wildly available, not just in smart phones or laptops but also TVs and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The critical bottleneck is the language recognition and processing required to not only be accurate but also to deliver the correct answer quickly. With Google and Baidu reportedly hitting accuracy rates in the 90% to 95% range. Closing the final gap between 95% to 99% accuracy is huge however as usage is growing, there is a lot more data to learn from.
Back in 2015 Siri handled more than 1 billion request per week, in may 2016 Google announced that 1 in 5 mobile search in the US is voice and growing rapidly, with Baidu predicting that 50% of queries on their Search Engine will be voice by 2020. This flywheel effect, where the systems gather more data and get more accurate then fuels more growth. We see reaching the 99% accuracy levels a very achievable milestone that once reached will make voice something we use all the time.
Outside of search engines one of the best use cases for voice is the Amazon Echo. This simple device makes purchasing something on Amazon up to 3 times faster and with over 1 million units shipped in Q1 2016 we can see there is clear consumer demand outside of the tech early adopter market.
What does this mean for the eGaming industry? We see voice fixing one of the biggest issues faced by the industry and that is discovery. Right now if you want to place a bet on a football game you have to take the following steps: Scroll the home screen windows to find the app, click the app, wait for the app to load, click football, click tournaments, scroll, click game, scroll, click bet you want to make, enter amount, confirm bet, close app.
This 11-step process to place a bet could be replaced with 2 voice commands such as:
Punter: What are the odds on Spain to win the Euros?
Computer: The odds are 11/2 would you like to place a bet?
Punter: Yes, put £10 on Spain to win
Computer: Bet has been placed and confirmation is in your inbox. I will also keep you up-to-date on Spanish match results during the tournament.
As we can see it is a small step from voice commands being something unusual or uncomfortable to truly being useful. We believe all operators should be aiming to become a voice enabled betting assistant and turning every customer into Captain Picard.