The Voice of Things (VoT) uses voice assistant technology to inform, engage, and delight consumers as they interact with a brand. The roots of VoT were planted a decade ago, when Apple introduced a virtual assistant called Siri that used voice queries and a natural language interface. More recently, Internet-enabled smart speakers controlled by spoken commands began allowing consumers to stream music, check the weather and set a timer, all at the sound of a voice. Today, a smart speaker in a card that doesn’t require external hardware or an Internet connection is transforming brand marketing with VoT.

Brands need the power of voice, even if the Voice of Things (VoT) is just one part of your marketing strategy. In fact, the best approach isn’t Voice-First or Voice-Only. Rather, it’s VoiceAlso. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa keep growing in popularity, but that doesn’t mean that print, apps, and broadcasts are dead. By understanding what’s happening with voice assistant technology and the growth of VoT, you can develop a voice-also strategy that leverages on demand voice along with trends in personalization and touchless technology.

Smartphones and Smart Speakers

Smart speakers like Amazon Echo™ are voice-first or voice-only devices that require a voice interface. In the last five years, they’ve become what voicebot.ai™ calls “the biggest consumer electronics product success story”*. At the beginning of 2020, nearly 35% of U.S. adults had a smart speaker at home. Moreover, these consumers used their smart speakers frequently, and in parts of the home (such as bedrooms and bathrooms) where usage becomes a part of daily routines. Whether it’s to find information or to play music, “Hey Google” or “Alexa” are heard along with “good morning” and “good night”.

As popular as smart speakers have become, it’s a multi-modal and non-device specific voice interface that’s driving even greater voice assistant adoption. “Smartphones are THE ubiquitous personal devices,”** voicebot.ai explains.  Today, smartphone voice assistants can be general-purpose or mobile-app specific. There are also smartphone peripherals and smartphone OS-specific devices. But what all of these voice assistant technologies have in common is that they need hardware and software. In other words, without a smartphone handy and the voice assistant installed, consumers can’t leverage on-demand voice and the Voice of Things (VoT).

Amazon Basics Microwave

Amazon Basics Microwave

Introducing The Voice of Things (VoT) with Voice Express™ Connect™

As products with a voice interface become ubiquitous, more manufacturers will integrate voice into appliances such as refrigerators as well as microwave ovens. In turn, users want access to on-demand voice whether or not a device connects to the internet. Voice Express Connect, a marketing brochure with a built-in voice assistant, makes this possible. Our voice-also solution doesn’t require external hardware or software or even an Internet or Bluetooth connection. With Connect™ Direct Mail and after-sale engagement packaging, printed materials will play media when opened and also “listen” for spoken prompts. The voice interface provides each user with a unique experience tailored to personal interests and requirements.

Unlike the audio promotional brochures of the past, Voice Express Connect isn’t limited by navigational buttons. And it doesn’t require touch, an advantage in the age of COVID since viruses can be transmitted via surfaces. Importantly, brands can use Connect™ to increase discovery and  leverage their existing smart speaker initiatives. Along with every  Connect™ campaign, Voice Express offers a companion Alexa Skill and Google Action. The interactions available on the Connect™ smart speaker in Print may be finite, but the interactions available through a companion smart skill or app are infinite. Moreover, they can be refreshed regularly. If you’re ready for the Voice of Things (VoT), we’d like to talk to you.

VoT Voice of Things 2

Samsung SmartThings Refrigerator

VoT and the Future of Voice Assistant Technology

For over 20 years, Voice Express has been designing and developing Voice of Things (VoT) technology. In particular, with solutions such as self-playing print marketing collateral. If you’d like to learn more about voice-enabled technologies, we invite you to read these recent articles.

Thank you for engaging Voice Express. Where we enable brands and consumers to communicate in a direct and unmediated fashion through self-playing media. If you’re looking for a way to provide a high-impact experience, we’re here to help. Contact Voice Express to get started.

Additional Market Research

*Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report: Executive Summary (April 2020), voicebot.ai

**Smart Phone Voice Assistant Consumer Adoption Report: Executive Summary (November 2020), voicebot.ai