February 26, 2022

Voice Technology Revolution in India

In a post-pandemic era, where humans fear to touch, technology is all here to change the game. With so many enhancements & inventions involved, it is now taking voice commands making things more convenient. Not only would it save time but the effort as well significantly. Well, we all know that this technology is already here for some time though it still poses an excellent development scope. From Alexa to Siri to ‘Ok, Google’ has taken a quantum leap in terms of advancement to significantly affect human lives-both personally and from a business point of view.

This article will throw some light on the relationship between voice technologies and the Indians.

What is Voice Technology?

To simply put, with the help of this technology, users can communicate with the internet through voice. The advanced voice recognition technology with NLP helps take voices as input and recognize them; in return, the background AI-driven algorithm helps pre-scripted responses as output.

Today, different sectors are using voice technology promptly. From in-car voice assistants to browsing through voice commands in Google or YouTube, from dimming the light with the help of Alexa to using it in healthcare, it spanned out in every sector of human life.

Benefits of Voice Technology:

According to research, the following can be said as the significant benefits of this technology:

  • It makes life easier – as it’s better than typing; less time consuming and takes less effort
  • Easily accessible
  • Users can use it in day-to-day life to make repetitive chores easier
  • A new genre for brands

Voice Technology and India:

  • Why is India Special? When it comes to India, it’s the second quickest nation to adopt voice technology after the USA, as per Google research, but it comes with a different challenge. It is a country with 22 other official languages than English, which also has 121 languages altogether and 270 mother tongues. With the rise of voice technologies, a large chunk of Indian users prefers to command technology in their native languages apart from English. Globally, more than 500 million people use Google Assistant every month, with Hindi being the second most widely spoken language after English. In India, mobile phones are the prime medium to use voice technology. More than 60% of users choose voice technology on the phone for interaction, and the localization of voice technology makes India unique in this sector.
  • Fighting the Challenges of Voice Technology in India:¬†
    • Unavailability of Internet Service: There’s still a significant amount of the population in India who doesn’t have internet access. For those, voice technology is necessary to interact, share information, and education. Google assistance can be helpful here as it can operate even without an internet connection by calling a phone number.
    • Illiteracy Problem: ¬†India still has a reasonably low literacy rate, more precisely 74.4%. This implies that around 358 million people are still illiterate among the 1.4billion population. Needless to say, those who are using smartphones intend to use their mother tongue or popular local language for voice assistance. So, localization of voice technology is an essential step in India to fight the illiteracy problem. Alexa can operate in English and Hindi, where Google Assistance can understand nine Indian languages.
    • Complex Dictation: Complex dictation is another area of challenge. A survey showed that initially, people give simple dictation, which in turn go into a more complex one. Now, the AI-driven technology behind the voice-assistance response is getting more advanced to understand those complex commands in local languages.
  • Acceptance of Voice Technology in India: Voice technology is rapidly prevalent in Indian society. From entertainment to querying about daily horoscopes, from asking about the following train schedule to building a resume for a job, the dominance of voice assistance is prominent everywhere.

    For example, Gaana, India’s largest music streaming app, wanted to expand to rural Indian users. The brand added voice search capabilities to its app to break the literacy barrier among new Internet users, and within a year, 24% of its users used voice to play their favorite songs. Another example could be Dhiyo, an AI-powered voice platform for job seekers, allowing workers to create CVs by simply speaking into their smartphones. Reverie Technologies has developed an Indian voice suite called Gopal to help businesses connect with non-English customers in 12 Indian languages.

Final Thought

Before venturing out voice assistance on top of their existing technology in India, global brands must conduct thorough research to understand users’ needs. The linguistic and cultural diversity landscape in India should be one of the prime considerations. For India, it should be mobile-first thinking and designing as that’s the primarily used object for using any voice assistance in India. The work would continue even after launching, that is, to educate the users about the add-on. As technology advances, education helps to drive adoption.

With these essential points in mind, India will shortly have a massive prospect in Voice Technology.

About the author 

Elle Gellrich


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