A closer look at the market, the major players, and what the area lacks.
The market for intelligent virtual assistants is projected to reach a near $16 billion by 2021. This entails a 43.64% compounded annual growth rate. This growth is driven by a variety of use cases, in industries ranging from banking, ecommerce to healthcare. Organizations are implanting intelligent assistants to not only handle simple tasks, but to collect data, and ultimately free up some of their work force for more creative tasks.
In addition to organizations, intelligent assistants within the home is a large growth driver. Amazon is expected to sell 10-12 million AI speakers this year alone. Google is not far behind with their home assistant, and apple is joining the game too (albeit at a much higher price point). It should be noted that Google and Amazon aren’t looking to make money off of their hardware devices per say—they’re really selling the constantly improving software. Improving a product and an AI means utilizing the data. Did you know that every single voice snippet that Google hears, it stores? (Here at Mycroft we have an opt-in for contributing your data.)
What’s the big deal?
Well, the more AI assistants that get shipped out, the more data the companies collect.
The implications of this are widespread, especially when it comes to legal situations. Remember that time an Arkansas man was murdered in his home, and Amazon wasn’t keen on releasing the recordings from within the home.
This has spurred legal experts and techies alike to consider where to draw the line with what information government has access too.
“Because technology is invading our homes and our lives in pervasive ways that we can’t dream of escaping, I think we need a societal conversation about what aspects of that technology are going to be available to law enforcement period,” said Barry Friedman, a Stanford Law professor.
Virtual assistants deployed in organizations are also capturing mass data. Think about this—if you’re deploying voice in your company and using one of the major vendors on the market, you’re sending them all of your data. Chances are, you’re competing with them on some front, but you’re still letting them process your precious data?
Queue the need for a neutral player in the voice assistant field. One that doesn’t rely on a third party for processing data. I.E. an open source alternative.
So what’s the point?
There are still some details to work out, but voice is the future. Youtube vlogger and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerhuk talks about voice assistants being the next search engine. Watch the clip below for his thoughts on why Amazon is in a position to wipe out google, and why entrepreneurs should work on building voice technology.
Alyx works as a business analyst for Mycroft, working with data to shape metrics and the broader marketing strategy. She also writes these blog posts.