August: Tech Scouting Highlights

The latest insights from Micki Cabral and the SU Exponential Technology and Startup Radar team

Voice Control: The New Frontier?

From the early days of the computer, to Apple MacBooks, to mobile devices, and now voice assistants, humans have been interacting with machines through text for decades. Yet, it’s estimated that 90% of human interaction still occurs through voice. 

When thinking about why this could be true, it becomes relatively unsurprising. Humans are innately social animals, built to converse with others. So, with technological advances and our increased interaction with machines, we’ve naturally explored ways in which we can interact with these machines with our voices. 

This concept isn’t anything new. In fact, IBM introduced a voice recognition software called Shoebox back in 1962, but the technology just wasn’t there yet. Now, advances in AI, natural language processing (NLP), and voice control are finally creating the solutions we’ve been looking for.

“Gartner estimates by 2018, 30% of our interactions with technology will be through conversations with smart machines.”


As the space continues to grow and we see the technology advance even further, we will ultimately realize a massive shift in the way we interact with machines.

In fact, Gartner estimates by 2018, 30% of our interactions with technology will be through conversations with smart machines.

5 facts about voice control you may not know


What this means for the enterprise

The voice control space is exploding, and while there is ample support from industry leaders, it’s the next frontier. The space is still growing, and exactly where it’s headed and who will be on top is still to be determined. However, research supports the sentiment that voice control is here to stay and we’ll only see it impact more and more aspects of our lives as it improves. 

Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, predicts advances in technology, including voice control, will lead to the idea of a “device” - think computers, mobile phones, etc. - will go away. These intelligent, voice-controlled systems will become so advanced they’ll exist wherever we are, helping us throughout our day. 

As a result, enterprises thinking seriously about voice control technology now and how to leverage it to enhance current product offerings or improve internal processes and operations will give themselves an immense advantage.

Thinking through these concepts, however, is a difficult thing to do. And with the voice control space already getting saturated, we believe in the power of partnering with existing players and solutions. Samsung, for instance, acquired Viv (a next-generation assistant developed by the creators of Apple’s Siri) in October 2016, despite the fact that the company had only given its first live demo just a few months prior. Extending an olive branch to external partners, versus attempting to recreate the wheel, can potentially leapfrog development and save a considerable amount of time and capital. 

“The next big step will be for the very concept of the “device” to fade away. Over time, the computer itself - whatever the form factor - will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day. We will move from mobile first to an AI first world.”

- Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google

Corporate innovation and tech scouting at Singularity can help enterprises in this process to not only identify the best and most innovative startups and companies in any space or industry of interest but also provide our expertise and insight about what to do next. 

Sources: Chatbots Magazine, The Conversation, TechCrunch, and Bloomberg