The use of digital assistants at home has been steadily on the rise. Consumers use digital assistants to play music, ask questions, control smart home devices, manage schedules, and more.
It has become an immersive experience. Many people have digital assistants conveniently located in multiple rooms of their homes. With this increasing comfort, it would make sense that people would adopt similar technology within their vehicles.
Drivers rely on a hands-free experience to avoid driving distractions. It also allows them to be productive during long commutes. However, vehicles present some unique challenges when it comes to a digital car assistant.
Automakers have a wide-open field when it comes to implementing voice recognition technology in cars. Those that understand how to overcome these challenges will see the highest adoption rates.
Current Trends in the Adoption of Car Voice Assistants
As smartphones became mainstream, there have been increasing concerns around safety while driving. Some regions have even put hands-free requirements into law.
Automakers have responded by including voice technology in new vehicles. The overall usage has been slow moving, mostly due to the length of vehicle ownership. But once consumers have a car with voice technology, they will more than likely purchase one with the same sort of technology (or better) in the future.
Most consumers that take advantage of a digital assistant in cars are performing basic functions. Overwhelmingly, the use is to make or answer a call hands-free. This is followed by asking for directions, sending a text, and playing music.
Future Uses for Car Voice Assistants
Automakers should focus on making digital voice assistants in cars an immersive experience. The best features should mimic many of the functions consumers are used to doing at home with their digital assistants. This might include checking a calendar, shopping for products, and adding to-do items to lists.
Virtual meetings have been on the rise. The ability to join and participate in a meeting while in the car may become more important for consumers. Scheduling appointments while using voice technology may also become more prevalent.
Artificial intelligence-driven technology will provide an even more personalized experience for consumers. They could receive restaurant recommendations based on location. Payment information can be stored for a more seamless shopping experience.
Customer Satisfaction Challenges to Overcome
While many consumers have access to voice recognition technology in their cars, there are some hurdles to its usage. Many consumers find the technology to be confusing or cumbersome. Therefore, they limit their use to a few key commands.
The “interaction cost” for consumers must be low. This means that the device must be intelligent enough to handle commands. It must also be responsive enough that consumers can speak naturally to their devices.
Companies similarly face marketing challenges. As consumers move away from radio and more to their own streaming devices, marketing departments must find new ways to reach their intended audience. Data from digital assistants can be leveraged to provide a targeted marketing approach.
At the same time, while personalization benefits the consumer, they also have high expectations of privacy. The information has to be used in such a way that feels natural and not invasive. Measures should be taken to protect consumer information, whether it is identified by voice or habits.
Overall, the consumer has to feel rewarded for using a voice assistant. Since it usually takes some effort to do so, the consumer will want the experience to be a positive one or one that has a tangible benefit. The focus needs to be on smooth usage and not something that is an additional distraction to the driver.
How Technology Influences Purchasing Decisions
Clear voice interaction technology is critical to the use of digital voice assistants in vehicles. If the digital assistant does not respond accurately to voice commands, the consumer will become frustrated. Instead of trying to expand the overall usage of the digital assistant, users may instead focus on a few key features.
Audio recognition needs to be able to clearly understand the user’s voice. It needs to distinguish between multiple voices in the car and ignore any background noise. The audio should also be able to interpret various regional accents or dialects.
Not only does the digital voice technology need to be able to recognize the words spoken, but it also needs to be able to perform the right commands. Currently, only 28% of consumers say that their vehicle voice technology is “great.” If the user needs to repeat phrases or has inaccurate results, it will make for a frustrating experience.
Car buying trends reflect this desire for voice technology. 74% of younger consumers are looking at voice technology as an important factor in their next vehicle purchase. The market demand is there, and the experience needs to meet such a demand.
And amid global health concerns, consumers will likely be spending more time in the car than they would on public transportation. This could drive them to replace their cars in the near future or with increased frequency. With cars considered the safer option for travel, the demand will only increase in the coming years.
Smart automakers will recognize this demand. They will ensure that their vehicles are equipped with the most cutting edge voice recognition technology and the digital assistants to match.
Voice Recognition Technology in Cars
As automakers address the consumer challenges, the emphasis will be on both the technology and the experience. Capturing the user’s voice clearly and isolating multiple voices in the vehicle will be imperative technology improvements for any automaker looking to implement a car voice assistant.