Voice Predictions for 2021

Looking into the crystal ball for 2021 for all things voice

John Campbell

Managing Director & Co founder

2020… 2020… what a year it has been. Exactly one year ago the team at Rabbit & Pork sat down to make some predictions for the year of 2020. Today we sit in a very different world, some elements of the voice industry have been positively impacted by Covid, increase usage of smart speakers at home, increase usage of voice tech outside of the home and companies moving towards more automation with conversational platforms to adjust to new ways of customer interaction. But what will 2021 hold?

As per last year we’ll be using a points system which we’ve borrowed from Moz.

  • Nailed It (+2) – When a prediction is right on the money and the primary criteria are fulfilled
  • Partially Accurate (+1) – Predictions that are in the ballpark, but are somewhat different than reality
  • Not Completely Wrong (-1) – Those that got near the truth, but are more “incorrect” than “correct”
  • Way Off (-2) – Guesses which didn’t come close

And again we’ve made three predictions for Amazon, Google, Apple and the voice industry in general.

Watch the video below or read below.

 

Amazon / Alexa Predictions for 2021

  1. Amazon will launch a VR headset with Alexa as your host – VR headset from Amazon where you can use Alexa in similar fashion to echo frames
  2. Voice profiles can start to be used on other devices – Currently voice profiles are restricted to you own devices, what could happen is voice profiles move with you so that you can get your “version” of alexa on a another device at someones house. This could work by being on the same Wifi as an extra authentication. Ideally with use case being able to use Alexa’s in shops etc.
  3. New ways to generate revenue with Alexa Skills – So far we have ISP but I can see some changes here, either the % of ISP changes or thresholds change e.g. earn 100% of ISP up to £xxxx.xx per month (hat tip to Ilarna  in the UK voice lunch for mentioning this). Or related to selling physicals products you’ll be able to purchase products from Amazon in a skill session with you earning a commission.

Google Predictions for 2021

  1. Google will launch a new screen based device aimed at WFH / Home Video calls. So bigger screen, multi camera and maybe something around movement of the device.
  2. Google will launch a replacement for implicit invocation – Here Google will not suggest the “opening of an action” but instead will start to connect to APIs to complete a service for the user, the user will be guided by the google assistant, never really opening a “3rd party action.”
  3. Google will launch product buying via the assistant –  Google Shopping is now free, from our voice search search ranking reports we know google struggles with “buy” key phrases reverting to local listings. In the future google will be able to suggest products from Google Shopping.

Apple Prediction for 2021

  1. I’m going with last years again!- Apple will launch an equivalent to actions, skills and capsules. However it will be restricted to certain verticals, rigorous approval processes and also, be heavily integrated with the existing app eco system (you have to have an existing iOS app). Apple don’t want the app store model to die hence the integration with existing apps at some level.
  2. Apple will launch a home pod but with a screen – trying to cash in on the video calling from home a new version will allow you to make calls to other iPhone devices
  3. Siri to duplicate Duplex – You’ll be able to start to use Siri to make reservations, check opening times etc, very much the same as Duplex with Google.

General industry predictions

  1. New types of connected devices influx – so not washing machines, alarms, plugs but new devices toys, games, sporting equipment will start to use the Alexa Gadgets Kit to be part of the voice experience where the user opens a skill and then uses the device to interact.
  2. Voice interactive stories on Netflix / Prime / Google Chromecast / Disney + – we’ve seen interactive stories on Netflix already where the user clicks but with more voice control I can see this moving to voice. There are companies already doing this such as https://www.earplay.com/ but the prediction is for this to come to one of the big platforms.
  3. Voice control out of the home – due to covid we’ll see in the UK a major retailer / transport / entertainment company launch kiosk / ordering with voice to avoid touching a screen.

Come back next year to see how accurate these predictions are.

John Campbell

Managing Director & Co founder

John founded Rabbit & Pork as the third agency and Voice Experience arm of TIPi Group. John has developed and launched several Google Actions and Skills, presented at several voice events around the UK, spoken on the VUX podcast and authored multiple whitepapers.
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