Voice Predictions for 2020

Looking into the crystal ball for 2020 for all things voice search and voice apps

John Campbell

Managing Director & Co founder

As 2019 comes to an end, the team at Rabbit & Pork have dusted off the crystal ball to look into 2020. Will Google launch new devices, who will Amazon look to acquire, will Apple do something interesting in voice and will 50% of all searches be by voice in 2020?

We’ll be looking back on each prediction come the end of 2020 to review the team’s performance 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

We have made three predictions for Amazon, Google, Apple, Samsung and the voice industry in general.

Amazon / Alexa Predictions for 2020

  1. Amazon will launch a smart watch, this will be in response to Google acquiring Fitbit. After launching multiple new devices last year, a watch is still missing from the Alexa line up. Competitors are ahead of Amazon in this hardware vertical; Google have Fitbit and Apple have the Apple Watch.
  2. Alexa will start to understand your emotions and adapt responses based how you reply. For example if you shout “Alexa, Stop playing that song” Alexa would apologise and never play that song again.
  3. Amazon will launch a new phone with Alexa front and centre. Amazon are falling behind on the race for the phone in comparison to Apple and Google with Android. Amazon failed with the fire phone in the past, options could be a partnership with an existing manufacturer or to go it alone again.

Google Predictions for 2020

  1. Google will launch a selection of new hardware devices including a new Google Home speaker (under the Nest branding), smart TVs and a cheaper phone with the assistant built in. This would be in response to Amazon’s launch of 17 new hardware devices in Q3 2019.
  2. Google will launch a paid advertising product related to the Google Assistant. This may feature the ability to bid on existing Google Ad platforms (Search, YouTube, Display network) based on users interaction with the Google Assistant. For example, if you have been voice searching about things to do on holiday in Thailand, you would then be able to target that user with a display advert knowing they are “in market” for holidays to Thailand.
  3. Duplex expansion of locations and verticals. Currently Google Duplex is only live in certain areas of the US and for the restaurant vertical. Duplex will expand to more verticals, more locations and will be able to access user information to improve experience. E.g. check your calendar, past location history, your home location to work out what time to book, considering travel times.

Samsung Prediction for 2020

  1. Bixby will be launched in the car. Samsung will drive growth as per the competition, using a mix of hardware additions e.g. Alexa Auto and partnerships with car manufactures to add full integrations into the car hardware.
  2. Samsung will launch a “home control” unit. To be installed into your home with the view to control the connected home. This play will be related to the various white good devices that Samsung already produces.  Bixby will be the main interface to control this unit.
  3. Developers will receive payments for building Bixby Capsules.  Using a similar system to Alexa Developer Rewards, Samsung will try to increase the number of Bixby Capsules with a payment program based on new and current usage of capsules.

Apple Prediction for 2020

  1. 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. Siri will be build into the new iPhone / software update. In a similar move to the Pixel 4. This means Siri will work quicker and offline for some requests by having the voice recognition and NLP built into the device.
  3. Lower cost version of the Home Pod, in a similar fashion to the iPhone S range.  At £279.00 the Home Pod is too expensive to gain huge market share in the UK. This launch could be in combination with point one above launching third party apps.

General industry predictions

  1. Adoption rates of smart speakers in the US, CA & UK will slow down but rise globally. Emerging markets will drive the global growth, and rates of growth will be higher than the rates seen in the US, CA & UK. These new markets will open up opportunities for brands to reach new markets.
  2. Companies will launch their own branded assistant in a similar fashion to the BBC announcing Beeb. Underlying tech (NLP, TTS etc) may be provided by Amazon, Google, IBM but the front end will be a different brand. For example, eBay could launch their own assistant or Facebook with an assistant that just lives within the Facebook platform (post a message to x…., create a new event).
  3. A UK retailer / restaurant company will launch a voice hardware device. This could be a restaurant to take customer orders, or a shop where customers can voice search for products. Example of this could be Argos with a voice search catalogue in store or Screwfix where you can make orders with your voice in store.

And last, but not least…

Voice search won’t be 50% of all searches in 2020! 🙂

John Campbell

Managing Director & Co founder

John founded Rabbit & Pork as the fourth 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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