Hey Siri, what are the top voice tech applications for business pros?

Voice-controlled systems aren't reserved for consumers. Working professionals can use the tech for increased productivity and efficiency.

Alexa for Business: Can it win over the enterprise? Amazon sees a big role for voice interfaces in the office. Our editors break down the implications and the possibilities.

The popularization of smart speakers and home assistants has elevated the voice tech market, which is estimated to be worth nearly $32 billion by 2025, a Grand View Research report found

While Amazon Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google Assistant made voice tech mainstream, the power of modern artificial intelligence (AI) is what enabled the devices to be released at scale, said Todd Greene, CEO and founder of PubNub, an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider. 

SEE: Amazon Alexa: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

"The biggest contributing technology fact to the growth of the voice technology market is two-sided," Greene said. "First, the power of AI and its ability to better comprehend human actions and do things with them, and the availability of real-time technologies that enable the AI to rapidly capture, process, and action on human input." 

With the technology available, consumer demand comes from the convenience it brings, said Scot Marcotte, CTO of Buck, an HR consulting company. 

"People want ease and simplicity in getting answers and getting things done," Marcotte said. "As consumers, we've come to expect Siri and Alexa to make life convenient, and it's no different for our employees.  

"When we can deliver a similar level of ease and simplicity for our employees, we drive productivity—zipping them through HR processes, quickly finding that elusive answer to a query, helping them live healthier and more financially secure lives," Marcotte added.

When most people think of voice tech, they think of the small mechanism in home kitchens that tells you the temperature outside. Voice tech is advancing, however, making its way from the living room to the board room. 

"According to Gartner, by 2021 25% of digital workers will use a virtual employee assistant (VEA) daily, and by 2023, 25% of employee interactions with applications will be by voice," Marcotte said. 

Top voice tech business uses 

1. Transcription 

Transcription is valuable across industries for taking down important meetings, presentations, or conversations. Many meetings have a dedicated dictation figure who takes "minutes," writing down everything said during the meeting. Voice tech, however, automates the process, eliminating the need for an individual, said Eric Shellef, co-founder and CTO of VerbIT transcription service. 

Popular transcription apps include Otter, Rev, and Google's Live Transcribe. Even Google Docs allows users to write content using voice recognition capabilities. 

2. Translation 

Conducting interviews and meetings with people around the globe can be tough to begin with, but the difficulty increases if there is a language barrier. 

Voice tech can help in this realm, said Bern Elliot, distinguished vice president analyst at Gartner, by translating languages in real-time without disrupting the flow of conversation. 

In December, Google Assistant's rolled out its Interpreter mode, a real-time translation feature for Android and iOS phones. The AI-powered assistant knows 44 languages and will begin translating with the prompt, "Hey Google, be my translator," ZDNet reported.

SEE: Business pro's guide to translators (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

3. User interface navigation   

Voice tech can also help efficiently navigate various user interfaces. Instead of clicking through multiple pages to get to an online destination, voice-controlled user interfaces allow the speaker to navigate business software faster, enhancing productivity, Shellef said. 

Expect voice tech use cases to grow

These use cases will expand as the technology continues proliferating the enterprise, according to Shellef. 

"Today, personal assistants can do a bunch of stuff, but ultimately most of us just use one or two features," Shellef said. "It's probably the same with business executives, that they might use the automatic scheduling, smart reminders, that could all be done through voice technologies. And I think slowly these use cases will cover more."

For more, check out Five ways voice assistants are going to change the office on ZDNet. 

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