The coronavirus pandemic turned 2020 into a year like no other – with its effects still being felt around the globe today. The findings of the Speechmatics report on Trends and Predictions for Voice Technology in 2021 reflect the impact of COVID-19 as organizations looked to leverage voice technology.
The introduction of voice technology into business workflows fortified product offerings and services to meet the challenges created as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s now considered more important than ever as countries, industries, organizations and individuals strive to operate in a world defined by COVID-19 – and look to plan for a post-pandemic world.
There is no escaping the impact COVID-19 has had on the world’s economies – and its very different effects on specific industries. Sectors such as travel and hospitality, for example, have experienced significant negative effects.
On the other hand, there has been a substantial positive impact on some industries as we have been forced to adapt our ways of working and living. The winners have been healthcare and life sciences, and telecommunications, according to 41% of respondents to the Speechmatics survey – followed by media and entertainment at 37%.
The overwhelming majority of respondents (58%) thought web conferencing transcription was the voice technology use case that had experienced the biggest positive impact as a result of COVID-19. With web conferencing platforms being adopted to suit home working across the world, the subject of captions and transcription has cropped up continuously.
Almost overnight, web conferencing became the best – and, in some cases, only – way of communication. Savvy businesses recognized a huge opportunity when it came to the accessibility of web conferences. Captions became a must-have to ensure conversations were accessible and understood by everyone.
Transcripts were also soon equally important as a way of capturing conversations as they happened so that businesses could capture, store and analyze what was said on calls – a form of automatic meeting minutes. Transforming calls into text also enables them to be stored using metadata – providing a 360-degree view of any interaction.
Customer experience & analytics was another voice technology use case that saw a positive impact from the coronavirus pandemic, according to 34% of survey respondents. Customer experience became a major issue within contact centers. Not only are agents now dealing with more customer issues by phone, but customers are also more vulnerable than ever and so must be treated sensitively on a case-by-case basis.
Just over half of survey respondents (53%) thought COVID-19 hadn’t had a profound effect on the mass adoption of voice technology into business automation workflows, while 47% thought it had.
Looking at the data in the report as a whole, many respondents already had a voice technology strategy implemented – and regarded voice as an already widely adopted technology. This could be an explanation for the fairly even split.
The respondents that believed COVID-19 has had a profound effect recognized that many industries and use cases had significant gaps in their voice technology strategies when the pandemic hit. Businesses in these industries, such as web conferencing, assessed the risks of not adopting a voice strategy. They saw the opportunities if they added voice technology into their workflows – and have seen significant growth as a result of wide adoption.
The overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) thought that the demand on collaboration tools would increase into 2021 and beyond.
The coronavirus pandemic has taught businesses that many jobs can be done from home, with no need for commuting or expensive office leases. This new approach to working – whether that is a hybrid home/office approach or full remote working – has now become the norm and many businesses have stated that they won’t return to the way they were operating before the pandemic hit. As a result, businesses will become more reliant on collaboration tools to ensure business stays efficient and productive.
For more information – and the full survey results – download Trends and Predictions for Voice Technology in 2021.