The Future of Virtual Assistants Could Lie in the Metaverse

In a corner of half the internet homes in the UK is a smart speaker. Whether next to family photos and a coaster for a drink next to the sofa, or between toasters, blenders and kitchen utensils, the phrase “Alexa”, “Hey Google” or “ Hey Siri ”is used to prompt household chores.

If you consider that the popularity of intelligent speakers in the United States also reflects the United States, it is not surprising that the size of the global smart speaker market is projected to be $ 6.42 billion by 2020, with estimates reaching $ 61.87 billion by in 2028. This growth may be music to the ears of tech giants around the world, but the market is showing signs of slowing down recently. . According to Voicebot.ai, the intelligent speaker market is growing from 42% and 32% annual growth respectively between 2018 and 2020, to 3.4% and 4.6% since the beginning of the decade.

Similarly in the UK, growth from 2019 to 2020 reached 136.5% but declined to below a fifth of that (24.5%) from 2020 to 2021. As a result of this crisis, the futuristic used Tom Cheesewirght speaking IT Professional that the virtual assistant market has reached the ceiling of the current market.

“There are two important things going on with vocals that are getting a lot of heat from the market,” Cheesewright said. “First, these assistants haven’t proven to be a good application platform. There’s a limited range of apps where voice makes sense and while there are some cool things you can do, it’s not class of common app platform that is the smartphone or the PC.application platform, but that leads to the second point, which is that people realize that voice is not appropriate.In many contexts, people do not want to use voice as an interface because it interferes with your flow of thought.

Despite these issues, he points to the widespread adoption of these devices and their good intrinsic value. Although they are limited, there are still things that people like to do in them. However, the collapse of the market may force manufacturers and customers to rethink the use of virtual assistants. With artificial intelligence (AI) and the metaverse gaining traction, the technology may have to adapt to a very different technological landscape than was encountered in the first explosion of the scene.

Find new tools for virtual assistants

As Cheesewright points out, the use of virtual assistants for consumers is limited to basic minutes, playing music, and turning on and off lights.

Virtual assistants have many uses, and having a device in one place that can provide information in a simple question justifies the investment the industry has made over the past five years, points out Joshua Kaiser, CEO of Tovie AI .

“The healthcare industry adopted virtual assistants during the COVID-19 boom,” he said. “In 2019, Voicebot found that 7.5% of American adults used a virtual assistant for a health care need; by 2021, that number has risen to 21%, and there are also increase in AI-driven conversational apps that can help screen, test and diagnose people who may be infected with COVID-19.

“Healthcare is not the only service to go online during a pandemic and as a result, many businesses are integrating virtual assistants to provide a seamless online experience for customers. This development has spurred a growing trend in the AI ​​industry, especially personal virtual assistants embedded in products, applications. on the web, and mobile apps.

The future will be meta

As Kaiser puts it, despite the relatively global use cases currently on the market, interacting with voice agents is a technology that will come into its own in the future.

Yes, it’s almost time we mentioned that Metaverse has the potential to change our lives in many ways – but some of the fundamental differences between Metaverse and Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are that technologies we have today are interaction. methods.

Output devices, such as keyboards and mice, can be super-virtual worlds, allowing people to talk to agents as they travel the environments they encounter.

“This year is the year of the metaverse as giants like Meta, Baidu, Huyndai, and LEGO enter the field, and virtual assistants are likely to show up in the crowds,” Kaiser said. “It’s not just a choice in the entertainment industry, we need to anticipate virtual offices for VR employees or customers, with virtual characters.

“Going forward, I think all the major developments in virtual assistants will be tied to the trends in the metaverse and virtual characters. AI emotion management is one of the top trends this year because we are allowed to creating synthetic human language, allowing virtual assistants to be natural. »

Cheesewirght agreed, adding that virtual assistants could be an important vehicle in which to deliver the metaverse. “Voice allows the user interface to make AR useful and not a flood of popups or even trying to mimic the smartphone experience with a pair of glasses.

“A shift comes where most people spend ten hours a day in mixed reality. In this context, voice starts to be more useful, both in the consumer context and in the professional context, because if the your main interface is not a keyboard and mouse, and your personal AI learns from what you know, it can be a huge help and even to make decisions for you.

“Voice is a natural interface, and if you always have a pair of headphones or a pair of glasses, you can have that subtle, private conversation with your virtual assistant. I think that’s when the voice becomes even more important.There are problems that can be overcome by virtual assistants today, for example, even in ten years of evolution of micro arrays, interpretation and algorithms, there are many problems of understanding.But if the microphone is physically connected to your head, clarity, understanding and usability should be much better.

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