The Future Of Voice-Controlled Product Lifecycle

The Future Of Voice-Controlled Product Lifecycle

The first time I’ve got a voice command in the car was 2007. Back those days, my car had a button called “activate voice command” and also voice command index in the user manual. And, as almost expected for six years I drove that car I never used voice command. Fast forward to 2019, I can ask my car to drive home, to make a temperature warmer or read messages from my phone.

According to Voice Search Stats Trends, the conversational search is growing.

By 2020, 50% of all searches across the internet will be voice-based. 20% of the searches on a mobile device are voice-based. 25% of the queries on Android devices are voice-based. 60% of smartphone users had tried voice search at least once in the past 12 month

My second observation is about phone calls. Back a decade ago, my Blackberry smartphone was used as a phone a lot. Also, was able to send emails. However, my smartphone today is used more a device with many connected functions and very little ‘phone’ feature usage. So, what happens with the phone? The article – Phone is not dead, it is evolving gives you some interesting data points.

“Open audio” sounds a lot like making phone calls. But don’t tell those teens. “It’s almost seen as rude to call someone,” says Mr. Bentley, who worked with lead author Mia Suh, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington on the study. It’s as if they’re saying, “I am going to disturb someone and make their phone ring and interrupt them and kind of force them to pay attention to me,” he says.

Talking was the most popular way to communicate via cellphone in the fall of 2012, with 94% of survey respondents having done so in the prior week, according to consumer-research firm MRI-Simmons. By the spring of 2019, talking had fallen to least popular, behind texting, emailing, posting to social media and using chat apps, with just 45% reporting doing it in the prior week. In other words, less than half had used their phone for an actual phone call.

TechCrunch article Phone is dead is another place to find a confirmation for what we most probably know – we don’t call people anymore.

..the truth is that we iPhone users (and to greater extent smartphone users in general) are not primarily using our phones to make calls. We may carry around things we call “phones” but to us they’re just pocket-sized computers.

Here is an interesting stat I captured from AT&T usage of data:

AT&T usage of data

So, where it takes me in my article today? There are few places where conversational trend can take us and it is related to how people communicate (or using fancy PLM sales name – collaborate). Here are some thoughts…

1- Training

For many years, training was an indisputable place where voice (or speech) was a way to deliver the message, explain how to use the system and get people up to speed with any process. I doubt it will sustain. While companies are still selling tons of training, the delivery of training is changing. From automatically generate narration for training videos to voice-controlled help, I can see many places how automatic voice controlling training can be delivered and be very efficient.

2- Processes control and approvals

A decade ago, change process and notification demanded email dubbing. People like to have everything connected to their emails as a single place to communicate. This is still true, but here is the thing, I don’t want to read and in many situations would like system to read a message for me and allow me to provide a response. Think about approvals, meeting coordination, deliveries and many other situations where you prefer not to be involved in a screen/read/write scenario.

3- Voice-controlled search and other commands

Imagine looking into a model and asking a system who made the last change or who approved a specific release. Context combined with the voice can be easier and more powerful than finding a way to place five buttons on the screen.

What is my conclusion? It might sound like a dream, but my next PLM system will be conversational more than the one we have today. Voice control can give more flexibility. At the same time the voice generation process can allow more efficiency for processes like training. What is your experience with voice? Do you think future PLM system will be more immersive by applying voice-controlled function? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.

Image by Kaufdex from Pixabay


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