Use of speech recognition is growing – what does that mean for commercial projects?

Smart speakers and other speech-recognition systems are a booming market. Tim Kridel explores the promise and the peril.

My wife asked me why I spoke so softly in the house. I said I was afraid Mark Zuckerberg was listening. She laughed. I laughed. Alexa laughed. Siri, too. So goes a joke making the rounds on the internet. Whether it makes you laugh or cry depends on your view of smart speakers: A new set of tools for interactive digital signage and controlling conference room AV systems? Or an attack vector for industrial espionage and other security breaches? Maybe a little of both? By some estimates, at least 21% of UK homes now have at least one smart speaker. For Germans and the French, it’s about 12% and 7.5%, respectively. Those numbers are noteworthy because like smartphone virtual assistants such as Siri, smart speakers are steadily conditioning more and more people to use their voice to interact with things. Those experiences at home influence their expectations about what’s possible and preferable in the workplace, stores and elsewhere. One example of the latter is wayfinding d





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