Profiting From the Second Imminent Voice Revolution
Updated: Aug 31, 2019
The First Voice Revolution: Learning
For centuries, text was the main medium for exchanging information. You could learn from books anywhere and anytime. Kindle took these benefits and put them on steroids. Now a person could carry around a library of books on a small, inexpensive device. The problem? You had to be sitting down bent over a device to learn.
In the 2000's Audiobooks, the iPOD, TiVo, proliferation of documentaries on Netflix, and YouTube began to empower users to learn by audio and video. Now you could learn by video/audio anytime and anywhere. The problem? You still had to be sitting down in front of a device to learn.
Of course, radio has been around for a long time as a voice medium. But radio content was dumbed down for the masses: gossip, news, and junk food content like Howard Stern dominated the medium. The content was loaded with advertisements and was only available at certain points. Programs like NPR were the best is got for learning about ideas, but it was still heavily biased and focussed on current events. There was no real place to get educated about ideas without being sold something or dumbed down to the level of the masses.
Dead time is now officially alive time
It's no secret (I think) that over the last 5 years or so, Voice has successfully transformed dead time into alive time for humans all across the world with a smart phone and internet access. You no longer have to be sedentary to learn. You can listen to a podcast or audiobook in traffic, cleaning your house or going for a walk. In a world where most people have stationary desk jobs, this is an incredible health benefit. The world's knowledge is officially available anytime, anywhere like never before.
Another huge benefit is podcasts and audiobooks have cut out the middle man. They are relatively untainted by advertisers and large media companies' agendas. Now you have direct unfiltered access to the ideas of top scientists, psychologists, business leaders, and sports leaders in the world. People can defend their perspectives in long form podcasts without being at the mercy of a media company turning their 90 minute interview into a misleading 30 second soundbite for more clicks and $$$.
This voice learning revolution has also spurned new hardware devices like smart speakers and wireless headphones.
The Next Voice Revolution: Voice Assistant
With the hardware component of smart speakers and wireless headphones entering mass adoption, Voice Assistants are the next wave to take off.
Smart speakers are the fastest adopted technology of all time. 75% of US homes are going to own a smart speaker by 2022. With current adoption sitting at 41% — Variety.com
Smart speakers allow you to stay in control of your valuable attention.
In today’s world with so much information vying for our attention, that is enormously valuable.
For example, if I’m getting ready in the morning and look at my phone to check the weather, I’ve completely lost control of my attention. All of the sudden I’m subjected to new information including texts, emails, direct messages, app notifications etc.
Being able to ask Alexa “What is the weather” without being bombarded by unwanted information and alerts is a game changer.
Many new types of requests are starting to be adopted on smart speaker.
The mass adoption of AirPods and other wireless headphones will boost voice adoption in 2019.
In the last few months, AirPods have officially surpassed Alexa and Google Home in Google searches.
Once Siri improves to Alexa's current level of performance, Voice will skyrocket. Every app will need a voice-request functionality to survive.
The Future of Voice: Joan From Mad Men
The next step for smart assistants is being able to dynamically parse through my incoming information and determine what’s important enough to alert the its boss the user about. Right now, it's all or nothing. I can set rules for ALL my notifications to be snoozed during certain time or have them off.
This leads to strange user behavior like deleting the Slack mobile app over the weekends. Or deleting Instragram when it becomes too much of a distraction at work.
A great secretary or assistant naturally learns their boss’s habits. They know when to shield their boss from incoming information. They can read their boss’ moods to determine when to drop some bad news, and they know when that bad news needs to be communicated immediately.
The voice apps of the future will use AI — not rules — to alert me on my smart speakers of urgent items.
4 Ways to Profit From the Voice Revolution
Invest in public voice companies. Voice will help make Apple, Google, and Amazon’s stocks stronger than ever. Their platform will make all of their future products/services more sticky. For example, every time I try to get Alexa or Siri to play music on Spotify I get frustrated. Even though I love Spotify, I’m NOT going to get rid of them before I ditch my iPhone and AirPods. Chances are Apple could force me into using Apple Music in the near future.
Invest in private voice companies. There are a lot of great startups looking for capital. If you are an accredited investor, this is an interesting area to look at.
Create a Voice App. Use a service like Voiceflow to design, prototype and launch your own Alexa/Google Home App
Invest in yourself — use voice to optimize your daily attention and health. Using voice apps more means you can direct your attention on your own terms. No longer do you need to go into your phone to accomplish a task only to be sidetracked by other peoples’ agendas for you. You don't have to be unnaturally hunched over your phone improving your health and overall wellness. Look at the above graphic of different voice command ideas, and start making voice commands part of your daily routine!
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