In-Car Voice Needs a Refresh, Strategy Analytics Suggests

With intelligent voice assistants dominating the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, the ability to leverage consumer familiarity and build a seamless connected experience has led to direct and immediate implications for all automotive voice control suppliers, according to a new report from the In-Vehicle User Experience (IVX) service at Strategy Analytics.

Key findings in Strategy Analytics' "CES 2018: Voice Assistants Invade, Autonomous Concepts Roll Out" report included the need for voice interface system design priorities to shift, particularly as consumer use of voice recognition rises and processing issues are resolved. Rather than developing dedicated on-board solutions, stakeholders must design around the current in-car user experience, which includes occupants' preferred voice assistants. Suppliers must also be solution-agnostic and focus on the "good-enough" way to address the most crucial in-car scenarios, using the consumer's desired agent, the report suggests.

"Voice will always be a crucial piece of the automotive [human-to-machine interface] puzzle no matter the path to full autonomy, and context-aware voice assistants add great value to the on-board UX. However, the on-board voice experience has traditionally been limited by slow computing power and poor design. Consumer expectations are outpacing development; the opportunities for disruption will be plentiful," said Derek Viita, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics and author of the report, in a statement.

"Even though many mobile-based systems are not particularly natural, useful, or conversational, they are increasingly familiar thanks to wider implementation outside the car. While suppliers such as iNago, iFlyTek, Nuance, and Voicebox all exhibited robust voice solutions for the car at CES 2018, the proliferation of digital assistants in the car will make certain specialized suppliers irrelevant in the near future," added Chris Schreiner, director of syndicated research for UXIP, in a statement.

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