Voice to Become the Personal Assistant, Technavio Predicts

By 2019, voice recognition will evolve into personal assistants, data security and privacy issues will still linger, and voice verification will be integrated with speech recognition, according to the latest report from research firm Technavio.

Technavio identified these three as the top three trends that will impact the voice recognition market in the United States between now and 2019.

"The market size for voice recognition in smartphones is directly related to the sales of smartphones and is growing at a compound annual growth rate of over 10 percent," said Sunil Kumar Singh, Technavio lead research analyst, in a statement. "All operating systems come with some form of voice recognition integrated within the smartphones. For example Apple has Siri, Windows has Speech and Cortana, and BlackBerry uses Nuance's solutions."

The report identifies Google Now as more than just a voice-based search engine, noting that it not only provides useful information but also learns user behavior over time. It is becoming more of a personal assistant that displays information that would interest the user in the form of Now Cards, an Android app that offers information at a glance.

Apple's Siri, it says, is less like a personal assistant because it only provides search results. While it might store search history, it does not analyze it, Technavio says. Users can make calendar entries and schedule appointments, but Siri does not have a feature such as Now Cards.

Microsoft's Cortana offers a combination of both technologies, adopting the best of Google Now and Siri, according to Technavio, which added that there are other third-party apps, such as Vlingo, Skyvi, AIVC, and Iris that also perform voice recognition and act as virtual personal assistants. These solutions have yet to find high adoption among smartphone users, but they are likely to become common features during the forecast period.

Smartphones that have voice recognition features in them could be prone to security issues, Technavio cautions. Every time users tap into the voice recognition system, the data is collected for processing on the cloud servers. Voice recognition systems can store this data while recording personal conversations, which leads to security breach and privacy infringement concerns.

It was reported in 2015 that Samsung smart TVs, which have voice recognition, capture personal and sensitive information and pass it on to third parties. "Such issues can also occur in a smartphone with a voice recognition feature, and vendors need to develop algorithms that distinguish personal conversations from commands," Singh says.

Many vendors are working toward integration of voice verification with speech recognition technology, Technavio says. Instead of offering voice verification as a stand-alone product, vendors are now offering integrated functioning of voice verification and speech recognition. Voice verification helps identify the individual that is speaking.

Almost all of the vendors have either launched or are in the process of launching voice recognition applications to ensure the integration of these two technologies, according to the report. This feature could be very useful in smartphones and replace existing security features, such as lock patterns, passwords, and facial recognition. Users would be able to unlock their smartphones through voice recognition, which could enhance the existing level of security, the firm concluded.

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