Dr. Laura Dreessen
Senior Voice User Interface Architect & Consultant
The end of the year is always a time for reflection, so we’re taking some time to take a look back at the year just passed and think about the future of digitalization in Germany and Europe.
Without doubt, COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation for many German companies and organizations. This is part of a wider acceleration in digital transformation and digitalization happening worldwide—yes, partly due to the pandemic, but also to significant technological advancement in fields such as cloud computing, AI, IoT and virtual assistants. Furthermore, with the German federal government promising to increase its spending on AI from €3 billion ($3.54 billion) to €5 billion by 2025, most of those funds will be used to develop supercomputing technology in Germany.
Digital transformation and digitalization drives enterprises to improve the customer experience, optimize the workforce, simplify operational activities, and completely transform their products and services. At VUI.agency we believe that strong European enterprises will drive forward digitalization in Germany (and Europe).
If we start with the premise that digitalization means translating our physical world into a digital one, voice is one way of bridging a gap between humans and technology. Voice User Interface design makes it possible to let humans and machines interact—to understand each other—in the most intuitive and direct way.
Voice recognition is all about gathering data—the United States and China are more evolved in this direction, compared to Germany
Voice recognition software involves cloud and server capacities as well as data protection—German laws on data protection are stringent on data center locations
Good UX relies heavily on user data and abstracting user behavior—good data protection makes this a challenge
Custom-built VUIs (Voice User Interfaces) are a mid- to long-term investment
Voice has brought a paradigm shift in customer service: instead of searching a digital interface for the right info, which means users have to actually understand the structure of the user interface, the voice interface understands the user, in the most direct and efficient way. It gets their intention and replies to them in a suitable way according to the context of the conversation.
Why? It reduces costs by having a digital assistant handling frequently asked questions and learning to digitally represent your company even in complex conversations. Also, digital assistants act as a digital employee and help human employees to focus on those conversations that should be handled by real people.
The assistant retrieves answers to frequently asked questions, guides the users to the right sources of information and informs users about services and products, internally as well as externally. This ‘brain’ needs a well-formed data strategy—structured databases that help it retrieve and make use of the right information.
The term, while widely being used ambiguously, describes the fact that data and information of a company or provider that wants to be represented by a voice assistant needs to be ready for the voice experience.
Just like one prepares the content for the website differently than the content for the intranet, or a written article differently than a verbal or audio statement, voice needs preparation of the actual data domains that help with automation.
Building a voice assistant for customer service means transferring information into a format that the voice assistant's ‘brain’ can handle and always retrieve, because this is the point of digitalization: retrieve information effectively.
Digitalization through voice, just like every other branch of digitalization, needs safe data strategy, data governance, server capacities and the right cloud features for AI. Until now, all of these requirements were mainly provided in the US and China.
To speed up digitalization in Europe, now is a good time to be innovative, and to start using and developing local technology, with a focus to serve the German and European market first.
Let’s build safe applications and more custom-built solutions.
Let’s be an essential part of our own market digitalization and carefully analyze our providers to offer more personalization to our clients and customers.