34% Not Quite Ready For Voice-Activated Personal Assistants

Voice is a major component of the Internet of Things -- but not everyone is yet comfortable with voice commands.

It’s one thing to bring a smartphone up close and relatively quietly say “OK Google” or “Hey Siri” or even to sit in front a computer and mutter “Hey Cortana.”

Those are device, up-close moments for a consumer.

But voice commands are extending well beyond the personal interactions between a person and a smartphone or PC.

Even more significantly, voice commands are now needed to interact with that digital assistant that is far from up close and personal.

Much like that person wearing a mobile earpiece talking loudly as they walk down the street or wait to board a plane, consumers are being retrained to speak into the air with the expectation that their commands will be heard and executed.

It turns out that not everybody wants to do that.

More than a third (34%) are not quite on board when it comes to using voice commands with Amazon’s Echo smart speaker with its voice-activated personal assistant Alexa, based on a survey of 2,600 consumers conducted by BI Intelligence.

However, voice commands are coming on strong. A Stanford University study last month found that speech recognition was three times faster than smartphone typing. In addition, the error rate was 20% lower

Some people may be self-conscious about speaking commands into the air. Almost one in five (18%) consumers would use voice commands only if there was no one else around to hear them.

Another 4% found voice commands to be creepy.

On the other hand, the majority (66%) said they would be comfortable using voice commands with an Echo.

Here’s the breakdown of consumer attitudes toward voice-activated personal assistants, when asked if they had an Amazon Echo if they would use it to answer commands like playing music or turning on the lights:

  • 66% -- Yes
  • 18% -- Only if there’s no one around to hear it
  • 9% -- I’ll stick to pen and paper
  • 4% -- That’s so creepy
  • 3% -- Voice assistant? What?

Wait till Siri, Google and Cortana hear about this.

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