Op-Eds

The Future of Voice Technology in Latin America

A little over nine years ago, Apple introduced Siri, the first voice assistant to be widely available on the market for smartphones. Today, consumers have a much wider range of products to choose from as voice technologies evolve and become more popular. Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, and Bixby, are just some of the many voice assistant options people and companies use to communicate with each other more efficiently.

Compared to other parts of the world, Latin America’s corporations have only just started their digital transformation. A growing number of fields such as the healthcare, banking, and insurance industries are seeing the benefits of automated voice services and are starting to incorporate them into their processes to improve their customer service and increase overall efficiency. 

Language has been a significant deterrent to the adoption of voice tech in the region, as many of the more established voice communication tools are only just starting to offer their services in Spanish or Portuguese. However, already 51% of smartphone users in the region are using voice assistants, showing a growing opportunity for voice assistants in Latin America. 

The voice tech market in Latin America is still in its early stages, so it is exciting to see how this technology will find new applications in the region over the coming years.

The future of voice in Latin America

Latin America is a heterogeneous market, which means that voice services will not only have to teach their AI to speak different languages but also incorporate a variety of regional accents. Apart from these cultural differences, voice recognition systems will also be able to detect emotions, differentiate voices, and adapt to different contexts. 

For example, a user will request recommendations for Japanese restaurants from a voice assistant. If the user sounds a bit agitated and other voices can be heard in the background, the voice assistant’s speech recognition features will be able to detect their situation and recommend a restaurant ideal for groups and with fast service.

With the power of AI, machines will also be able to predict users’ needs based on their habits and preferences. Voice payments may also become a possibility in Latin America, as the region still has the ability to leapfrog over legacy technologies as countries begin to incorporate the unbanked into tech-driven financial systems. 

Startups that are transforming voice tech in Latin America

A few key players in the region are already making waves in the voice tech industry with their innovative features. 

In 2019, Amazon launched virtual assistant Alexa in Brazil in Portuguese. This feature was essential for opening the market since only a small portion of the population has advanced English skills.

Voice Bunny is a fast, reliable, and efficient voice over service founded in Colombia. They have thousands of clients all over the world. Their voice over actors can tackle any project, from presentations to video games, and even phone systems from different parts of the world, and the platform offers 50+ languages to its customers.

Vozy, a Colombian voice communications platform, is the only company in Latin America to offer text-to-speech services in more than eight different Spanish accents including Colombian, Mexican, Argentine, Chilean, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, and Venezuelan. 

Atexto, is an Argentine startup that helps companies train machine learning models to listen, comprehend, and create automated responses. Their technology is also able to determine the emotion and intent of a phrase.

The impact of voice in business

These new features have the potential to transform customer service and help businesses streamline their processes in Latin America. Voice technology is able to create a unified user experience across a business’ different platforms. Users can also experience personalized customer service with an actual voice that literally speaks to them in their own language.  

“A growing number of companies in Latin America are choosing to shift from call centers that are 100% human-run to mixed teams where artificial intelligence can solve common, well-documented problems,” commented Vozy CEO, Humberto Pertuz. “This change reduces operational costs, increases client satisfaction, and generally makes sales and customer service more efficient.”

These next steps in voice technology will transform both tech and traditional corporations in Latin America as the possibilities of commands and functions keep growing. Voice technologies are becoming an industry standard and businesses will have to adapt or risk being left behind.

 

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