Improved User Experience Drives Next-Gen Voice Technology

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Voice technology has transformed how businesses, consumers, and everyday families interact with each facet of technology, with the world around them, and with each other. As artificial intelligence and voice transcription continue to evolve, we’re looking forward to the next wave of voice technology, how it will advance our capabilities, and how these technologies can and will continue to transform and improve our lives.

From outsmarting automated robocalls or providing better and more accurate voice transcription services to utilizing affective computing to help us prioritize messages in real-time, voice technology is evolving in innovative ways and elevating its impact on mobile consumers.

Rebuilding Consumer Trust with RCD and STIR/SHAKEN

Over the last few years, robocalls have reached all-time highs. To give you some perspective, Americans dealt with 48 billion robocalls in 2018, which was a 46% increase from 2017. Thankfully, next-gen voice technologies such as Rich Caller Data (RCD) and STIR/SHAKEN authentication will help to regain consumer confidence in answering phone calls from unknown numbers. Here’s how:

With Rich Caller ID enabled by RCD, businesses can connect with consumers in more meaningful ways, such as providing branded graphics or additional verification information, where a a personalized message that shows up on a phone screen allows the caller to confirm their identity to the receiver. As robocalls have become savvier, this tool can provide the tools users need in deciding to answer or ignore an incoming call from an unknown number.

Of course, this doesn’t totally eliminate the pervasive problem of Caller ID spoofing – when a bad actor masks the origin of their call with a random phone number – but that’s where STIR/SHAKEN authentication comes in. Standing for Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN), STIR/SHAKEN is a caller ID authentication protocol designed to verify the identity and accuracy of caller ID information.

With this standard in place, caller ID spoofing will become much more difficult. Additionally, implementation of the authentication framework will enable voice service providers to flag and block automated SPAM calls at the network level, which should lead to a marked decrease in unwanted robocalls. On March 31, 2020, the FCC mandated that voice service providers must implement caller ID authentication based on the STIR/SHAKEN framework by June 30, 2021.

Fighting unwanted robocalls by authenticating incoming callers and offering tools users need to combat automated robocalls will advance our abilities to connect and communicate how, when, and with whom we want. By reviving consumer trust in voice communications, RCD and STIR/SHAKEN will help to increase the relevance of voice-based communications with consumers. Here are a few examples of how this technology can improve user experience:

More Accurate and Useful Voice Transcription

As AI is working to gain a better understanding of human emotions, it is also being improved to transcribe human language with greater accuracy and efficiency. While voice transcription is far from a novel technology, the focus is now on incorporating the nuances of language, such as tonality and verbiage, as well as accents and dialects for enhanced accuracy and application across a variety of global settings.

For example, in healthcare environments optimized voice transcriptions would unlock new use cases that aren’t currently mainstream. For instance, AI-enabled voice transcription could take into account complex medical language and terminology, manage and provide solutions regarding patient privacy concerns, and personalize transcription experiences for different users in one setting.

Prioritizing Voicemails with Affective Computing 

Affective computing, or artificial intelligence (AI) that is programmed to recognize, interpret, process, or simulate human emotion, combines technology with emotive capabilities to incorporate better processing and understanding of human emotion into decision-making and recommendations. Through study and application across scientific, cognitive, and psychological standpoints, this gives voice technology the power to help users prioritize how and when they want to receive communications like voicemails and messages.

Insights are gained through factors such as user habits, facial expressions, heart rate, tone of voice, speech patterns, and other emotional considerations. AI can then react in real-time to tune into how a user might be feeling in a situation and personalize the experience.

When AI can pull these factors into decision-making and recommendations, it can gauge and determine which messages need to be prioritized and what can wait based on what a user feels and needs. That might happen through the categorization of incoming messages by the interpreted emotion of the caller, by matching user emotion with the predetermined emotion of the message, or by personalizing recommendations in real-time, perhaps on devices with more than one user, such as a home or business answering machine. When applied to voice messaging, affective computing has the potential to improve the user experience by prioritizing important voicemails and deprioritizing those that can wait until later.

Improved user experience is a shared outcome that all of these next-gen voice technologies will provide. Digitally savvy consumers demand technology and modes of communication that are convenient, easy to use, and empowering. Innovations such as affective computing, optimized voice transcriptions, and authenticated, feature-rich caller ID address many of the core issues inherent to the traditional voicemail experience. Implementing and standardizing this functionality will go a long way toward revitalizing the relevance of voice messaging with the next generation of connected consumers and breathe new life into this commoditized service.

Interested in learning more about a solution that helps to improve the voicemail user experience while transforming voicemail into a revenue generator? Check out CommSuite®, Smith Micro's proven voice messaging solution that is installed on nearly 20 million mobile handsets in the United States.