Voice Enabled Technology: Q&A with Pocket App Chairman, Paul Swaddle



1)       How has voice recognition technology improved in recent years? Has the technology become more sophisticated?

In the past three years commercial speech recognition technologies have seen a dramatic improvement. These improvements are in part being driven by deep learning approaches combined with massive data sets. Deep Learning, which is machine learning based on a set of algorithms, is used as a tool to create systems that have very good accuracy for tasks such as image analysis, speech recognition and language analysis.

2)       With very few operators currently live with voice-recognition tools, what do you think is putting firms off from enabling the technology?

As mentioned I think the technology was not ready- but voice recognition has kicked off in the last three years. Amazon launched Echo this year, Apple’s Siri has done well and now Samsung is developing a new AI assistant Bixby. This shows that companies are looking at Voice Recognition Bots as the next development within voice enabled interaction with/for their consumers.

3)      Is there a demand for voice recognition technology from the public? Do people really want to bet using their voice, or isn’t it more convenient to place bets using an app through a couple of clicks?

As technology evolves, so do the consumers. The millennial generation have played a key role as advocates for evolving tech. The demand for tech to match lifestyle means voice recognition offers an easier interface. With regards to placing bets using the apps voice, artificial intelligence is easier with benefits of natural language application, allowing users to speak naturally while a directed dialogue prompts them to use specific phrases. Also, incorporation of error handling means errors are resolved faster and more effectively.

4)       What are the main challenges with voice recognition technology, both for e-gaming and other ecommerce industries?

For both industries, the main challenge is its accuracy. This could be poor-quality voice samples; the variability in a speaker’s voice due to illness, mood, changes over time; background noise as the caller interacts with the system; and changes in the call’s technology.

5)      How are operators and the e-gaming industry looking to overcome the challenges of the technology?

The challenges mentioned are now being met, as data improvements mean that voice enabling tech is becoming faster and more intuitive.

6)      Aside from e-gaming, which other ecommerce industries are using the technology to their benefit? Is there a particular company that you think is best using the technology, and why this is the case?

Retailing is looking at voice active bots to engage the consumer, allowing customers a type of interaction to achieve sales. The Alibaba group doesn’t want to remain just an e-commerce company it aims to become a large technology firm. As part of the company’s larger strategy, Alibaba has started to diversify into multiple tech verticals including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and image recognition.

7)      In e-gaming, what is the best way to utilise voice recognition technology? Through the use of a mobile app, or through an operator’s messaging service?

From a consumer stand point, voice recognition through the app offers a truly mobile       experience and gives them faster access to place bets in real time, taking advantage of latest betting odds.

8)      Is voice recognition technology only open to sports betting, what appears to be the easiest way to use it so far? What about in casino, can it be used for that too? What are the challenges with using voice recognition for casino and other verticals?

I am aware Unibet Casino was experimenting with voice recognition technology earlier this year. The aim is to provide a less clunky customer experience with similar changes to other verticals. The technology behind this is evolving and therefore the issues surrounding them are being tackled.

9)      What does the future hold for voice recognition technology? Will we finally see more firms incorporate the technology?

The technology is already being incorporated, with major firms taking advantage of this. Chatbots within ecommerce retail will see a dramatic change in they operate with customer engagement