Edge Voice Assistants
Dec 14, 2021
7 MIN READ

4 Industries Revolutionizing Product Solutions with Voice Assistants on the Edge

Voice assistants began in cloud-connected devices designed to access information, news, and entertainment. But the growing use of voice user interfaces for products and the availability of a wider range of connectivity options are opening the doors to more opportunities for manufacturers to voice-enable their products. Instead of considering voice AI as simply an addition to infotainment systems, companies in a wide range of industries are looking to improve hygiene, safety, efficiency, speed, cost, processing power, and privacy with voice assistants on the edge.

The range of voice assistant connectivity options includes voice assistants that are embedded without any access to the cloud that controls physical functionalities, such as rolling up the windows in a car or brewing coffee for an espresso machine. Hybrid voice assistants have all the embedded functionality plus access to the cloud, making them the ideal choice for many brands looking for device control, personalization, and information gathering capabilities. 

Voice assistants on the edge can use more computing power to add more Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and content to embedded devices or provide limited access to the cloud for product updates, without storing user data.

With so many connectivity options available from single voice AI platform providers, many industries have begun to rethink how they approach challenges, such as safety, hygiene, and multi-tasking, with voice AI. Voice interfaces offer a unique opportunity for many companies to improve employee and customer experiences through hands-free technology, and voice assistants on the edge are paving the way for a frictionless future.

Here are 4 industries revolutionizing product solutions with voice assistants on the edge:

  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • QSRs

Manufacturing on the Edge

Edge and embedded voice technology presents many new possibilities for innovations in the manufacturing industry. Employees on the manufacturing floor are often multi-tasking, operating machinery while recording inventory or following specific instructions. This split in attention can result in decreased productivity, efficiency, and safety. 

With voice AI technology embedded in manufacturing equipment, employees can operate machinery hands-free. Tooling programs can even be pre-set and activated via voice. Everyday tasks, such as running diagnostics, adjusting machine settings, and reviewing maintenance history can be achieved without having to touch a single piece of equipment, producing fewer accidents, greater safety, and improved hygiene. 

With voice AI technology embedded in manufacturing equipment, employees can operate machinery hands-free. 

In other applications, voice-enabled tablets or apps would allow workers to record inventory via voice, leaving their hands free for other crucial tasks. Manufacturing companies wishing for greater savings, productivity, and employee satisfaction can look to edge voice AI solutions. 

Embedded voice assistants in healthcare

Like manufacturing, healthcare work presents safety and hygiene challenges for multi-tasking professionals who must juggle tending to their patients, operating machinery, and taking notes or referencing charts. With their hands-free, healthcare employees can create improved patient experiences by being more efficient, hygienic, and present with the patients they care for.

With their hands-free, healthcare employees can create improved patient experiences by being more efficient, hygienic, and present with the patients they care for.

Embedded voice assistants could allow healthcare workers to take notes and operate machinery hands-free. In the operating room, essential elements, such as adjusting lighting, tilting the table, adjusting suction and irrigation devices, and taking photos of the procedure could all be performed via voice. Surgeons’ preferences could even be preset and activated through speaker ID technology. 

Other equipment, such as x-rays, MRI machines, and CT scanners, could be operated through voice assistants as well, allowing workers to have their hands free to perform other essential tasks. By adding cloud connectivity, photos, notes, and patient information could be stored securely in the cloud for later reference. 

Hygiene and safety are as important as ever in the healthcare industry, and voice AI technology could create a safer environment for patients and workers. Healthcare companies looking to provide great patient experiences and productive, satisfied employees can consider the benefits of embedded voice AI technology. 

Voice AI for better hygiene in hospitality

The hospitality industry prides itself on exceptional visitor experiences, hygienic stays, and personalized visits. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in setbacks for hotels, planes, and, especially, cruise ships, but with the help of voice AI technology, guests can be reassured of hygienic and safety measures while experiencing the best in convenience, luxury, and personalization

With the help of voice AI technology, guests can be reassured of hygienic and safety measures while experiencing the best in convenience, luxury, and personalization. 

In hotels, touchless control of lights, curtains, door locks, TVs, and other entertainment devices can allow guests to avoid high-contact surfaces while achieving their tasks with more speed and efficiency. A voice-enabled smart TV with access to the cloud can also answer questions about the weather, local points of interest, reservations, and room service. 

Stays can also be personalized with preferences set for extra towels, blankets, pillows, room temperature, room service, or a variety of other needs. For increased privacy, information in embedded voice assistants can be stored locally without being uploaded to the cloud, and guests could also have the option to delete the cache before leaving.

For cruise ships, custom content domains could be created for on-ship events or for passengers to book excursions or search for on-ship amenities. With no access to the internet while at sea, edge voice assistants are an especially relevant option, where ships could then connect to a local network once at port. 

Hybrid voice user interfaces in QSRs

QSRs provide great customer service when they’re fast, efficient, accurate, and hygienic. Voice assistants can improve all of these aspects by taking orders and freeing up staff to focus on meal prep and other essential tasks. QSRs have many opportunities to use voice AI to improve their customer experiences. Voice assistants can take orders through many devices, including: 

  • Drive-ins
  • Drive-thrus
  • Kiosks
  • Phone ordering systems

Already, companies like Mastercard are taking advantage of voice-enabled drive-thrus to great success, increasing order accuracy and speed. Voice-enabled kiosks are a wonderful way to increase hygiene and allow customers to ask for what they want naturally and conversationally, even if they don’t know where it is on the menu. 

Already, companies like Mastercard are taking advantage of voice-enabled drive thus to great success, increasing order accuracy and speed. 

By having a voice assistant take orders through a phone ordering system, every call is answered promptly and recorded accurately. Calls can even be personalized to recognize frequent callers based on the phone number and remembering their favorite meals. 

Interested in learning more about voice-enabled phone ordering systems for restaurants and QSRs? Check out the video below. 

More voice-enabled devices

Beyond specific industries, embedded and edge voice AI technology is also revolutionizing many other devices. Devices that are either in public spaces, requiring many people to operate it by touch, or devices that can improve the user experience through hands-free operation are beginning to experience the benefits of embedded voice assistants. 

Some of these devices include: 

  • Hearables and wearables
  • Elevators
  • Vending machines
  • Self-service kiosks

In these devices, voice AI technology improves speed, efficiency, and hygiene. It also allows users to ask for what they want in a conversational, natural manner instead of engaging in a long series of buttons, types, or swipes to activate the device. 

Edge and embedded voice AI technology is presenting companies across industries with many possibilities on how to improve the experiences of their employees and customers. Those in manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, and QSRs are already transforming the way they approach product solutions with this technology. Companies wanting to stay ahead of the competition should consider the benefits of edge voice assistants before competitors jump on the trend too.

Want to know more about voice assistants on the edge? SoundHound recently published a guide, Discovering Possibilities of Voice Assistants on the Edge, that discusses edge voice assistants as a product solution across industries and a way to increase functionality, accessibility, and privacy.

At SoundHound Inc., we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore SoundHound’s independent voice AI platform at SoundHound.com and register for a free account here. Want to learn more? Talk to us about how we can help bring your voice strategy to life.

Kristen is a content writer with a passion for storytelling and marketing. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking, reading, and spending time with her nieces and nephew.

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