SINGAPORE: Voice technology could be the next big opportunity for brands, particularly in countries such as China and Singapore, according to a new study.

In a survey carried out by JWT and Kantar Insight, China was identified as an emerging leader: 42% of all Chinese smartphone users said that voice technology makes them more efficient.

And regular voice users stated the top drivers as convenience (52%), doing away with the need to type (48%), and the simplicity of use (46%). (For more details, read WARC’s report: Five ways brands can use voice technology in Asia.)

“Typing in Chinese, as we all know, is difficult and much slower than it is in English, and that is why you see the trend of voice technologies somewhat more prevalent in China,” explained Ida Siow, Head of Planning for Singapore & South East Asia at J. Walter Thompson.

A more convenient user experience is one major attraction for voice tech users in the country, with instant voice verification. China’s internet giants, including search engine Baidu, have already released voice-first technologies to capitalise on the trend.

“A lot of people are migrating to using voice on WeChat. So other than chatting and texting, you are recording your own voice and then listening to your voice back,” Siow said.

Consumers in China and Singapore are also excited about the prospect of voice technology to make their lives easier: 64% of Chinese smartphone users surveyed and 55% of smartphone users surveyed from Singapore would also like their voice assistants to anticipate their needs by offering suggestions or taking action.

The trend is already being adopted by brands in these markets. KFC China teamed up with Baidu last year to take food orders in-store with the help of an AI robot. Meanwhile OCBC Bank launched voice biometrics in Singapore last year, enhancing its customer experience by enabling ease of authenticating banking requests via their unique voiceprints.

“Rather than ask ten security questions, it cuts the verification process by half a minute,” Siow said of OCBC's initiative.

“You get a sense of the potential when you take out the friction; when you are not making an artificial conversation but one that is seamless, that's simple.”

Sourced from WARC