Blog Posts
Talking Wearables

Nike, Apple, Samsung, Google, Adidas, Sony, and LG, these are some of the most valuable companies in the world. So what do these industry leaders have in common? Wearable devices. Their investments in computerized accessories are sensible, since Juniper Research expects worldwide spending on wearable technology to jump from $1.4 billion this year, to $19 billion by 2018.

The miniaturized technology no longer focuses solely on health and fitness. Consumers are demanding more capabilities from these devices, particularly the use of voice commands. Wearables will be used for everything from conducting a local search to checking the weather.

As of September 2014, 55% of US teen and 41% of adult smartphone owners reported daily use of voice search via personal assistants.  That percentage has grown dramatically from June 2014 when the adult daily usage was only 24% (eMarketer). The adoption of voice as the key method of input is intuitive and most likely here to stay, especially since the devices themselves are getting smaller and smaller.

Recently, Cecilia Abadie of the wearable fitness platform LynxFit, said, “Every new hardware, every new software, will have to add this new layer, voice, because users will require this.” Consumers are beginning to embrace voice as a key input method because of the simplicity of speaking to Siri, Google Now, or Cortana for quick answers.

Wearable manufacturers are adjusting to this new demand, allowing consumers to dictate messages, set alarms and reminders, make phone calls, and ask for directions, all using voice commands. There may be certain restrictions to how these user interfaces develop.  For example, a user may need to carry a smartphone when requesting an action from a wearable, since the device may require a Bluetooth connection in order to work. Dependencies like this will most likely change over time since consumers will expect that wearables work independently from their phones.

With consumers expecting more personal interaction through voice, the wearable industry will need to introduce “speech kits” for the application developer community.   This includes more developer APIs that allow voice to be the go-to input for user access.  Soleo understands the need for this industry development and will work with its partners to allow for this exciting new access to occur.