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A New Content Horizon - How Voice Assistants Are Redefining Insight With Andrei Gudiu

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Voice assistance is growing in popularity thanks in part to integration in Apple, Android mobile devices and home-bound Alexa products. Interactions have become smoother but also meaningful with these devices as advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and more human-like voice reproduction. Audio to consume content is rising. According to Insider Intelligence, in 2022 around 123 million Americans relied on digital voice technologies at least once per month – a large cohort, given the short time frame.

As AI is further integrated into voice technology, the sci-fi like experience of a computer that helps but also solves problems is very much on the continuum of development – but much more work is needed. Businesses from all sectors around the world, are likely to see the technology mature to provide new ways of working, collaborating, and engaging with content.

“For investment research, there is a new frontier of technology and development that can greatly enhance and supplement the productivity of analysts. Over the coming years, the market will see vastly improved integration but also novel ways to incorporate audio assistance in our daily working lives” said Andrei Gudiu, Chief Technology Officer at BlueMatrix.

For finance and banking, voice-based services can extend far beyond a virtual assistant but can also perform automated tasks and passive interactions that are not possible with other immersive tasks. While reading is often faster, it does over time, fatigue the user – whereas voice is becoming an intuitive method to immerse oneself in content.

As users are having more screen time than ever before, assistive technology needs to become a lived experience which promotes accessibility to the widest range of people while also promoting equitable outcomes. Combined with a changing idea of the meaning of work in a post-pandemic era, how we think, move, learn and see content will change and how it is consumed.

Information overload or content niches

A common misconception is that voice assistance is now amongst many other pieces of technology and forms of communications competing for attention. It is true that the average user has a mobile device, tablet, laptops, desktops, smart watches and other pieces of tech, but people are ever evolving and finding new uses for all mediums and communication channels.

Users are ingenious at finding niches that work for themselves, their business, clients, and those close to them. The desire to communicate in more complex methods has never ceased and it is highly probable that new tech and methods to consume content will take hold and blend together.

A parallel trend is how podcasting has completely taken off as viable alternative media source for professionals and financial institutions. The humble hobbyist is now comfortably sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with household names in finance, law, and even governments. A rare sight 10 years ago is now accepted media practice.

With the added ability to select voice assistance we are in fact choosing to editorialise the information that is available to us. With each new communication form there are natural upsides. For audio, the benefits are still yet to be fully realised.

Searchable audio with spoken instruction

A solution to preventing information overload is leveraging the power of machine learning and AI with that of audio. Having finance professionals to skim through huge amounts of text with a voice command does save time but also cuts through the noise. Again, with AI, the possibility to give combined commands, to analyse multiple earning reports while also looking for keyword frequency is immensely powerful and is on track to change how we think about financial analysis.

Anything audio related is expensive and difficult to search

It was once lamented that depending on the type of audio content you are creating, it can be time consuming to produce, edit and polish your content. Today, this is simply not the case, as voice assisted technology is the culmination of software automation along with audio integration. Both of which are becoming ever more cost-effective in part due to mass-user adoption.

The technology to integrate text-to-speech alongside long articles is now commonplace and is readily seen on many consumer level websites. Blogging platform Medium, which is used by millions and high-profile individuals alike, allows for seamless playback of an article – all without a person in the loop.

For finance professional the real cost advantages take hold when being able to search through multiple data sources that were previously unavailable via text – which is invaluable.

Enriching content sources ideal for voice assistants

Until very recently, the number of searchable text sources were limited in part to the technology and how the original content was codified.

Non-written content, like speeches, conferences, interviews, TV reports, and more, the ability to skim through thousands of hours was impossible. Now, with powerful services running in the background that are accurately and quickly converting this material into transcripts, voice assistance is now able to function like a search engine, opening many more sources of rich content.

Similarly, even PDFs were frequently “unsearchable” through services like Google due to the nature of the technology and how the content inside the file was compiled. Once a document was made and then shared online, the content within became lost to search engines.

Rich content sources along with voice assistance more than makes up for the cost, especially during parts of year that are crucial to financial professionals – like earnings season – where time is money.

We have come a long way with much more to travel

The journey of voice assistance and deeply embedded audio is one that is very much at the beginning of its work-place entrance. As user adoption increases, and habits form around these new content sources, the ability to harness the power of audio in daily work and research will only grow ever stronger.