The Era of Voice
The Great Generation saw the rise of the radio and the telephone; Baby Boomers reveled in the proliferation of television; GenX and (some) millennials bore witness to the birth of the Internet; Today’s generation will be forever changed by the ‘rise of voice.’
Smart speaker, or voice assistant adoption into the American household has occurred at breakneck speed. Faster, in fact, than any other technological advancement in history. In just under five years since they launched (Amazon’s Echo launched in 2014), close to 50% of households in America have a voice assistant somewhere in their home. Some have two, or more.
Synthetic, AI and Human Voice Converge
Along with technological advancements in voice activated and integrated technology, have come a wave of synthetic and artificial intelligent (AI) voices, such as Apple’s Siri.
As the largest online marketplace for audio and voice recordings, we have been actively tracking and involved in conversations regarding all forms of voice.
Today, synthetic and AI voices are offering companies and brands an option that is complementary to human voice over, the latter of which remains distinct in its value proposition and versatility.
Brands Expand into the Audio Medium
The brand applications for voice are expanding, just as the channels for voice interaction are expanding, too. Branded podcasts, audio-driven games, Flash Briefings, Alexa Skills, and audio blogs are just some of the ways that companies are carving their way into the world’s diverse auditory channels.
Because of this opportunity, now is a time when many companies are realizing the importance of defining their brand voice in a way that is literal, and iterative. For instance, brands need to know what their sound profile is – from musical cues or ‘sound marks’ that may evoke an everlasting emotional association – all the way through the different expressions of their brand voice, such as in commercials, podcasts, over their customer service IVR, and more.
These are some of the first steps to embarking into our new audio-driven world.
With so many consumers opting to use voice-first technology, brands that don’t devise an audio presence as well as a content strategy could be left in the dust.
A Time of Opportunity for Voice Actors
Historically, technological advancements have always created more jobs than they’ve destroyed – and the surge in synthetic and AI voice is no different.
The opportunities for voice actors to partake in the creation of both static and dynamic audio content are vast, and growing.
Dynamic and Static Voice Applications
Dynamic voice applications indicate that there is a bi-directional, or two-way interaction with the end user. For instance, the user is asking questions, and the voice assistant is providing answers out loud. These interactive experiences are separate from static experiences, which are one-way, such as in the example of a podcast or audiobook.
Opportunities for Voice Actors with Dynamic Voice Applications
One of the first challenges that a developer or publisher may face when creating dynamic voice applications, is that it’s difficult to anticipate what the user will say, and therefore, how your device should answer. For this reason and more, synthetic voices have offered a more suitable voicing option, allowing an app to reply with an infinite array of possible responses as it pulls from a database of text-based options that are converted to computerized voice in real-time.
The creation of synthetic and AI voices almost always require that a human voice be supplied first to form the foundation of the app’s vocal database. This is an emerging line of work for voice actors and could signal great opportunity, as more and more brands and technologies seek to develop their own branded synthetic voices, as well as source voices for Alexa Skills and other voice assistant apps.
Opportunities for Voice Actors with Static Voice Applications
On the other end of the spectrum are applications for voice that require a pure custom voice over. Some of these are linked to the proliferation of audio content, which has been made possible thanks to the adoption of home devices. For example, consumption of podcasts continues to grow, as more and more people are enabled to listen to them.
With static voice applications, all of the vocal interactions are defined in a script. In that way, these kinds of jobs are not that different from any other voice over work, except that the channels for distribution may be more diverse and far reaching.
Now is a Time of Incredible Growth and Opportunity for All
Voices.com is committed to bringing the best audio and voice products and services to market, and we’re excited to be exploring how the new world of synthetic and AI can complement our core business.
We are in the ‘next wave,’ in the evolution of computing, which has taken us from typing, to tapping on touch screens to talking directly to our devices. In some instances, we’re even having conversations.
This is a time in our history that will be well-remembered and well-documented, as businesses adapt to a new, audio-driven world. We’re so excited for you, our client and voice actor customers, to join us on this continued journey.