The hottest thing in technology for the last few years has been digital assistants. Artificial intelligence has found its way into our office spaces, homes, and even our pockets. Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and OK Google are just some of the products offered. For many within the tech industry, it is extremely exciting to see where they can go.
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For consumers, the reaction has been a little more diverse.
A recent study from Creative Strategies sought to find how customers actually felt about using digital assistants. They ran two studies: one on 1300 Alexa early adopters and one on 500 mainstream consumers who used smartphone-based assistants.
Of the participants, 21% of the panel never used Siri, 34% never used OK Google, and a whopping 72% have never used Cortana. When you look into those details further, only 2% of iPhone users have never used Siri and 4% of Android users have never used OK Google. However, it was found that most of the time (70% for Siri and 62% for OK Google), they only used the features rarely or "sometimes."
Interestingly, the study asked when people used their phones and found out that 39% used them at home, 51% in the car, 1.3% at work, and 6% in public.
Now, the first obvious conclusion could be that consumers are embracing this technology in cars because it allows them to be safer while they drive - safer from both law enforcement and actually getting hurt. Most of those who used the technology probably didn't use CarPlay or Android Auto because of the cost. Those who used iPhone were more likely to use Siri in the car over Android users using OK Google in a margin of 62% to 37%.
A large number - 20% - of consumers said that they felt uncomfortable talking to their technology in public. As low as 3% of iPhone users will talk to Siri. This is a bit strange when you consider that some people don't have a problem talking very loudly on their phones - and remember when you could use your phone like a walkie-talkie? This was huge only in the United States as other countries thought it to be undignified.
Cultural differences really impacted how voice assistants are viewed. For instance, Android users are more likely to use the technology in public, perhaps because they have used similar technology in the past.
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Still, we are working toward a world where talking to your technology is going to be normal, so we might as well all get used to it now. There's no turning back with how far we've come.