Last week Salesforce made a multitude of announcements, but the latest one is probably the most exciting one. The company has announced it will be releasing Einstein Voice- a verbal conversational interface. The two products Einstein Voice Bots (EVB) and Einstein Voice Assistant (EVA) are set to be released in Summer 2019 and as a pilot in Winter 2019 with no general release date available yet for the latter.
Salesforce is promising a new conversational CRM. So what does that actually mean? Well in the ideal scenario it means that a Sales professional will only need to talk to the smart speaker or Salesforce Mobile App to perform tasks that they would have needed to do by typing.
Salesforce’s Co-Founder and CTO, Parker Harris stated: “We’re in the midst of an incredible technological shift, where the power of voice is fundamentally changing the way we work. Einstein Voice will usher in a new era of conversational CRM, delivering new levels of productivity and redefining customer experiences with voice technology.”
Already a reality, voice interfaces aren’t without issues however. A good typing speed is considered to be 55 words per minute, while the average speaker says around 150 words per minute. By that logic, voice interfaces should increase productivity three fold, but the issue arises when the system is unable to understand a voice successfully. The challenge comes when the system is faced with background noise and various accents and dialects.
In the U.S it’s been found that 1 in 5 adults have smart speakers in the homes, however the quality varies greatly. Furthermore, Capgemini predicts that 40% of consumers will use voice technology over websites and apps to do a range of activities by 2021. With the release of Einstein Voice that is certainly attainable but, how well it will work remains to be seen. For it to work well users will need to have the correct microphone, a great speech to text engine and an AI that can tell the difference between comments and commands.
Einstein Voice Assistant
The company has long been gearing towards this major step forward with Einstein already delivering more than 3 million predictions daily. The system is continuously learning and the upcoming months will see it get even smarter.
Einstein Voice Assistant will be delivering a verbal conversational UI to Salesforce users and these are the main tree areas targeted during the initial roll out phase:
Interactive Salesforce dashboards: The company has developed the correct language in order for a verbal interface to drill down into information on dashboards. This basically means that the current text-based solutions is merely turned into a voice activated one. However, when it comes to meetings the ability to change focus to a new dashboard without having to use the awkward keyboard will be welcomed.
Update Salesforce conversationally: Salesforce is promising the introduction of a true voice interface which can interpret requests to perform actions and update information on records straight from a mobile device or a desktop.
Personalised Daily Briefings: These are essentially brief business podcasts that include details of KPIs and other areas that require attention. This is a clever hands-free start to the day particularly for users that are better audibly than visually. Within their press release, Salesforce state that the briefing is daily but there appears to be no reason why it couldn’t be repeated later, therefore keeping those on the road up to date.
Einstein Voice Bots
There currently isn’t a generally intelligent AI, so the new Einstein Bots will leverage existing bot knowledge and architecture and make it voice interactive. There are clear advantages to this, particularly in industries such as cell centres. If used, a voice bot can front end service calls and collect much of the information before handing the call through to a member of the team.
The company is making it easier for organisations to deliver focus solutions with Einstein Voice Bots. Organisations will be able to customise their bots and they can be created for specific environments where a knowledge base already exists. Users can program workflows using clicks rather than code which bots can follow. This means that the need for developers will be greatly reduced and there’ll be an increase in flexibility should requirements change.
Salesforce has stated that companies can brand voice bots to your all users’ respective companies, however it seems like it’s less about branding and more about customisation. Therefore, users will be able to build their own bots using the Einstein Bot Platform and integrate these to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
What does it mean?
It seems that this is the next logical step for Salesforce. The company will demonstrate Einstein Voice in their Einstein Keynote on Wednesday 26th of September. The initial feedback from pilot roll-outs should determine how successful this new venture will be. What it’s success rate will be however, it is probably only a matter of time until your business could reap the benefits of voice interaction with business software.
This will also mean that Salesforce CRM could become more accessible and while it may not mean the death of typing yet, we are edging closer to that possibility.