The success of Amazon Echo and Google Home proves that the interactions we have with machines are in turmoil. It is now time for advertisers and media to embrace this new technology. Positioning oneself now on these interfaces is crucial in several respects: the “media war” that threatens, the need to enhance existing content and the opportunity to create a specific and interactive experience thought for the voice interface.
TOWARDS A MEDIA WAR?
Many media have not yet realized the importance of being on Amazon Echo and Google Home. This is a mistake… Indeed, unlike a smartphone, which sends us notifications one after the other, smart speakers have a different logic and mode of operation… Thus, Google has already started to make partnerships with some French radios: these stations are placed among the first choices of its devices, and are installed in priority by users. Note that changing a preference includes a change in the settings of the voice assistant itself, which can be a significant brake in terms of experience. As the voice becomes the remote control of the machine, the interactions as a whole must be fluid, clear and easy, and the content adapted.
ENHANCEMENT OF EXISTING CONTENT
The media already have a lot of content that could be used or reused on voice interfaces. As far as written articles are concerned, it would be enough for them to be read to make them usable. To do this, several solutions exist:
- text-to-speech: the text is read by the vocal assistant, but the result can turn out to be monotonous, notably because of a very robotic voice and the non-observance of punctuation, which induces certain pauses and intonations in the reading – and these are crucial indications for the listener for a good understanding and assimilation of the contents.
- Have journalists read the texts: the primary benefit is to identify the content with a familiar, known voice. It does, however, require more resources, time and people.
As far as audio or radio content is concerned, the adaptations are much less restrictive, and most could be used as is.
Voice interfaces open up a new field of possibilities in terms of interactivity, particularly through audio reports, thanks to which it is possible to create an immersive environment to deliver information, thus making it more concrete. So we could imagine that for a football World Cup story, the background sound would be similar to the sounds that can be heard at the game or in a bar full of fans. These details could allow listeners to project themselves into this situation and thus be more sensitive to the information.
Voice interfaces represent a real challenge for the media industry, because even if the use of voice assistants is not yet fully democratized, it is important for newsrooms to position themselves and think about opportunities now – all the more so as a technological investment at a lower cost could position the media that are interested as true pioneers…