smart device icons

The rise of the smart assistant

OK Google, tell Alexa to ask Siri to remind Bixby…

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a weird and wonderful aspect of our modern society. The IoT refers to all the devices we use that are connected to the internet that collect and share data.

And it’s MASSIVE.

It goes way beyond your phone and computer! Cheap processors and our ever-expanding wireless networks have given birth to an astonishing range of devices, gadgets, tools and doodads used for personal and professional purposes across the world.

Here’s a short list of some of the devices of the IoT:

  • Phones
  • Tablets
  • Computers
  • Smart watches
  • Any device that’s part of a smart home network (light bulbs, fridges, thermostats, doorbell cameras, TV remote controls, toothbrushes, security cameras, door locks, air conditioners, scales, vacuums…) the list is endless! 
  • Blood pressure and heart rate monitors
  • Cars
  • Military and aviation devices

In fact, smart clothing is already here! Google have collaborated with Levi’s to develop a range of smart clothing that integrates with your phone. You can use gestures and features of the jacket to control certain functions on your phone, like a smart watch.

One of the biggest aspects of the ever-evolving Internet of Things is smart assistants. Google, Alexa, Siri, Bixby, Cortana… there’s a bunch of them and they’re starting to appear in more and more devices. Smart assistants have a range of purposes, but to keep it simple, they’re a piece of software than can perform tasks or services for an individual based on voice prompts.

You have your standalone smart assistants like Amazon’s Echo Dot & Echo smart speakers with Alexa, Google’s Home Mini, Home & Home Hub with Google Assistant, but that’s just the start.

Smart assistants are now being installed into a range of regular household and personal items and some of them are just weird.

Take for example, the Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet. Yes, that’s right – a smart toilet. This monstrously expensive bathroom ornament has mood lighting, surround sound, automatically opens, flushes and closes and has individual user profiles. Where does Alexa fit in? Choosing your music settings and ordering more toilet paper, obviously.

The rise of the smart assistant

Smart assistants have been around for a while now and they’re already changing the way we look for information, find new brands or products and even how spend our money. Instead of typing “show me a recipe for chocolate cake” or “where is the nearest GP to me” in your favourite search engine, smart assistants allow you to ask the question using your voice, which is especially helpful when your hands are busy and you can ask one of your smart assistant enabled devices.

A white paper by iProspect in 2018 found that 57% of Australian respondents had adopted voice search and the numbers only get higher for other countries. iProspect Asia Pacific CEO Joanna Catalano said:

The transformative impact of voice technology is being felt across the globe. Brands that aren’t reacting to this burgeoning technology risk becoming invisible sooner than they think across key customer touch points. This piece of research explores the proliferation of voice technology across the region and key considerations for brands when crafting a voice strategy.

The change in the way consumer’s look for information has changed the way brands present and market their goods or services. Any business with a website should be using SEO techniques, but with the rise of smart assistants, it’s vital for brands to adapt their top-level marketing strategy and their SEO strategy.

Google has been working with large brands to help them develop a voice technology strategy. One of the first things Google asks its clients is:

Consider the kind of explicit or specific phrases consumers might use when they’re searching, such as “Play the Today Show” or “Give me a recipe for roast chicken.” Equally important to think about, however, are open-ended or implicit commands, like “I want to watch TV” or “What should I have for dinner?”

How can brands take advantage of voice search?

Taking a customer-first approach and building web experiences for question-based queries is the best strategy brands can use to ensure they’re getting a good piece of the voice search pie.

Collecting good quality data is key here. You don’t want to make the mistake of optimising your content for what you think your customers are searching for. Set up quality analytics tools, start collecting data on what your target audience and website visitors are searching for so you can optimise your content for what you know your customers are searching for.

Once you’re collecting the right data, you’ll start to notice are telling you exactly what they’re searching for. Search queries like “where is”, “near me” and “what” give you further insight into exactly what information someone is looking for and how you can help give it to them.

Get on board the voice search train

Voice search has already become a regular tool of consumer’s shopping and decision-making process. People are using it to find information on businesses, services, products and even content they’re interested in and smart assistant are being installed into more and more devices.

Have a look at your website content – does it align with the questions people are asking about your products or services? If not, it’s time to collect some data and create some new content.

Or, repeat this line: “Ok Google/Alexa, call Lion & Lamb so they can help me with my website.”