“When people talk about “the next big thing,” they’re never thinking big enough.”
—Daniel Burrus, Business Strategist, Global Futurist and author (See complete article).

The author of this article states that this is not due to an inability to imagine where things are heading, but rather that it is a question of lack of observation.

According to the World Economic Forum, we are on the verge of another technological revolution that is deeply changing the ways in which we live, interact with each other and work. These changes will be unlike anything we have experienced before in terms of scale, scope and complexity. Stakeholders from all sectors – private, public, academic, business and government are working towards creating an integrated system that embraces the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

In the First Industrial Revolution, water and steam power were used to mechanize production. In the Second, electric power was applied to achieve mass production and the Third applied electronics and IT to automate production. Now, a Fourth Industrial Revolution is developing, a spawn of the Third.

Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey

The digital revolution, which started in the mid-twentieth century, saw the birth of the first synthetic speech engines. They underwent continuous evolution before achieving the maturity that enables the lifelike standards text to speech software market leaders offer today. When the very first TTS voices were deployed, Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey was incredibly advanced compared to the robotic voices only a chosen few had access to.

Today, high quality TTS software makes the speech interface so natural-sounding, it’s actually difficult to distinguish a human voice from high quality text to speech voices such as those from rSpeak.

We’re witnessing the dawn of an era in which a fusion of technologies is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and the biological.

The buzz is all about the Internet of Things (or IoT). To put it simply, increased machine-to-machine (or device-to-device) communication that leverages cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors, mobile, virtual, and instant connectivity. The objective is for the “things” we use on a daily basis to be made “smart” using sensors, which are part of an information exchange system. The data gathered by “smart things” is integrated within an infrastructure that can analyse massive volumes of data in real time so they can enhance our day-to-day lives.

Because processing takes place in the cloud, the apps and devices in the IoT are always available to us, regardless of our location. The emphasis is on intuitive, comprehensive real-time service.

Calling back during office hours is no longer acceptable. Moreover, the sheer volume of data makes fruition via visual interface rather overwhelming. Thus the logical choice is the speech interface, the most user-friendly way for smart “things” to communicate with humans.

According to a report published by Gartner earlier this year, “the Internet of Things […] will create unprecedented opportunities and challenges for industry CIOs.” The leading information technology research and advisory company forecasts “the existence of 21 billion connected things by 2020. Vertical-specific things (that is, applications developed for or tailored to specific industries, such as retail, manufacturing and transportation) will nearly triple in the same time frame — from 1 billion in 2015 to 2.9 billion in 2020. Adoption will occur across all industry sectors.”

The report refers to a massive, almost infinite array of conceivable use cases and states that “29% of organizations have already implemented the IoT, and (…) another 14% are planning to implement the IoT in 2016. This indicates that the technology will be solidly in early mainstream business adoption by 2017.”

A key notion emerging from this research is that “improving customer experience” will be the most popular as well as the most common benefit being pursued”.

The IoT is becoming a critical factor in digital business transformation. Companies across all verticals have digital marketing strategies in place and focus on engaging customers across various connected channels to optimize how they interact with them.

The report states that, “business model innovation and the creation of new value and nonhuman customers/”things” characterize the next phase, which is digital business. The IoT can play a pivotal role in digital business” […] some manufacturers are aiming to transform their business model from selling equipment to charging for the use of equipment as measured by embedded IoT. Other manufacturers are looking to the IoT for automated identification of customers and their preferences using beacon technology (for areas like banking and retail).”

Join us in the near future to explore use cases in which high-quality text to speech has a role to play in the IoT. If you’re nurturing a project that involves the IoT and would like rSpeak to make your user interface more relatable, please click here to contact us about rSpeak’s innovative text to speech voices.