More mobile workers say 'yes' to voice control, finds Forrester

Voice control continues to face hurdles to widespread adoption

More than one-third of 1,611 information workers with smartphones surveyed by Forrester Research use voice recognition to perform their tasks.

Around 11 percent of respondents said they use voice recognition "all the time" or "regularly," while a majority describe themselves as "occasional" users.

A majority of those who use voice recognition use it to send text messages, 46 percent use voice for searches, 40 percent use it for navigation, and 38 percent use voice recognition to take notes.

"Overall, our survey shows that a sizable percentage of workers are starting to embrace voice command. Yet it will be some time before voice controls join keyboards and mice as computing mainstays," wrote J.P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, in a blog.

Gownder argued that technical hurdles continue to impede the use of voice recognition for work. First, voice control and intelligent assistants are "pawns" in the operating system wars between Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), so that users get different experiences depending on the OS they have.

Second, even with the same OS--that is, Android--manufacturers offer different voice control experiences. "Samsung S Voice offers a different experience from Google Now, though both can be used on a Samsung smartphone. This is exactly the kind of duplication that could confuse users," Gownder argued.

Third, there is a distinct lack of continuity across device types. For example, Apple does not offer Siri on the Mac and only recently added it to the iPad. Microsoft offers voice control for the Xbox One, but this is different from what it offers on its Windows platform.

"Expect voice control and intelligent assistants to continue to grow in popularity among workers and consumers. But expect speed bumps along the way as a variety of vendors compete to craft our voice controlled computing future," Gownder concluded.

For more:
- read Gownder's blog

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