Multilingual AI Assistants Boost Voice Tech Appeal Despite Uneven Adoption

Is your smart voice assistant speaking your language?

With how technology is fast evolving, the likelihood of that answer being “yes” grows stronger with each passing day.

As PYMNTS Intelligence noted in “Preparing for a Voice Commerce Future Report: Gen AI Raises the Bar on Consumer Expectations for Smart Voice Assistants,” today’s digital consumer is seeking smarter, simpler, and more connected routines, and evolving voice technology has the potential to meet these needs.

In fact, 63% of U.S. consumers want an artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant to help with everyday tasks and are willing to pay up to $120 a year to have a reliable and smart voice assistant that enables them to complete tasks faster, easier and more efficiently. 

This interest in AI-powered voice assistants is not limited to the United States alone. Take Yasmina, an Arabic-speaking smart voice assistant, for instance. 

Recently unveiled in the United Arab Emirates and expected to hit stores by Q1 2024, the AI assistant, developed by global tech firm Yango, is able to crack jokes in Arabic, understand different regional dialects, and provide culturally nuanced responses, according to a Tuesday (Oct. 17) news release

Yasmina’s other capabilities include Arabic speech recognition, text-to-speech conversion, and the ability to comprehend specific regional commands such as reciting the Azan (the Islamic call to prayer) and providing information related to the Hijri calendar.

With its introduction, Yasmina highlights the expanding role of voice technology on a global scale, highlighting the potential benefits a multilingual smart voice assistant, capable of understanding local context and regional nuances, can bring to today’s global consumer who is increasingly seeking smarter, simpler, and more connected routines.

Voice Tech Adoption Uneven

While voice technology continues to gain global appeal for its speed and convenience, it still faces limitations

According to findings detailed in “How Consumers Want to Live in the Voice Economy,” voice tech adoption remains uneven as consumers aim to balance convenience with trust as concerns regarding data inaccuracies and potential security breaches that might compromise sensitive information act as deterrents to using voice technology for more complex functions.

These sophisticated tasks, such as initiating a bank account or scheduling a doctor’s appointment, often require the divulgence of personal and financial data. Only a small fraction of consumers, specifically 11% and 13% respectively, express willingness to employ voice technology for such purposes.

Despite the current reservations, there’s an anticipation that as voice technology advances, consumer confidence in its capacity to handle complex tasks with reduced risk will grow. 

In fact, 60% of U.S. consumers believe voice assistants like Yasmina will eventually match human intelligence and reliability and 46% of this group expects this advancement to occur within the next five years, per the study. This belief is particularly pronounced among millennials and high-income consumers who typically set technological trends.