Artist's rendition of voice recognition

Voice Recognition Expands Across Healthcare and Transportation

July 23, 2021
Voice recognition has gained momentum within key application areas like digital banking, automotive control, healthcare, and consumer electronics.

What you’ll learn:

  • Why is voice recognition emerging as a key consumer technology?
  • How are the healthcare and BFSI sectors benefiting from voice recognition?
  • What are some recent developments in automotive voice recognition?

Speech or voice is now being widely used as a driver to get various function to operate, be it sending a message to somebody through smartphone, changing the temperature of the room, or other similar actions. And, with boomers and the Gen-Z population going deep into the technological world, voice recognition becomes as an ideal way of getting the things done.

What makes voice recognition more special is that it allows disabled people to carry out activities with ease, without needing external help. About 15% of the global population lives with some sort of disability, as stated by WHO, prompting various companies to tap the space with novel products embedded with voice-recognition technology.

In December 2020, Voiceitt, a pioneer in commercial speech recognition for atypical speech, declared making Amazon Alexa accessible for people with disabilities. While working closely with Amazon, Voiceitt plans to bring the power of voice computing to people who need it the most. While the technology could do a lot right from assisting a tech-naïve to a person with disability, it’s also being used to detect asymptomatic COVID-19.

Globally, the voice-recognition market is set to exceed an overall valuation of $7 billion by 2026.

Detecting COVID with MIT’s Model

Coronavirus, which has claimed millions of lives, is being tackled with a different level of detection technique—diagnosis through voice recognition. How? In late 2020, computer scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology came up with an idea of using sound analysis to detect SARS-CoV2 infection through a mobile application.

During the initial study, it was observed that with subjects detected using an official COVID diagnostic test, the proposed model achieves sensitivity of 98.5%. However, for patients with no symptoms, the application achieves a sensitivity of 100% with a specificity of 83.2%.

In a report published in IEEE, the MIT researchers mentioned that the application is being developed by an AI technique that’s able to produce real-time, free, and non-invasive COVID-19 asymptomatic screening to enhance the current approaches in containing the spread of the injection. Although the novel app can be used to test students, office employees, and workers on a daily basis, its authenticity and efficiency is still questionable.

Convenience Meets Security with Voice Recognition 

The banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) industry worldwide is currently struggling with increasing identity theft and fraud cases. In fact, in 2020, about 15% of the identity theft reports included more than one type of identity theft. This has led to enormous losses for financial institutions, pushing them to implement new technologies and securely authenticate user identity.

In this regard, voice recognition turning into the go-to option, enabling industry players to increase the accuracy of detecting a person/organization with fraudulent intentions. The proliferation of voice-recognition technologies in banking could very well be attributed to Westpac’s 2018 implementation of Apple’s Siri, which facilitates making payments through voice-activated features.

As per company officials, the bank announced the extension of its mobile banking application for iPhone users, enabling customers to link their transaction account, check the account balance, and make payments to pre-existing payees through Siri.

Automotive Digital Voice Assistance

While experiments with voice recognition in the vehicle goes back decades, the first real application in the contemporary world was the 2001 BMW 7 Series with the iDrive. In addition to the central rotary controller, voice recognition was a primary element of the human-machine interface (HMI).

With rising sales of passenger and commercial vehicles worldwide, demand is expected to soar for voice-assistance systems. A report by Automotive World suggested that these systems are projected to be embedded in about 90% of new vehicles by 2028. And a number of tech giants are pushing hard to become the default assistant for diverse vehicles.

For instance, Spotify recently revealed that its new hardware device—the Car Thing voice-recognition system—could be used to revamp older systems in vehicles. The product features an LCD display and voice controls, allowing for easy music streaming.

Escalating demand for voice-recognition systems in vehicles is also making an impact throughout the European Union. The region held about 30% share of the global market in 2019, with leading automobile manufacturers exploring new avenues of integrating voice-interface software to augment the driver experience with connected cars.

For example, in September 2018, BMW unveiled an intelligent personal assistant in its cars, enabling users to take control of standard in-car features through voice commands.

This article appeared in Electronic Design.

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