A new report from the Innovation Group London shows brands how to thrive in a voice-activated world.

There has always been something that gets in the way of our relationship with technology: the keyboard, the mouse, the screen. We’re now ready for the most natural and intuitive form of interaction —the voice. It’s time for humanity and technology to Speak Easy.

Speak Easy is a trends and insight report, carried out in equal partnership between J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group London and Mindshare Futures, which explores voice technology and its implications for brands.

Speak Easy was created in partnership with Mindshare Futures and Neuro-Insight, a neuroscience research agency. The study is the first to dive into consumers’ cognitive response to voice technology, as well as behavioral insights based on a survey of 1,002 UK smartphone owners aged 18+ and 100 Amazon Echo owners from SONAR™, J. Walter Thompson’s proprietary research tool.

Left: Amazon Echo dot. Right: iTranslate.

The rise of a voice-activated world will allow us to get closer and more intimate with technology. Voice interaction will redefine not just how we live our lives, but the digital advertising landscape and how brands reach consumers.

Hello Egg cooking assistant.

Key findings from the report include:

– 72% of regular voice users think brands should have unique voices and personalities for their apps, rather than using the default assistant
– 53% of smartphone users already  believe “it would be easier if technology could speak back to me”
– 36% of regular voice users say they love their voice assistant so much they wish it were a real person
– Consumers recorded twice the amount of emotional brain activity when asking a brand a question versus typing it

Lenovo Smart Assistant

Trends highlighted in the report include:

Trend 1: Voice to encourage more human interaction

Already 43% of smartphone users think voice technology will free us up from our dependency on the mobile to allow us to interact more with the world around us.

Trend 2: Consumers want to give up control to “Digital Butlers”

Voice assistants will start to take on a more prominent role, managing consumers’ lives proactively, making decisions independently and will essentially evolve into “digital butlers.”

Trend 3: Consumers seek an intimate relationship with their voice assistant 

When it comes to privacy concerns, data gathering is making some users nervous.

Trend 4: Voice is less mentally draining than touch or typing devices

With voice being less cognitively draining, it will become an increasingly attractive proposition for consumers who feel overwhelmed by technology.

Download the full report here. 

Aleksandra Kingo and Daniel Thomas Smith for Hunger Magazine.