More of us than ever are getting information—like weather forecasts, news headlines and sports updates—by asking for it with our human voice and getting the answer from an artificial one.
Nearly half of the U.S. adult population queries voice-assisted technology such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant each month, according to one study, and usage is skyrocketing. Just two years ago, says a survey, one out of 10 U.S. households owned a voice assistant home speaker; today, one in five U.S. adults has access to at least one. If you’re not using a voice assistant now, chances are you will be soon.
How GEICO Is Bringing This Technology To You
GEICO has been offering information via voice technology for a couple years. It started with features like paying a bill or asking for a transaction balance. But now, using the GEICO skill for Amazon Alexa and the GEICO Action for Google Assistant, you can do even more. Just say, for example, “Alexa, talk to GEICO,” and it starts to listen.
When fully operational, GEICO’s voice assistant will be able to:
- Find the nearest gas station or the one with the lowest prices nearby.
- Send out roadside assistance when you’ve got a flat tire or your car won’t start. (Add GEICO Emergency Roadside Service to your policy today.)
- Remember where you parked. Before you get out of your car, you can ask your assistant to mark where you are; then, when you’re ready to head back to your vehicle, ask for directions.
- Find out the status of a recently filed claim (this feature is available now).
For now, the GEICO voice assistant can be enabled through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. As it becomes more common to have Alexa in your car, so too will your interactions with an assistant.
Voice Assistant Technology Is Here To Stay
The first speech-recognition tool was invented in the early 1950s and recognized only digits; a decade later, new technology recognized digits and a whopping 16 English words. But it wasn’t until the advent of home speakers in 2014 that voice assistants became mainstream.
Interestingly, though, in-car systems were introduced a decade before home speakers, and today, cars are the most common places to access this technology. Some 77 million people every month are calling out requests to either their smartphones or the built-in voice assistant that came with their car (both are used equally). That’s 60 percent higher than the number of people using home speakers.
What do people use this technology for? At home, it’s simple tasks, such as asking about the weather or checking traffic before they leave the house. In the car, it could be looking up directions, playing music or calling people; whatever it is, this technology can help make the driving experience safer. After all, there’s no screen to touch or keyboard to type on in order to elicit a response, so your hands can stay on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.
Coming next? Voice technology that can do more than provide answers to simple questions; some predict that it will actually “listen” and give advice, have conversations with us, and even make suggestions about what we should buy. Wherever this technology goes, rest assured that GEICO will stay on top of it—and will always be looking for ways it can make your life easier and safer!
By Ellise Pierce