Salesforce to expand Einstein Voice Skills so users can create custom voice apps
Salesforce plans to expand its Einstein Voice Assistant capabilities, enabling customers to create their own custom “skills” as it seeks to broaden the appeal of voice interfaces in the workplace.
The company unveiled Einstein at last year’s Dreamforce conference, promising to enable sales staff to update customer records on its CRM platform using voice commands.
Its efforts are part of a wider push from numerous tech firms to popularize conversational voice interfaces for business apps, including Amazon’s Alexa for Business, Microsoft’s Cortana and Oracle’s Digital Assistant. Analyst firm Gartner forecast that 25% of digital workers will interact with virtual assistants on a daily basis within two years.
On Tuesday at this year’s Dreamforce, Salesforce unveiled a handful of voice-related updates.
With Einstein Voice Skills, developers can create voice-powered apps for Salesforce’s Customer 360 Platform, expanding the range of potential uses, the company said. The skills could, for instance, allow field technicians to check on a service history while driving to their next customer, the company said.
“Voice is a huge shift for the industry and will be as impactful in businesses as it’s been in our homes,” said Bret Taylor, president and chief product officer at Salesforce, in a statement. “With Einstein, Salesforce is bringing the power of voice to every business, giving everyone an intelligent, trusted guide at work.”
While AI-based voice technology has potential, it is still nascent in terms of its use in enterprise applications, said Nicholas McQuire, vice president for enterprise research at CCS Insight.
“Obviously, voice is becoming a trend in mobile as the next phase of the phone and application interface. But it is still going to take some time for business professionals to take hold of this technology, and for voice to be the dominant modality of interaction with applications,” said McQuire.
Salesforce is not in a rush to bring its voice assistant, which has been in a private pilot since…