Global enterprise expenditure on transactional voice systems, such as automated telephone helpdesks, is set to rocket sevenfold during the next three years, newly published research has predicted.
According to independent market analyst Datamonitor, global voice-enabled transactional technology, including so-called 'voice-automated self-service interfaces', will generate revenues of $377m by the end of 2008 compared to $56m today.
"Not so long ago, e-commerce was heralded by many as a 'flash in the pan' technology. Many of those sceptics are also predicting a short life for transactional voice solutions too," said Peter Ryan, a technology analyst at Datamonitor and author of the report.
"But if vendors continue to produce solid offerings that customers enjoy using, the sceptics will be proven wrong once again."
The most popular transactional voice systems currently in use include account management, order processing, pay-as-you-go top up and reservations.
From the standpoint of account management, the main provisions being deployed by enterprises include bill payment provisions, which are proving popular with telcos and utilities.
Reservation applications are finding "tremendous traction" in the travel and tourism verticals which are heavily dependent on contact centres.
Hotel and automobile reservation firms are finding the technology helpful in lowering facility and wage overheads, and end users appreciate the applications' efficient and straightforward nature, Datamonitor's report found.
Order management is predicted to have the most mass-market potential. Using this functionality, end users can access enterprise voice portals and order goods and services, as they could do speaking to a live agent or using a website.
Datamonitor stated that uptake in transactional voice solutions will be substantial in North America and EMEA, accounting for 75 per cent of the global market by 2008.
Growth in Asia-Pacific will also be strong, due to voice business proliferation in Japan, China and Australia/New Zealand.
"North America and EMEA are the primary markets for transactional voice technology. This is due mainly to the massive growth in mobile telephony over the past 10 years, coupled with the increasing acceptance of e-commerce as a self-service tool," said Ryan.
"However, vendors of these solutions should keep their finger on the Asia-Pacific pulse, where some of the most innovative transactional applications are currently being deployed."
In terms of vertical markets, Ryan noted that there are already several companies adopting voice transaction technology in their customer dealings.
"Retail banking, investments, telcos and utilities have all begun to embrace the revenue generating potential of transactional voice solutions," concluded Ryan.
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