The rise of voice-activated computing – is it applicable to packaging lines?

Voice-activated technology is a fast-emerging trend in the world of computing. More people are chatting to voice assistants such as Amazon Echo (a screen- and keyboard-free device that answers to the name Alexa), Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. These and other voice-driven tools are leveraged for a wide variety of purposes, including entertainment, answering trivia questions, searching for information, dictating text messages and emails, and controlling smart appliances.

The reason why voice is becoming so popular in this space, is because it provides a more intuitive and natural form of interaction between human and machine. For many people, it also seems so much more convenient to talk rather than type. There’s no need to worry about grammar and spelling, and of course, it’s hands-free.

Many people question the reliability of speech recognition technology. However, according to The Economist:

Thanks to deep learning, machines now nearly equal humans in transcription accuracy, computerised translation systems are improving rapidly and text-to-speech systems are becoming less robotic and more natural-sounding. Computers are, in short, getting much better at handling natural language in all its forms”.

While we can all imagine using voice-activated technology in our personal lives, does it have a place in the industrial setting and particularly in the packaging, coding and labelling world?

When combined with artificial intelligence (AI), voice activation could allow packaging line operators to ask questions about various pieces of equipment on the line, access intelligence immediately, and take action swiftly to boost productivity and uptime.

Packaging Digest recently asked several industry players for their opinions on the topic. While most of these individuals could see some benefits of using voice-driven computing on their packaging, coding and labelling lines, such as its ease of use and the fact that it leaves hands free to get on with other tasks; they also questioned whether voice recognition is viable in a noisy industrial environment and expressed their concerns over the security of voice-activated controls.

Perhaps, for now, it’s better to adopt a “wait and see” strategy until the technology becomes more sophisticated and secure.

For more trends, tips and advice on anything related to labelling, coding and print & apply labelling technology, contact Pyrotec PackMark.

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