Speak2web For WordPress

Minnesota-based speak2web is looking to bridge the gap between voice assistants and online shopping. The company has debuted a new WordPress plugin enabling people to search and shop by voice on websites, mobile apps, and smart speakers.

A Voice In The Web

The Simon AI technology speak2web developed can be integrated into websites and mobile apps to make them accessible by voice. The voice assistant has complete access to all of the indexed data on the website, so users can search for information or complete transactions with a conversation instead of needing to type and click.

“Just as you’re used to every business having a webpage, every business will also have a voice assistant,” speak2web CEO Walter Angerer told Voicebot in an interview. “It’s a completely different experience for retail when you add the virtual assistant. People don’t expect a microphone button on a website, but we hope to change that.”

Voice assistants capable of understanding and parsing human speech are only beginning to be used for commerce. An estimated 31 million Americans will use smart speakers to shop this year, compared to the 270.1 million Americans that will buy online in one form or another. Connecting voice to the bigger world of e-commerce could change that equation.

Video: speak2web Voice Assistant

The Word is WordPress

A little over 34 percent of all websites run on the WordPress content management system (CMS) through either its open-source software or a hosted service provided by Automatic. speak2web’s new WordPress plugin is its first play for that enormous market after operating in stealth mode since it was founded in 2018.

“We’ve been focused more on the enterprise side until now,” Angerer said. “With the release of the WordPress plugin, and bringing a bit less expensive version to market, we can reach more of a broad market than we have.”

There are very few options for voice interaction among the more than 50,000 plugins available for WordPress. Most voice plugins are for translating text to speech and back, as opposed to making the website a conversational partner.

While the big names in voice assistant technology are continuing to urge companies to make voice skills connected to their platforms, there hasn’t been a WordPress plugin like speak2web’s until now. The WordPress plugin makes the setup quick and simple because of how much is already baked into the existing system.

“In the past, when you wanted to have well-done integrated voice assistants with all the features, you needed a completely custom solution,” Angerer said. “We needed a front-end that captures your voice and displays content.

The [plugin] is a much broader solution, a little more limited solution than when its custom, but it can be deployed quickly. WordPress has a lot of infrastructure, so we don’t need to touch it at all to make it turnkey.” Read more.

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