More Than a Voice Assistant

According to Gartner, 20% of web browsing will be done without a screen by 2020. This is made possible through NLG (Natural Language Generation) and adoption of audio-centric technologies which will dominate our interaction with machines. This was something that sparked my curiosity so I thought let.

Voice assistants are capturing a decent market and entering the elite business enterprise club through the promise of enhanced communication and efficiency. Let's talk about Business Analysts, they have a few options already to effectively communicate with their data. Shouldn't an author be able to explain their Tableau Dashboard to a person who views it?

Of course, they should!
This capability should be available to authors and accessible to their end users, regardless of the end user's abilities. We should also make Tableau's excellent interactive capabilities accessible enough for web users.


Natural language has already permeated our daily life. The most common examples of natural language are technologies such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant that recognize patterns in speech to deduce meaning and serve up an appropriate response. NLP is also the engine powering some of Google’s Gmail capabilities. Gmail uses NLP to automatically parse and understand the contents of your email messages and detect things like meeting invitations, package shipment notifications, and reminders.

Industry Experts believe, “We need to differentiate between Enterprise VA and Consumer VA." In the former, the reference data may be more local (eg: Tableau in the local server) and hence would be a strong case for an on-premise customised NLP.

For the consumer, where the queries are more universal in nature, the known VAs might be a good bet. Most people (that I know) use them for the standard use cases - room environment, weather, general queries etc.

The consumer may also want to understand the various price benefits of bookings. Eg: Booking an Uber, Is Ola available for the same route at a lesser price? Similarly with food delivery services as well!

At the same time, the consumer VAs have been making inroads into Enterprise as well. For the enterprise, VAs help in augmenting their existing analytical capabilities and making it more conversational and insightful in nature.


This interaction began with me questioning my network a delicate question since most of us have access to voice assistants and have bought devices out of curiosity. What are they using it for? and more importantly, can you imagine using those to run business and tasks?

But full disclosure here, I am using them to hear my favourite songs. Alexa gets me! :D

The popular reverts were something like this:

Kane Simms : Playing music, setting timers, checking my diary, adding tasks to my to do list (IFTTT to iPhone reminders then into Trello), asking questions, testing skills and actions.

Samir Kumar Shah : Your usage also depends on how you are used to doing things. And unless it is not a big pain point, I never use a voice assistant. But my six-year-old kid always uses voice assistant to search. This is incredible. The coming generation will be able to better use these platforms.

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Voice has a great use case if product companies think customer experience first and product features second. It is not important to develop a voice feature if we do not know how easily our customers are going to use it frequently.

Retail is another area with potential for huge benefits. Imagine being able to walk into a store and browsing products simply through voice. Not only will this decrease headcount, it will also increase user engagement and interaction.

Piyush Aggarwal : Good Question! I only use them to initiate a call/message or to check directions while driving alone. I think that human - voice assistant interaction needs to be personal (for most use cases) and I always wonder are they really helpful in enterprise-class applications/services. Imagine everyone at the workplace talking to their assistants, How would that be!?!

So I think I got some mixed reviews. But what Piyush noticed is the buzz in the enterprise market. Come to think of it, the reason adoption is limited to search based queries is because in reality brands and enterprises are not ready for this transformation.

Very few brands are leveraging voice tech and others are missing the opportunity where users are ready to migrate. The few that did get pulled back because the adoption is not happening quick enough. Tableau is doing its bit to get these technologies to support its users and hopefully cut done the learning curve. It may also possibly motivate leadership to start the consumption of the dashboards directly.

Don't you think we need a certain environment where voice tech can be seamlessly integrated? I am Preksha Kaparwan working at Alphaa.ai, we have created the World’s First AI Voice Analyst for Tableau & PowerBI.

I am Preksha Kaparwan working at Alphaa.ai, we have created the World’s First AI Voice Analyst for Tableau & PowerBI.