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16 December 2019

How Belgian companies are deftly catching the Voice Tech wave

It won’t be news to you that Voice Technology is booming now. The availability of voice assistants on more than 1 billion devices (e.g. smart speakers, smartphones, cars, hearables, etc.) is allowing this innovation to grow at a frenzied pace.

On the international scene, voice assistants are well integrated into people’s daily lives, especially in the US. Almost half of the population use a voice assistant and roughly 25% own a smart speaker. To date, smart speakers have already won over 22% of the British, 17% of Germans, 14% of the French and 10% of the Chinese consumers.

Belgium has a reputation for being a late new technology adopter compared to other countries. Let’s take a look at the Belgian market to discover its voice assistant usage and the companies that have already launched voice services.

How Belgian Companies are deftly catching the voice tech wave

Belgium embracing voice

Even if Belgium is lagging behind, the trend is starting to pick up in our country as well. In fact, 29% of Belgians already use a voice assistant according to Wavemaker. Moreover, 12.3% of Belgians already own a smart speaker.

Assistants are most likely to be used at home and in cars. They are mainly utilised for voice searches and personal assistance. Even if it’s not common yet, some users have already bought things with it.

Voice assistants are mostly used with smartphones. In fact, 89% of voice assistant users are using it on a smartphone. Given that more than 80% of Belgians own one, the opportunities offered are huge. The number of voice assistant owners will continue to grow, just like their usage frequency.

At The House of Marketing, we also performed a small survey with 73 young participants (81% under the age of 30) from Flanders. The results we obtained also confirmed that Belgium is starting to embrace voice:

  • 62% claim to be using Voice Technology today
  • 20% use it daily, almost half of the respondents at least weekly
  • Of respondents using a voice assistant, 84% use it to give instructions to another device, 41% to look for information
  • 77% of respondents believe they will make more use of a voice assistant in the future

Companies should definitely start surfing the voice wave, as it is already generating a string of opportunities and will bring even more if the massive voice development is anything to go by. In fact, Voice Technology is transforming our lives by changing a lot of our habits, such as online shopping, texting, online searching, working, etc. It is transforming the way businesses are run and the interactions brands have with customers. Voice assistants are an additional channel that can be used to optimize the customer journey. It improves customer experience by offering to make their life easier with the promise of convenience, flexibility, personalisation, efficiency and entertainment.

Some Belgian companies have already cottoned on to this fact and several of them have already launched a voice strategy.

Google Assistant boost the Belgian voice market 

In May 2019, Google launched Google Assistant for smartphones in Belgium.  The voice assistant was previously available but features were quite limited for Belgium. Now, Google Assistant is totally adapted for our country. It can take on the Belgian accent, tell Belgian jokes and sing Belgian songs. It’s compatible with more recent versions of Android and IOS and available in Belgian French and Dutch.

To provide a better service to their customers, a few Belgian companies have already developed voice features. They have integrated Google Assistant to their application to access their vocal features. Let’s discover several examples below.

Colruyt is paving the way for voice in retail

Colruyt is the first Belgian retailer to test a voice assistant that allows its customers to build their groceries list vocally with Google Assistant. The list is automatically updated on their Colruyt app and on their online account whenever they want to add something. People’s groceries habits are taken into account when they are building their list. If the customer asks to add a product without mentioning a specific brand, the most bought product of the category will be added to the list. Quite a challenge for new products entering the market.

Voice assistant spotted in the telecoms sector 

Proximus gives its customers the possibility of receiving information about their phone subscription (payment status, data consumption, info about roaming costs, etc.) via Google Assistant. Future voice possibilities in the pipeline include asking about a TV show, changing TV channel or even recording a film remotely.

Telenet is already a bit further along with Google Assistant. In fact, the company already offers more possibilities such as turning the TV on and off, adapting the volume, searching for something on TV, pushing play, pausing or even recording a show. There are also plans for future developments such as film and series recommendations and information about products and services.

SNCB is also taking the voice train

SNCB is making the most of voice possibilities to improve its communication with travellers. Google Assistant can now inform people about train schedules and answer the most frequently asked questions.

Bpost reinforces its services with voice 

Google Assistant can give details about Bpost packages (delivery time and location, fastest route to pick-up points, etc.). Additional functionalities will be developed such as informing about the opening hours of post offices and post points.

The voice wave has also touched the banking sector

ING has teamed up with Google Assistant to answer people’s most frequently asked questions. Voice in the bank sector is quite challenging, as people fear it due to data sensitivity. But checking an ING bank account balance with voice will undoubtedly be possible in the near future. KBC has joined forces with Alexa to give customers the opportunity to consult their KBC account balance.

KMI/IRM offers a voice personal weather assistant

KMI/IRM is connected with Google Assistant too. People can ask the weather forecast for their location. It also helps with questions about weather-related leisure activities and clothing. Not sure if the weather will be fine enough for a BBQ tomorrow? Ask Google Assistant!

Radios are on voice devices is linked to Alexa, meaning that more than 100 Belgian French-speaking radio channels are now available such as RTBF, Contact, Bel RTL, NRJ… Whether live or in replay, Alexa broadcasts news, the horoscope, the weather forecast and specific radio programmes. In addition, VRT has teamed up with Google Assistant to provide the same services.

Will your company be the next to surf the voice wave? 

As you can see, the Belgian market is slowly starting to embrace Voice Technology. The opportunities are huge, as the voice market will continue to grow. Don’t wait to be overtaken by your competitors, take the lead and explore what your company could develop with voice to make your customers’ life easier.

Eager to learn more about Voice Technology? Download our Voice Canvas.


Other interesting articles about Voice Technology:


iProspect, Wavemaker,,,,,,,, B-post,,,,,, Forbes