What is a voice system and what is a voice user interface?

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Our language is the most important means of communication available to us. With the help of verbal communication, we express our thoughts and interact not only with other living beings, but now also with machines. This process is called "Voice User Interface" (VUI).

In addition to the many advantages, artificial intelligence also has disadvantages, of course, which will be discussed in more detail later.

In this article, the now ubiquitous technology will be examined and its nature explained.

Definition and difference

We distinguish between voice systems and voice user interfaces. In the following, we will define both terms and illustrate the respective differences.

"Voice System" is the general umbrella term for the technology: "Voice systems are systems with which a user interacts by listening to spoken prompts from an automated system. The user responds either by pressing keys on a telephone keypad or by speaking (or both)." - w3c

Voice User Interface, on the other hand, define the user function of the voice system: virtual assistants, such as Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa, are examples of VUIs.

Where are Voice User Interfaces used?

The area of application is extraordinarily versatile: in addition to smartphones, computers, smart speakers and TVs, VUI is also often used in cars. Even on the smallest devices such as a smartwatch, the function is indispensable.

People with disabilities also benefit from this technology. If they do not have motor skills, they can interact with the various devices without any problems. This enables inclusion in many sectors. However, the technology does not assist people with cognitive impairments (deafness/speech impairment).

3 Advantages of the Voice System

Convenient voice input enables several advantages in both private and business contexts:

1. The speed of voice input is many times faster than the conventional keyboard.

2. Easy operation of new systems. New systems often present a challenge.  Orientation and finding the right functions can be simplified with the help of voice input.

3. The versatility of speech recognition makes the system easier to use. This means: no commands have to be learned by heart, rather the technology recognises many synonyms and simplifies the user experience here as well.

2 Disadvantages of the Voice System

1. In the past, the media mostly reported negatively on the data protection of voice assistants. When do Siri, Alexa, Google Home listen and when do they not? Are my voice recordings stored? What is the data used for? The suspicion quickly arises that the systems are "spying" on the user. As a result, trust in voice assistants is lost.

2. The language must be adapted to the system. A conversation from person to person cannot be reproduced exactly. The system does not always identify dialects, slangs and accents correctly and this leads to incorrect results.


Voice-controlled systems such as Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, Samsung Bixby and many more have been on the rise for several years.

Today, Google already records more than a quarter of all search queries via voice. This is evidence of extreme growth. It is expected that the market with applications for voice-controlled systems will soon be as large as the mobile app market. Be part of it and bring your products and ideas to this new, growing market.

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