Amazon Echo

Last week, Adobe quietly acquired Sayspring, a platform specialized in crafting voice interfaces — without the heavy lifting of intense coding — for Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Details regarding the deal were not disclosed. The procurement signals the relevance of voice-activated tools for both end-consumers and professionals looking to streamline workflow.

“The popularity of voice assistants and smart speakers continues to grow. Already, about half of U.S. adults use voice assistants and voice will be a part of every digital interaction within a few years,” said a spokesman for Sayspring. “Now, as part of Adobe, Sayspring will be able to continue pursuing our mission at the scale required for the growing a fast-moving voice ecosystem.”

Under the agreement, Sayspring has made its services free. “We no longer have paid plans, and all premium features are now available to all Sayspring users, free of charge for the near term,” the spokesman said. This might be in effort to widen its availability to burgeoning creatives — and professionals.

But there’s a catch. Sayspring users will not be able to share their work with non-team members, likely due to its move to appeal to enterprise customers. “You can no longer share a project with a non-team member within Sayspring. If you want someone to have access to your project within their Sayspring account, you both must be on a Sayspring team together,” the spokesman explained.

The spokesman confirmed that two verticals under the Sayspring umbrella have been closed as part of the merge. Voicegrams, which enables users to record conversations with Alexa has folded. Additionally, Audio Converter has been fully integrated into Sayspring’s services. The spokesman teased new features to come as part of Adobe’s acquisition.

The deal signals the growing influence that voice-activated assistants has for both end-consumers and professionals. Earlier this week Amazon announced new functionality that facilitates Alexa’s performance of basic tasks.

According to a CapGemini report, “Conversational Commerce: Why Consumers Are Embracing Voice Assistants in Their Lives,” revealed that 24 percent of consumers would rather use a voice-activated assistant than a traditional website. Its researchers predicted that the percentage will rise to a whopping 40 percent in the next three years. “And close to a third [31 percent] would prefer to use a voice assistant [in the next three years] instead of visiting a shop or a bank branch in the future, compared to 20 percent today.”

Those consumers are also professionals. Consider how fluidly individuals check personal and work e-mails on the same device. Enabling cross-functionality for personal and professional tools will expedite workflow, freeing up time often spent on administrative tasks for other large projects and pursuits.

More from WWD:

Consumer Trust in Voice-Active Assistants Grows

Voice-Activated Assistants: The Quiet Tool Set to Disrupt the Retail Market

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