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Amazon Echo and Google Home - Voice control for a real estate agent

Voice control at the workplace of a real estate agent at Engel & Völkers

A real estate agent who talks about a new property on the road, an office manager who spontaneously asks for the weekly statistics of his agents, a tempting vision.

Our core task at Engel & Völkers Technology is to make the everyday life of our estate agents more efficient and easier. One possible tool for this can be voice control via Amazon Echo or Google Home.

When can voice control be used sensibly?

Voice control is faster and more convenient in particular if an action is performed with not too deep data nesting.

For the voice command "Put Osterstrasse 38 online", an agent would need a few seconds. In his CRM or mobile app, on the other hand, at least 3 steps would have been necessary: Open the application, find the property, change the status.

When is voice control less useful?

It becomes more complex if you want to change the price and exchange a picture before the property is put online. Here, the classic user interface of a CRM or mobile app wins again.

A business skill needs authentication

If you ask our agents for application cases of a voice control, the focus is always on integrating our CRM. For example, for the spontaneous query of statistics and customer data.

However, the basic prerequisite for a CRM language connection is that at least one voice authentication per user is possible. This is especially true when several team members can use the device. Amazon Echo recognizes different voices since the end of 2017 and therefore acts individually, but this voice recognition is not yet usable for the development of skills. Amazon tries to reach business customers with its latest commercials, but user authentication does not play a role in these commercials.

Google Assistant, was in 2017 faster in the implementation of voice profiles, but there is no concrete information for developers on the usability of this "voice match" at Google.

Are technical terms correctly understood?

First tests by Amazon Echo and Google Home at Engel & Völkers showed that Amazon Echo in particular has great difficulties in decoding German technical terms. Words such as "evaluation" are understood as "evaluation","exclusive commission" as "assignment","programs" as "grams". This weakness of the Amazon echo is accentuated by the fact that although it is possible to create synonyms (grams = programs = software), these synonyms are not trivially applicable.

The Google Assistant of Google Home, on the other hand, has no problems with the above "technical vocabulary".

What's next?

After first steps with an echo skill, which provides technical terms of our intranet, we will concentrate on the Google Assistant in the coming weeks. As a G-Suite company, we are hoping for greater leverage here. We'll keep you posted.

- Product Owner
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