`

"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that": third of North West smart tech users struggle to be understood

Phoning it in: most smart phones have some kind of voice recognition service nowadays.
Phoning it in: most smart phones have some kind of voice recognition service nowadays.
Share this article

A new study has revealed that a third of North West users of smart home devices including the iPhone's faithful Siri and Amazon's Alexa struggle to be understood, with 42% claiming they change their accent as a result.


While voice recognition technology has improved immeasurably over the past decade, gadget fans from regions of the UK with distinctive local dialects are experiencing some mild user interface hiccups as they leap into the age of voice-activation.

While Alexa speaks the Queen's English and boasts the kind of received pronunciation of which even a Surrey-based elocution teacher would be proud, SEO agency Spike Digital have reviewed how modern technology copes when faced with the wide variety of accents across the UK.

"At least in the good old days – that is, about two years ago – none of this was an issue!" said Rob Powell at Spike Digital. "If you wanted to know something from your smartphone or computer, you simply typed it.

"There’s no denying, however, that being able to say requests out loud is much quicker and easier," Rob added. "It seems that smart home devices will just have to learn to wrap their ears around our unique variety of accents!’

Not far behind the more distinctive Scottish and Welsh accents, 33.3% of respondents from the North West baring the classically northern lilt claimed they are often misunderstood by home technology, with 67.3% of people across the country insisting that the software should be adapted to better understand regional accents.

When asked that the most frustrating aspect of voice recognition technology is, 45% of Brits said it was not being understood followed by it taking commands and ordering things from the TV (20%), the ‘Sorry I don’t know that’ excuse (15%), and when the device starts playing music randomly (10%).