Technology has evolved with humans. Cavemen could already build weapons, sow clothes and paint their stories on their caverns’ wall. A couple thousands of years later, Ancient Egypt saw some of the first writing patterns: hieroglyphs. Writing went from small pictures on a rock to ink on a piece of paper, and from that was born Gutenberg’s printing machine – the first one ever created.
Slowly but surely, the path was paved for typing machines to take over, closely followed by computers, and mobile phone. Yet, when I add my first mobile phone, I still had to type up to 4 times on my keyboard key in order to add just 1 letter. However, by June, 2007, Apple managed to bring human technology to a new level: one would not have to press buttons to write, but rather to touch the tactile screen.
Well now you can vocally command what you want to the voice assistant present in your device to access whatever you want.
Unsurprisingly, world-leading businesses (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) are the ones at the core of technology improvements. They proved themselves with computers, mobile phones, and are pursuing today with voice assistants.
Launched in 2012, Siri was the first digital virtual assistant implemented on iPhone, and obviously developed by Apple. In 2015, Amazon releases Amazon Echo, a smart speaker fitted with vocal recognition and Alexa. Therefore, each family could have the speaker at home and interact with it vocally.
The following year, Google released its own version of the product: Google Home, and along with it the vocal activator “Ok, Google”. Thus, the smart speaker can be activated thanks to vocal instructions. Last year, while Facebook released the Portal, (which was a huge flop), Apple launched its HomePod. A true race is taking place so as to know which one of them will earn the greatest market share. For now, Amazon is leading the way with Alexa being the most used voice assistant, embed into over 20,000 different devices.
Currently marketed smart speakers were essentially designed for families. Thanks to market research, GAFA noticed they had improved the way we worked, entertained ourselves, and developed our social lives, but not the very place we live in. Thus, they started to rethink the way we related to our homes.
Today, you can buy smart fridges that will tell you what food you have left at home, smart tv connected to the Internet, robots to share the daily cleaning tasks, etc. However, what if all of that machinery was interconnected? You got it: the smart speaker becomes your virtual home assistant but the vision does not stop here.
Having a smart home includes enhanced security, whether we are talking about burglars or merely your baby kid playing around the house, since all parts are under surveillance. It would also make entertainment (movies, music, shopping online, etc.) even more accessible and increase its very quality. Along that entertainment line, a Voice Assistant can provide for board and family games, and bring loved ones closer through distance, ultimately becoming a full member of the family.
Last but not least, a connected home could help education. First, all news and information worldwide can be consulted within a matter of seconds thanks to the Internet. Only having to speak out loud to get that information would increase that flow. Furthermore, parents could set up programs for their children in order to teach them new things. Since a Voice Assistant evolves accordingly, having one at home would basically equal having a full time babysitter.
Having an AI at home would mean being connected 24/7. This is a huge benefit for marketing. First, all family members can be redirected to the product page whenever they request it. Starting there, possibilities are almost infinite:
- Let’s say you don’t recall the name of a product but remember the song of its commercial; just sing it and the assistant can offer you to interact with the product
- Product demos will be easily-fetched, as businesses could market it on any device to encourage its use at home
- Since users will share most of their data and personal information with the assistant, whenever they will authorize sharing this data with a business, a precise marketing opportunity will present itself
The major challenge will be to maintain order in terms of data privacy, because if misused this information can present risks for the family. But by the time a smart home becomes common, the game’s rules still have the time to change (i.e. GDPR)
The human race is a hyper sociable specie that is always looking to communicate, interact, and comprehend its surroundings, including people and places. Thanks to the democratization of the Internet, we managed to reach a level of interconnectedness never reached before, responding to our core need to connect. Now, the more connected we are, the even more connected we try to become. Having a Voice Assistant at home who would basically know us better than we know ourselves is a true step forward in technology, and a hand passed on to it. If yesterday, technology could feel our touch, and today hear our voice, will tomorrow confer them the power to read our thoughts, and get things done as they appear in our head… “post article” = “done”.