I think it is ironic that the very word we use to describe the future – digitisation – may mean that in the future you will not lift a finger.
As Black Friday deals and thoughts for festive presents fill my screen and inbox, I have noticed an increasing need among the ‘creatives’ to point out that their new shiny artefact is compatible with and indeed works wonders with the likes of Alexa, Siri and Hey Google.
Increasingly this feature is being used to demonstrate how much easier my life will be if I don’t have to raise any part of my body other than my voice, automating activities that I previously would have had to burn some festive calories to perform.
Then it occurred to me that the very act of using a keyboard to write this note may very soon become a thing of the past. I read the other day a forecast that over 30% of all internet searches are now performed by voice and that this trend is only going one way, with 55% of household expected to own a smart speaker by 2022.
I was then reading into how the increased coverage and capacity available at lower cost to the consumer - critically coupled with device manufacturer innovation in the use of that capacity - will make 5G mobile the primary deployment platform for consumer applications, including the integration of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology.
This again made me think that the rather one-dimensional use of my fingers to interact with the world is very old school. A clear and present example is that my car now also wants me to talk to it to make things happen – it being dangerously attention diverting if I want to change the radio station on the flat screen in the middle of the cockpit.
So ‘LONG LIVE VOICE?’ Or perhaps long live a truly human interaction between me and the commercial world. If what is being promised as the next wave of innovation in the consumer electronics industry is increasingly changing the way the world works?
If so, what is the service industry reaction to this trend? We have seen the introduction of chatbots into the service delivery mix as a reactive response to both improving customer experience and reducing costs within large-scale contact provision. That technology gets more sophisticated with self-learning bots – such as CGI’s Sofia – but the problem is that it is mimicking a human call rather than being a native form of interaction with the device - which is literally at the command of the consumer. At CGI we are taking a keen interest in this new form of interface, we have built Alexa skills and Google actions to interact with a travel insurer and are at the heart of some of the foundation developments of 5G technology - with a particular interest in how immersive technologies can be used to create connected offerings.
Voice is only going to grow and become the pervasive way of interacting with Brands. CMOs will need to consider how to defend their Brand, as unlike Google search voice will only return one result, so getting in early and becoming proficient in this channel will be hugely advantageous.
If you would like to find out more about how we see the future – including seeing a voice demo in our innovation room at our London office - then why not give me a call? It might be one of the last times that you need to use your digit to contact me!