Hello Joey, can you turn on the lights please!
Many things we got to see only in Hollywood movies are now becoming reality in our day to day life like talking to a machine and getting things done, who thought we’d be doing what voice-based AI assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s Siri allow us to these days! Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, Cloud technologies with great Computing Power are all helping humanize machines.
In the past two decades, search engines like Google have played a very important part in our lives and made it easier for everyone to have access to information at their fingertips at any time. Of course, search engines would not have been possible if we did not have the invention of the internet, the computer and so on. This phenomenon (search engines) has impacted and made life easier for people across all industries and professions by presenting information, all accessible in one place. Subsequently, this led to the rise in importance of page rankings and organizations spend a lot of time and money in SEO(Optimization) and SEM(Marketing) and it’s a very big part of the revenue stream for search engine and social media platform providers.
Over time, as more and more organizations brought their presence online, the search started becoming more crowded and saturated in a way affecting our ability to find the right information quickly because let’s face it – there are only so many results the first page of a search engine can fit! Combine that with the ever-reducing attention span of people these days (especially the younger generation) and we have a concoction that combines to limit the effectiveness on the industry changing ‘search and find’ way of sourcing information.
Technology is also being used to understand consumer behaviour and predict their needs to present more optimised, personalised search results, advertisement and options pro-actively. These trends raise questions about how private our online activities are but let’s face it, is anything on the internet private these days? Privacy is soon becoming a myth in this world with a ferocious appetite for information on behaviour which makes me wonder – is there a better way to go about this? Is our compromise for privacy and overcrowding of search engines pointing us in the direction of something that is more efficient? Are we at the end of our ‘Search and Find’ habit?
For a majority of the population, mobile phones (smartphones) are an all-pervasive, must-have that have transcended traditional hurdles to technology like age, cost, relevance to name a few. The past two decades have seen a mobility tech revolution of sorts, where we have been successful in harnessing the power of the personal computer and packaging it in devices that would offer a lot more convenience than a laptop would. The mobile phone device has evolved from a humble calling and texting device to essentially being a computer and camera in your pocket and they keep getting smarter every year. Other devices like laptops, tablets and wearables have also matured over that period but the crucial advantage smartphones have is of them being small to carry but still are extremely potent when it comes to presenting power, usefulness and mobility, the perfect package. Yet.
Our world is now centred around smartphones to the point that most of us feel incomplete without having them around. Smartphones have reached the technological maturity and IoT (Internet of things) have become a reality – these have led to an era where most of our interactions and transactions start (and in many cases they get completed) over the mobile phone. They are everywhere, and they are here to stay.
As Google also ranks higher the webpages optimized for mobile and Customer experience over mobile devices is key to the success of any product and services offered and hence we see organizations revamping their websites and digital platforms making it mobile friendly, spending millions of dollars on UI(Design) and UX(Experience).
But despite making the web pages responsive and providing a better experience, smartphones have issues of having a small real estate (screen size) and low attention span of the user as most of the time usage on the mobile is on the go. Flicking from one webpage to another and you have already lost the customer. To overcome some of these challenges on smartphones, we got Siri on iPhones and subsequently Google Assistant.
Although still in an infancy stage virtual assistants/chatbots are gradually becoming part of our life as more and more use cases are being created across different industries. The advancement in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies are making it possible to provide more personalized services to customers and it is playing a significant role in the adoption of these technologies by organizations as well as customers.
The whole idea of having one channel for all information and interactions opens a whole new world of possibilities with implications to every sphere of customer and user engagement.
Virtual assistants are fast becoming a ‘gateway to all digital interactions’ and they are not only going to change the existing digital channels and platforms but also physical devices like remote controls and other physical buttons on various appliances, instruments, devices and vehicles.
The Virtual assistants are going to change our ‘Search and Find’ habit to ‘Ask and Select’ and will truly provide personalized services while getting better with every interaction. We will see more and more services getting converged in the virtual assistants and in some way they may be our answer to privacy protections.
**Disclaimer: Any names of organisations and products mentioned in the article are for reference purposes only. No ill repute intended in any way.
About The Author
Ritesh Srivastava is an Innovator and Industry Strategist, always looking to challenge what many consider is the norm. He has a knack of foreseeing tech trends with a passion for driving change. He is also the Founder and CEO of Epictenet, an Australian Fintech, and the driving force behind Joey – their Chatbot offering, spearheading change in the Industry.