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CES 2018: Amazon on our ‘Voice-First’ Future

At the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in amongst news of flying taxi cars and jumbo-tron sized televisions for our living rooms, was a focused and confident statement by Amazon on the (near)future of Smart Speakers and Voice Assistants.

In short, consumers will soon speak to Amazon’s devices like they’re on “Star Trek”. A concept referred to by Amazon’s David Isbitski as “ambient computing…which represents the next major disruption in computing”. Technology giants have already launched headlong into this space, jostling for position, with Amazon clearly keen to build on their market leading position. Speaking of the ‘next step’ for voice assistants like Alexa, they are focused on using the power of artificial intelligence to identify and remember context; learning, remembering and anticipating user behaviour.

Making interactions friction less is a key advantage of the voice-first landscape. I’m willing to bet that you have opted not to watch a YouTube video when there is a ‘non-skippable’ pre-roll advert. And consider that the only thing more annoying than having no WiFi, is having intermittent WiFi. We know what we want, and consumers crave the shortest route from A to B. With every day that passes, consumers are becoming ever more conditioned to simply asking for what they want. Just as with those pre-roll adverts, imagine a world where having to take your smartphone out of your pocket, unlocking and firing up an app or browser seems just as cumbersome. It’s a matter of when, not if, your customers will want to interact with their environment, including you, by simply asking for what they want. As Isbitski put it, “This is going to be the most natural way to interact with technology”.

If CES 2018 has taught us anything, it’s that the pioneers of ‘voice-first’ technology are as committed as ever to its continued, rapid growth and making it smarter and more intuitive is imminent, a clearly a key imperative.

So what plans are you making to reflect and capitalise on the changing needs of consumers and of how you do business? To return back to Star Trek, and as Jean Luc Pickard would say, we can help you “Make it So”.

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