Everyone’s favourite angry, acid-tongued TV chef Gordon Ramsey is the latest big name to be found on your Alexa device. Simply ask your Alexa what Ramsay thinks of your latest culinary creation, and he’ll offer up an appraisal – in the form of a foul-mouthed tirade. “Alexa, Ask Gordon Ramsey what he thinks of my sandwich” was met with “How can you do this to food, and f***ing sleep at night?”.
A simple, fun, neat idea with novelty value. A voice-app that will make us laugh…for a while. A voice app we might entertain our friends visiting us with…for a bit. But an application which does very little to truly enhance our lives, solve our problems, save us time or make our life easier. That is not to demean the efforts of those who created it…perhaps it’s a necessary step in the process.
Remember when mobile phone apps were new and we would download an app which makes it look like you’re drinking a pint of beer? It was impressive use of smartphone technology, and fun…for the handful of times you used it. But what did they do to enhance our lives after the novelty was gone? Now think about the mobile apps you currently have on your smartphone. I’ll bet you have some or all of the following:
- Apps for getting yourself from one place to another;
- Apps for consuming video
- Apps for tracking health or fitness
- Apps for listening to music or podcasts
- Apps for social media
- Apps for gaming
What do all these have in common? They all enhance our lives in tangible ways. How many ‘novelty’ apps do you have on there these days? And if you do have any, when was the last time you used it?
Surely we are striving for Smart Speakers and voice assistants ‘Voice Apps’ which, when used, we can no longer bear to be without. That we come to rely on daily. Like the first time you got a dishwasher after years of washing up by hand. Instantaneously the act of manually washing up feels cumbersome and laborious. In the same way, think of all the everyday ways our phones have revolutionised our daily lives. We have access to any song we can think of without having to physically own or store it. We can get a taxi without needing to make a phone call or have cash. We can download and watch the box-set we’re binging on and watch it on our commute? We’re at a point with smartphones where businesses instinctively, and proactively make enhancing our lives and solving our problems their sole focus. I look forward to the day I hear people saying “there’s a voice app for that”!
Of course, voice-first technology is still relatively new. Perhaps this is part of the process, as it was with mobile apps. It is great to see national newspapers and prominent media outlets reporting on Gordon Ramsey’s foray into this brave new world. Anything which rouses curiosity and engagement with the platform is positive. Because there are applications which, once used, we wouldn’t be without. The issue is that sometimes finding the gems in an Amazon Skills Store can feel like finding a needle in a haystack.