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Sunanda Jayanth

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Voice is the next leap for smartphones

Kevin Marshall started off an interesting conversation thread about what he thinks about mobile, which I responded to here.

To me, the fundamental behavior around mobile – of using it as a consumption device than a production device has been because of it’s limitations. We don’t open our hackpads or word documents on a mobile phone and work on the go. It’s not easy and it’s hugely distracting that you are a walking nightmare in a public space.

The most interesting thing after Siri and Google Now, is the two-worded call out “Okay, Glass!”. It’s a sign of exciting things to come.

As mobile devices take different shapes, the primary user interface becomes voice. It’s a given, that voice as an input mechanism will make rapid strides within the next couple of years. There are very positive ramifications of this, in every which way you see.

- With a few voice commands, I can open a document, edit it and send it to a colleague – all without taking the phone out of my pocket. In fact, I probably don’t need a phone till I need to see something! That’s a leap of productivity and I hope that means, answering a few emails on the go, so that when I reach home, I don’t switch on the laptop!

- I would expect new collaboration tools to emerge to augment or even replace emails in some cases. I’d call it ‘Voice Texts’. I’d assume that emerging markets would make this habit a mainstream. In very tropical & densely populated markets, typing on the go is difficult. Voice interpreted text or Voice Text shall be cost effective, fast and easily accessible for the mobile workforce (or can make a hitherto ‘chained to the workstation’ workforce, very mobile)

- I’m not sure though if voice interpretation takes a toll on battery life, when used for a prolonged period. But I’d hope that there is already work that’s ongoing that would lead to solutions in the market, when voice matures as a viable interaction mechanism. I’d assume though, that the voice doesn’t travel on the carrier network here. So a reduced quality, just good enough for interpretation would suffice. May be someone here could point out to trends in this area.

- With voice and NLP capabilities, the phone is about to get more serious users who were left out earlier (older generation). Vernacular language capabilities would be a non-lucrative option & commercial grade services would take time to emerge.

I am sure there are other angles to explore – What would voice mean for the mobile gaming industry where an added sensory input is like a new dope? Would it herald a leap in efficiency for any swift response use cases like trading, location services etc?

What’s your take?

Image Credits - Humanrobo | WikiMedia

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More Stories By Sunanda Jayanth

Originally a techie, for over 3 years, Sunanda has honed her skills in industry research and strategic consulting by tracking and analyzing technical trends and competitive landscapes in microelectronics, semiconductors and industrial automation. Having worked in the US and invited as a speaker at international conferences, Sunanda has a very diverse skillset. Amidst the high profile consulting assignments, she discovered a penchant for neat data visualization and can be seen poring over infographics trying to get her head around depicting data graphically with the least amount of fuss.