Voice assistants and their future. SORRY, our future with them.

We have all been so excited when for the first time ever ‘Siri’ or ‘Ok Google’ from Apple and Google have been integrated with the phone. What has been so different from 3 years  before  and  now  is –

  1. Improvement in machine learning
  2. Powerful natural language processing

And most importantly – the way we speak to get answers – No more mobile devices. It’s screen less devices that has been more powerful in this paradigm shift. Getting your things done without Seeing or Touching the device is really brilliant.

Every major company have their own voice assistants for almost a year now.

  • Echo and Echo Dot from Amazon
  • Google home from Google
  • Apple pod from Apple (Releasing this fall)

The simple way how they work is – You invoke the assistant with a keyword (Alexa or Hey Google) every-time and ask your questions you want to get answers for or tell the assistant to get things done and then the device will reply back.

With all this available now – Let us see the different options of using assistant.

Case 1 – Get questions answered from Google, Amazon or Apple directly

Case1
Case 1 – Direct usage of google or amazon services

Use Alexa or Computer or Amazon (In case of Echo) and Hey Google or Ok Google (In case of Home) to invoke the assistant and get your queries resolved through google or amazon itself.

Hardware for assistant – Google Home or Amazon Echo or Apple Pod.

Pros – Single solution addresses most of your queries

Cons

  1. Very less customization – some use cases might demand not just voice assistance.
  2. Complete dependency on service provided by google or amazon
  3. Chances of getting product or suggestions related to or promoted by Google or Apple or Amazon only
  4. Single channel solution. Omni-channel presence is missing.

Cost involved in setting this up at home – $30 to $200

Case 2 – Get it answered through your specific app built for Echo, Home or Pod

Case2
Case2 – Services provided by respective vendors for fulfillment of customer queries

Leave the hardware dependency of the assistant to Amazon or Apple or Google like in case (1). But have a custom app running on top of their existing services to address specific needs.

For instance – In case of home – You invoke the assistant by saying Hey Google. But then you start talking to specific agent  by saying again like ‘Talk to Dominos’. This would cater the specific needs related to Dominos. In this case Dominos have launched an app for assistant. You can check the status of the order and even place the order.

Hardware for assistant – Google Home or Amazon Echo or Apple Pod.

Pros

  1. Personalized shopping experience
  2. More defined results rather than a high level answer

Cons

  1. Dependency on the vendors to launch their app for every other app store
  2. All the conversation is still being monitored by Google/Apple/Amazon

Cost involved in setting this up at home – $30 to $200

Case 3 – Custom assistant hardware for custom purpose. DIY assistant

Case3
Case 3 – Build your own custom assistant/Individual hardware for specific purposes

In this case both the hardware and the necessary software are both handled by product owner or sometimes you. Build your own assistant with the help of api.ai or converse.ai. You can invoke by any phrase that you mention it and can dedicate one assistant for every purpose.

Hardware for assistant – Raspberry Pi or Adruino or AI DIY kit from google.

Pros

  1. Higher level of customization can be achieved
  2. Conversation privacy without being tapped by Amazon/Apple/Google
  3. Enhanced security

Cons

  1. More number of hardware involved
  2. More configuration at the customer level might lead to more confusions in set up

Over-all, my vote on the above approaches would be to 2 and 3 for the below reasons –

Why did I pick Case 2?

A single assistant hardware that caters both general queries and also on demand specific needs. This is more feasible and can be a quickly expandable approach. It is just matter of time that the vendors add app for each of the assistants in their respective stores.

Why will I pick Case 3?

I do not want the biggies to hear all of my conversation. These kind of assistants are much suited for personal and private conversations like security alert on my locker or financial transactions and so on.

Now its time for you guys to choose your assistant!

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