Ever Had That Feeling of Deja Vu?
A couple of colleagues pointed out some interesting articles last week. One talked about the cross-platform capabilities of Cortana and the other was ‘news’ that Google answers questions before the user finishes typing them. Both of these things Teneo has been capable of doing for at least three years and in the case of the latter, since 2010. Have mobile personal assistants reached an impasse?
We originally developed our “guess what the user wants an answer to” technology to help reduce the number of inbound emails into contact centres (our customers will recognise it as Teneo Email Optimizer). Today it’s used in a wide number of applications as NLI becomes increasingly embedded into entire websites, not just service or sales sections.
We’ve developed it further to take into consideration not just what a users starts to ask, but their actions leading up to the question too, such as product pages visited. When compiled together it produces a more accurate picture of the question a user is trying to resolve.
I first mentioned Cortana on this blog nearly a year ago and it’s a little disappointing that entering so late into the mobile personal assistant market they’re not really bringing anything new. Of course, more exciting things are likely to occur in the wearables sector over the next few months than any startling revelations about Cortana.
Does this mean we’ve hit a stalemate? Is natural language about to become nothing more useful than a glorified search engine, a sophisticated interface for accessing your pictures over different machines or just help deliver a cute talking toy?
Unsurprisingly, no. It means that the application of natural language is moving into another dimension as enterprises start to realise the depth of data it can produce and understand how to use it to their advantage. If you want to find out more about this then I recommend reading What happened to the manual?
But what Google, Siri, our natural language app, and who knows one day maybe Cortana, do tell us is focused more about how users interact with technology. It’s these underlying trends that will be critical to the development of digital assistants, not just on mobiles, but in cars, in the home and at work. It is this information that will determine how natural language will be successfully applied to devices and services in the future.
Later this summer, Artificial Solutions’ Chief Researcher, Dr Rebecca Jonsson, will be discussing this fascinating aspect at SpeechTEK 2015 in New York. Presenting How Does John Doe Engage With a Mobile Personal Assistant? With unprecedented insight into the mind of the average user, attendees will discover which apps users prefer to control by voice, the format of their utterances, how they react to misunderstandings and the differences in how users speak by country.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it, you can be sure of a full report of the presentation here at NLINews!