Set the World in Motion
The past couple of weeks have seen some interesting announcements of experimental mobile virtual assistants. Each one has a slightly different offering from those that were previously available, from anticipating what you might want it to do, to apparently communicating between devices by the same manufacturer.
However, despite these advancements, they still fall short of the true potential that an intelligent virtual assistant running on consumer devices can offer to consumers.
Alongside the ability for the virtual assistant to actually do what it claims, consumers want choice, personalization and continuity. At the moment, choice is often tied into which assistant is provided by the specific device manufacturer. Additionally, whilst there are usually a small number of personal preferences that can be set, it’s nowhere near what is required to truly personalize a virtual assistant to make it a proper ‘personal assistant’.
But, it is continuity in conversation as the user switches between disparate devices and information sources that holds the key to the ubiquitous personal assistant. Cloud based intelligence that ensures conversations traverse seamlessly between ecosystems; whether that’s comparing flight details to Barcelona using two different airline apps, or organizing the week’s diary on the way to work in the car and transferring the dialogue to the office PC as you walk through the door.
Like a good PA, your personal assistant should know more than just your mother’s birthday, but your likes and dislikes too. Whether you always book economy, do you trust answers given by Wikipedia or would rather use another source, do you prefer imperial measurements to metric, etc.
However, to enable all this takes the point back to choice and requires that any developer should be able to create apps into the virtual assistant. This will entail a far more open approach and easier development path than most virtual assistants offer today. Ultimately, the battle of virtual assistants will not be device driven, but won by those that can set the whole world in motion, not just its OEM partner.