Five years from now we’re just going to ask Siri, Alexa, and company to do it. All.
Our smartphone apps will primarily become behind-the-scenes gateways to what we want instead of being the user interface they are today. It’s already happening.
While enjoying lunch at a New Hampshire restaurant I leaned forward toward my phone, which was on the table, and spoke “Hey Siri, how long will it take me to get home?” (New York City.)
Siri replied “the traffic to home is light, so I’m estimating 4hrs and 29 minutes via I-84 west.“ No touching the phone, no launching the map application, no need to even look at the phone. I asked, it answered.
Apple recently launched SiriKit which allows apps to connect with Siri. That will enable us to conversationally perform the actions we now do through an app or on a website. “Hey Siri, what’s my checking account balance?”1 “Does Best Buy in Rego Park have the Widget 992 in stock?” “Where is my UPS package from Amazon?“
1. Bank of America already has a working prototype of this.
This will push nicely designed, logo emblazoned apps out of sight, behind Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. Data ownership and security issues this presents will be quickly resolved.
We might still use the app itself when privacy is required* but otherwise, why open an app when you can just ask? Apple, Amazon, and Google know this and are battling fiercely to be the foundation for this future.
We are working on bringing a conversational interface to the private jet charter business. The customer is driving to work and through the car’s smartphone interface asks it to “book a jet to Columbus for next Tuesday at 8am and get me the same catering and car I had last time.” No problem Dave, will you be leaving from Teterboro again? “Yes.”
There’s a lot of communication and data processing taking place behind the scenes to make this happen but the technology to do it exists today. The race is on.
* With iOS 11 it’s now possible use Siri with typed text if privacy is a concern.