Voice recognition is already here so why am I making so much of a fuss about it? Well at least for now we are still very limited as to how we can use voice technology with our phones – most of the time we are limited to issuing simple commands to open applications or run searches. Even Apples Siri technology is limited to a few commands leaving us a long way away from truly ‘talking to our phones’.
So lets take a look at what the Vision 2011 video has in store for us…
Transcribing text is probably the most familiar form of voice recognition at this moment where you say some words or a full sentence and your phone/PC translates that into text. For the time being in phones this is done with the help of a ‘cloud web service’ whereby your words are recorded and transmitted to a server for final translation into text.
The only downside to this approach is the time that it takes to send the audio file to the server and then for it to translate the words. Future phones will however have the necessary processing power to perform this complex task on the phone its self. Most likely this process will be accelerated using the graphics processor (which has the advantage to process multiple bits of data at the same time) inside the phone.
Transcribed voice mail has to be one of the best inventions out there, image you are in a particularly boring meeting and someone calls, they leave a voice mail however you can’t listen to it because it would be rude. So instead your phone simply converts voice mail into transcribed text. Future phones however will take that one step further giving you the chance to act on the voice mail with the ability to respond to any messages with a custom designed user interface (which would link into any business class applications).
Searching through Masses of information is becoming increasing complex – luckily advanced search engines are around the corner which have the ability to understand search requests and provide more focused responses.
In the Vision 2011 video a student is seen searching for recipes for a school sale – instead of being presented with a standard list off Google the data is displayed in a similar way to a cook book with the option to narrow down results. All of this searching is accomplished via search from the initial search query to focusing on the results and even calling her mum for help.
It’s in these kinds of situations where voice does have a advantage over typing as the whole search can be run without fiddling around with a keyboard.
The future of video calling isn’t going to sit with Apple Facetime or another phone specific service, instead I think social media communication services (like Facebook chat) is going to be the thing which makes video calling successful.
Why so you ask? Well consider that how many of your friends are likely to have a particular phone – then consider how many of your friends are likely to be on a single social network….
Communication in the business world is gradually shifting away from very limited to a very open social media style communication, one product which is doing well in this space is Microsoft Lync 2010. If you haven’t already looked into Lync its a great product that offers Instant Messaging, Voice and Video calling (over the Internet/corporate network), desktop sharing and Office/SharePoint integration.
The future of these kinds of technologies are likely to built a lot more into the business applications that we use on a day to day basis. This can clearly be seen in the Vision 2011 video where the traveling business women makes a comment on a section of a presentation for a person back in the head office to action.
Video calling is back once again and instead of being confined to a specific program window the video caller can be seen interacting with a program on the head office guys PC – good bit of fancy holographics.
A lot of what I have talked about in this section is already here, you can already do speech searches and make video calls however the future voice will be integrated into both our lives and work a lot more. Its this seamless integration that’s new, not the technology.