ChatUI and NLP as next generation interfaces
It seems to be that time again where we are on the cusp of a shift in internet behaviours and platforms.
I have been noting themes in my reading over the past few months, and two recent pieces in particular solidified them for me. Mary Meeker report, State of the Internet that I referred to a few days ago, and several recent articles by Ben Thompson.
The broad themes are:
1. Chat (as in texting) as an interface.
2. Natural Language Processing (NLP) (as in speaking) as an interface.
If we think about it, these directions are entirely rational especially #1. Over the last 10 years mobile has grown and grown with certain obvious characteristics.
– connectivity by mobile is not always perfect
– web on mobile is spotty especially with ads taking 10% of the screen
– everyone has a phone
– not everyone has a laptop or at least not handy
– the single largest use of mobile is chat – it is low bandwidth, fast, easy and simple.
So if we take the single most used method on mobile, why not make it the interface for other things such as search, shopping and banking. Here is a well explained piece on ChatUI for Banking. Watch for Apple maybe opening up iMessage to Android later today.
Siri has been around for 5 years, and not exactly getting many excited so far. Google/ Android are pressing on this UI now. However Apple have recently purchased a new company which has made express improvements in NLP with better understanding of accents (something I value) and picking out sounds despite background noise.
Enter Amazon Echo and they may have caught everyone by surprise with the Echo. Integrated hardware, speaker, powerful NLP and which has the power of Amazon.com suggests they are on to a winner. It may be a stretch to suggest that Echo killed the Google Nest strategy, but it has to be fair to say the Nest strategy has now been refined to the “Home” strategy, and Amazon Echo success must take some significant credit here. Echo makes a point of differentiating between voices in the home and learning over time. The power of Amazon cloud comes to bear here; once Echo is in the home, that home is now part of the Amazon cloud and both can learn from that. Something that held up Siri is that vehicle use is the only practical one so far. Introduction of Home as a user platform takes voice to a whole new level.
Lastly the drive by large tech towards AI will support both these interfaces, and in fact is a requirement for complete success.
Relevance to Bankwatch:
Watch for Chat and Natural Voice Processing as a user interface that will become prevalent and I would predict will overtake web browsing as the primary access to internet over next 2 – 3 years.