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black Amazon echo dot speaker

Voice search is not a new addition to e-commerce – Amazon has included it for a long time as a built in feature but it is becoming more available to your favourite websites.

Over the last few years we have seen the rise of voice control with Siri, Cortana, Google and of course – the standard which is Alexa.

The processing power for translation and understanding is becoming cheaper – intent (one of the key elements for this to work) is more easy to work out and of course people are casually adopting the process.

We have seen a rise in input devices for interacting with the world (I avoid saying the web deliberately as this goes far deeper than that) In my house it is an expectation that we can summon the lights and heating through the ‘ever hearing’ dot. I can compose notes and messages on the go using Siri and my watch/phone combo. I draw notes on screenshots to give feedback quickly and, more importantly, these integrations are available to users without developer input.

You can replace your keyboard with a voice control (using your phone settings) and hey presto you have voice search and voice control. Easy – but not seamless. You (the fickle user) still has to make the choice, adjust your settings, and then disable post usage. This typically means that adoption is lower currently because we (generally) are lazy.

So what? With more hooks to the device systems being made available it will be possible to bring all of that control within the site (or PWA!) son that you can turn it on and off at will. You can then also choose to use the camera as a scanner/input device, you are able to use the location services and mapping to direct you to the store where your perfect size and fit is in stock and importantly you can even prepay using the OS payment methods securing that valuable item before anyone else gets there.

Does anyone else foresee a transition back to the old fashioned shopping experience where the counter was your limit, virtual changing rooms will allow you to try on as many items as you wish and the stock was held, in perfect condition, out of sight and bleaching sunlight instead of self service? Have Argos got this right already??

Voice control is here, established and growing – what is next? Gesture control, In store augmented reality? (See below for another great concept in AR!) or are we going to need a further extension of the computer in your pocket like the holo-lens, google glasses or similar? 

Whatever it is – I am excited to be involved and look forward to getting childishly excited about more tech!

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