voice assistants

The state of natural language & conversational search in 2018

As human beings, we use our voices for conversation. When we interact with voice interfaces, therefore, our natural instinct is to apply the same rules that we would to a human conversation.

We expect to be understood, but more than this, we expect the entity we’re conversing with to remember the history of our conversation and understand the context of any following remarks.

How well can Apple’s smart speaker hold its own against tech rivals?

It’s been three months since Apple started shipping the Apple HomePod, its long-awaited entry into the increasingly competitive smart speaker market.

Despite initial optimism around the HomePod’s prospects, reports have indicated that Apple’s smart speaker falls short of its main rivals, the Google Home and Amazon Echo, in terms of features and functionality.

What do voice user interfaces mean for marketers & brands?

I recently attended an interesting WARC mini-conference on voice tech and machine learning. The stand out part was a joint session from Mindshare and JWT, highlighting their research in this area.

Here are some observations from this session regarding voice tech, beginning with some background before looking specifically at the commercial challenges and opportunities for brands. (Please also see my recent article, Why brands should be bothered about voice bots).