Siri and Google Now have been in the wild for a while now and Microsof company recently came out with its own take on a personal voice admin — Cortana. While these digital assistants are helpful it is sometimes undeniable that voice isn’t the most convenient way to interact with your phone. Digital assistants have largely always been a fancy device on high-end phones.
There are two primary reasons digital assistants haven’t flourished on mobile platforms —
Using voice requires is just plain awkward in public places and public places is where people mostly use their phone.
If one were to pull their phone and push a button before they can talk to their phone, they should push that extra button and see what is on the appointments instead of asking the admin.
Amazon, a company which largely played a ‘me-too’ role in consumer product space had a fully different take on voice assistants. They imagined of and came up with a new product category altogether when they launched Match — an always on, fog up powered voice admin for home.
Match (also called Alexa) was designed by Amazon to be a product that stays at home because Amazon figured that voice assistants are best suited for home usage. This is evident by the fact that they didn’t even bother to put a battery in it which is a bold move behind closed doors of mobile gadgets. Chances are they made it insanely easy to get Echo’s attention. You just awaken her up with a awaken word (Alexa or Amazon are the only supported awaken words for now) and then issue whatever command you want. Match comes with seven sensitive microphones and can hear you from more than 10 feet away even in a deafening room. It can hear you even when it is playing music or talking to you. By removing the two major difficulties in the list above, Amazon created a voice admin that is actually useful and fun to use. voicebot ai
Like a phone that can do very much things by installing apps, Match can be used for many purposes too. It can play music, answer trivia, control smart devices, set alarms, manage calendars etc. I often hear people questioning the utility of Match because their phone can do just about all Match can do. That was my first reaction to the product too but once I started using Match, it slowly got on to me. I understood the ability of an always connected voice admin that we can just talk to from anywhere in the house and never having to push any buttons.
Take setting a timer while cooking, for example. Previously, I must wash my hands, dry them, pull my phone, activate Siri and have her to create a timer. She would do it and when the timer goes off, I would hear a weak sound on my iPhone’s tiny speakers. Compare that to the convenience of just saying ‘Alexa, set a timer for 30 seconds’ and getting a notification that can be heard all over the house (yes, Match comes with very good speakers). Once you get accustomed to the freedom and convenience Match offers, using a cell phone feels as though an ordeal and every other digital admin feels as though they are from 1970s.
This is not to say Match is the dream AI product from the future. It does manage to provok you quite a bit sometimes by not being able to answer basic questions and not responding to you in a loud room. Echo’s capacity to answer general trivia questions is reasonably limited.
In conclusion, I think Amazon finally figured out how to make digital assistants useful and if you are one of individuals who are hesitant about its usefulness, I would strongly recommend trying Match for a little while and you would realize how inferior every other digital admin is. Sure it can provok you once in a while but you would eventually learn to start managing her. In fact, I liked my own so much that we bought a second Match for my sleeping quarters.