The Voice of the Future

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to use an electronic device but couldn’t use your hands to type? Have you ever wanted to solve a problem with a computer but found yourself frustrated by the commands you needed to know that are as complicated as Ancient Greek?

A conversational interface technology platform is an exciting emerging technology that we are likely to see much more of in the future. A conversational interface can make a myriad of tasks much easier. Earlier computer technology relied primarily on a graphical user interface or GUI. While the experienced computer programmer may be able to navigate the syntax (or specific words or characters that cause a computer to perform a particular function when entered on a keyboard), this may be more difficult for the average user of electronic devices who hasn’t been exposed to more formal computer education. The conversational interface translates everyday, plain language into the syntax of the device to perform tasks. Conversational interface technology levels the playing field and allows any user to direct a computer or electronic device to perform the same complex task without specific knowledge of the syntax of computer programming languages.

This technology is already in use in a variety of electronic devices. For example, many GPS navigation systems can now take an address input verbally to provide step by step directions to a user’s destination. Mobile devices are also presently utilizing conversational interface technology to enhance the user experience. Rather than requiring a user to manually input characters to make a call, send a text message, create a text document (such as a grocery list) etc… the users of conversational interface technology enabled devices are able to simply speak commands and their device is able to execute commands much more quickly and easily than was previously possible when relying solely on a GUI that takes commands from keyboard inputs. This application of conversational interface technology is particularly useful and enhances safety on a societal level by allowing drivers to perform certain tasks on their phone hands free.

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On a micro level one has to admire the interface between apps and devices that are being engineered. For instance, it would be impressive enough to merely have a particular program enabled to take command s through a conversational interface, but modern technology has already come much more further. However, on a broader level, current cellular phones are already enabled to interact with conversational interface technology at the operating system level. This means that by speaking commands into a recently developed device hone not only can a user give commands to a specific program, but the user is also able to open and close programs and adjust system settings by voice commands.

On a broader level, when we stop and consider the widespread proliferation of “smart” networked devices, coupled with the numerous possible utilizations of electric motors and various controls such as solenoid valves, limit switches etc… one can see many other possible applications of conversational interface technology. A smart building is a great example of a complex system that performs many tasks that can be streamlined through the use of conversational interface technology. For instance, let’s say you have a device that utilizes conversational interface technology to take commands pertaining to the heating ventilation and air conditioning system in your home. With a simple command such as “increase room temperature 10 degrees” your device which can be networked wirelessly can signal your electronic thermostat to send a signal to a solenoid valve to open to allow the flow of heating gas into the combustion chamber of a furnace to rapidly and easily heat your home.

We have come a long way from shoveling coal into a basement furnace. Our lives have been enhanced by this ingenuity. It is all possible with the use of a voice.

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