The Intelligent Personal Assistant

In 1997 my father purchased some voice recognition software called NaturallySpeaking by Dragon Systems. It was my first introduction to voice recognition technology and although it wasn’t 100% accurate (it really was quite useless), I was amazed that it was possible.

These days all you have to do is say “OK Google” or “Hey Siri” and your phone is ready to take your command. Setting reminders, sending text messages, and making calls is only a taste of what can be actioned via voice commands.

Voice recognition technology has come a long way.

I’m an avid user of Google’s intelligent personal assistant (IPA) service Google Now aka “OK Google”. The thing is, I don’t like using it in public. When I do, I try to keep it discreet until I give up and switch back to the ol’ fingers and thumbs. Friends and family I’ve spoken to say they feel the same way.

I feel like this technology is going through its teething stage where we’re not sure if it’s cool yet. This is such a great tool but it must be embraced in order for it to improve and be used more across more applications. What can be done to help this technology be adopted by the mainstream and socially accepted?

Allow custom wake up commands

I don’t want to walk down the street saying “Ok Google”. Why can’t I create my own activation phrase? I’d be much more comfortable using my IPA in public if I was able to say something like “Are you ready?”. As far as I’m aware, S Voice for Samsung is the only IPA that allows custom wake up commands.

Make it so I can “call” my intelligent personal assistant

I want push a button, put my phone to my ear and hear a voice say “How can I help?”. Imagine it, you could be rushing to work talking to your IPA on the phone, sending texts, writing emails, learning your agenda for the day and more. Voice recognition works best when your mouth is directly next to the receiver anyway. Why not hold it to your head like you’re on a call?

Flip it on its head – Dictaphone style

I often turn my phone upside down and speak into it like a dictaphone. This allows me speak directly into the receiver and glance down to my screen for more information. The problem is my phone doesn’t automatically invert the screen when the phone is the wrong way around. This idea impacts the phone’s operating system and the possibly the phones design rather than functionality of the IPA software.

“Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

When I make a voice command and it’s answered, the IPA should continually ask me “Can I help you with anything else?”. This would eliminates the need to repeat the voice recognition command and facilitate multiple commands.

This powerful technology won’t be applied to more apps and tools until it becomes adopted by the mainstream. For this to happen, I believe the way users engage with IPA software must be matched with existing technologies that they are familiar with and feel comfortable using.

Thanks for reading.

Tom Connelly

Tom Connelly Written by:

I'm digital a project manager with a passion for producing quality digital products. In my spare time I enjoy producing music, visiting art galleries, reading, and writing.