Daily Updates, Future Ear Radio

Future Ear Daily Update: 4-22-19

“You Get Into These Simplification Habits That You Know Make Things Better, And Now You Want Them Everywhere” – Mark Cuban

Last week, Bradley Metrock interviewed Mark Cuban on Bradley’s podcast, This Week in Voice (TWiV). This was a really cool moment for the #VoiceFirst community as a whole, as I think it represents the fact that voice technology is starting to be recognized as one of “the next big things” in tech by highly regarded investors like Mark Cuban. It was a fascinating discussion and it’s really interesting to hear how someone like Mark views the business and investment opportunities around this space, as well as where the dead-ends are.

There were a number of topics discussed throughout the course of the podcast and rather than recap all the interesting things said, I want to hone in on one specific portion of the discussion around continuity (around the 31-minute mark). They’re talking about this concept of having continuity anytime you are moving from one environment to another (i.e. moving from your home into your car). Mark summarized this concept here,

“You get into habits, right I mean, I get into places and I say, ‘Alexa, what’s the weather?’ and you realize there’s no Alexa around. You get into these simplification habits that you know make things better and you want them everywhere.”

This is effectively my thesis on why I believe hearables are a critical component to the continuity equation. In a piece I wrote back in July, 2018, I wrote this:

“I’m of the mind that as we depend on our smart assistants more and more, we’ll want access to our assistants at all times. Therefore, I believe that we’ll engage with smart assistants across multiple different devices, but with continuity, all throughout the day. I may be conversing with my assistants in my home via smart speakers or IoT devices, in my car on the way to work, and in my smart-assistant integrated hearables or hearing aids throughout the course of my day while I’m on-the-go.”

It wasn’t like I was the first one to come up with this line of thinking, as this is something that many people likely think as they begin to move day-to-day tasks to Alexa or one of the other smart assistants. This is why smart speakers are so important, because as Bret Kinsela has pointed out through his research, smart speakers are the “training wheels” to using the voice interface. Smart speakers train you to use this new method of computing and once you begin to get comfortable with it, you start to think like Mark is thinking with “simplification habits”, where you just want this type of functionality around you all the time.

This idea of “simplification habits” ultimately ties into the reduction of friction, which is at the very core of the adoption of the voice user interface and smart assistants. We spend less time tapping, typing and swiping through apps on our phones doing the mechanical work of “issuing commands” and “executing jobs.” As all of the things we depend on our smartphones for become more simplified through voice, the more compelling this interface becomes.  In essence, the better voice computing gets, the more important continuity and always-available, ambient or in-the-ear smart assistant access becomes for the user.

As you can see in Andy’s video below, nearly invisible hearables that serve as a home to our smart assistants are already here:

-Thanks for Reading-


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