Is Advertising The Next Logical Step For Sira?
Siri forms a major part of the latest big announcement to emerge from Apple. Siri, the intelligent voice assistant service, has an opportunity to disrupt, in a really positive way, how we communicate with our mobile devices. Presently, if we want to interact with our devices we either have to use some form of keyboard, mouse (perhaps) or a touchscreen, but what if we could simply talk to the device?
To simply talk, as to talk in a natural way, not talk simply as in the the pre-programmed robotic gestures we might have used in 1970s text based adventure games.
From reading the technology news and press feedback, although much of it has since been impacted by the other major news affecting Apple, it does seem that many people were looking for design or engineering innovation in the guise of a completely new iPhone – the iPhone 5. With the iPhone 4S there have been a number of refinements under the hood but these are just refinements and when looked at more closely they do feel like a natural evolutionary step.
Building upon the feature set of the smartphone seems like a good idea and Siri is likely to be a major advancement in technology interaction unless of course it goes the other way and ends up being just another good idea that didn’t take off. However, when combined with the other development, that of iCloud, the potential impact of Siri becomes much stronger. By edging Siri towards the front-end of our interactive experience for gaining information stored on the cloud the physical device itself becomes a simple gateway and takes less of a priority. With the recent announcement from Amazon regarding Silk and the two-tier browsing experience, we can start to see ways to remove even more processing overhead from the physical device which should also, and hopefully, drive the cost of the experience down further and drive its impact into more areas of our society.
This begs the question of advertising. Much of the “free” internet we know of today, particularly in the mobile space, is dominated and supported by various advertising models. Advertising affects the words we read, the images we see, and the things we watch and if Siri technology becomes a popular way to interact then the advertising industry is likely to be impacted. For example, if instead of downloading an ad-supported podcast or app we can simply ask Siri for the latest news then the face time for advertisers is going to be minimal. If we ask Siri to book a hotel or recommend somewhere for dinner we may miss the well placed, personalised, advertising in the sidebar or header of the website and the cookie trail that follows us around telling all and sundry what we’re up to isn’t likely to exist – or is it?
There are many ways of asking the same question and it would make sense, for an improved experience, for a back-end system to collect and analyse voice messages and responses in order to further refine the “intelligent” part of the voice assistance service. This potentially provides a much richer, deeper, metric and personal profile about us than has ever been captured before as we ask for recommendations, handle the daily administrivia, and a bunch of other tasks we might consider as mundane but are potentially perfect candidates for advertising or sponsored messages.
So, the question about intelligent voice assistants boils down to this: Will an intelligent voice assistant tell us what we want to know or what someone else has paid for us to hear?