Bill Meisel: Siri is the beginning of ‘a paradigm shift’ (m-pulse recap)

It seems as though everyone and their cats are talking about m-pulse, the hot new UNTETHER.tv show featuring Rob Woodbridge and Peggy Anne Salz (not to be confused with that other hot new UNTETHER.tv show featuring yours truly). While there will be a fresh m-pulse episode to enjoy tomorrow and over the weekend, Peggy did a great write up on last week’s episode over on MobileGroove that I wanted to call attention to – specifically the comments of m-pulse guest Bill Meisel. Bill is the founder of TMA Associates, and has partnered with the Applied Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS) to organize the Mobile Voice Conference, March 12-14 in San Francisco.

Obviously, Bill is the guy to talk to when you’re talking mobile voice, and his analysis of where Siri is taking us is particularly compelling. As Peggy puts it, voice has reached its tipping point.

But Siri is more than just voice recognition software (licensed from Nuance). Siri will be a super-tough act to follow because it has combined speech recognition and natural language processing and tightly integrated this with key features on the device (calendar and address book, for example).

As Bill sees it: “This personal assistant model is a paradigm shift.” It’s not about trying to inject human intelligence into a service. It’s about human-like services that harness computer intelligence to do our tasks for us — better and faster — by tapping into the “strengths computing technology has (and always will) in memory and the ability to process a lot of information and do terrific searches.” All the better if they —like Siri—remain robot-like with a good sense of humor.

What’s most interesting about this development is the potential impact on enterprises as consumers expect a new standard of personal service.

Bill warns that our familiarity with Siri is will likely whet our appetite for Siri-like services that take the heavy-lifting out of dealing with customer service issues. “A lot of enterprises are going to realize they need a smart personal assistant — and that people are going to expect that.”Bill shares some examples (such as American Airlines running on Microsoft technology) that show how a voice assistant on our personal devices can improve service (the first big step to boosting customer loyalty).

The upshot: pressure on lots of companies to create these applications so that we can use our mobile devices to streamline our customer service requests. Imagine an Amazon assistant that can take book order, track shipping — the works. “That’s going to be expected,” Bill says.

Of course, as Peggy notes, this sort of customer service won’t be easy. The departments that handle customer service, IT, and marketing are often within their own silos in many corporations. But that doesn’t mean the difficulty in horizontal integration is slowing down the competition any.

Why so much disruption and competition? Because voice search integrated with the Web effectively bypasses Google, getting us to the answers without exposing us to the results and ads that have made Google an advertising company first and a search company second (Let’s not forget that advertising accounts for the lion’s share of Google revenues and the 4Q2011 decline in click prices was enough to disappoint investors.)

Interested in learning more? Read Peggy’s full write up, or watch the m-pulse episode in question below:

Download the audio version




About the author

Douglas Soltys

Douglas is the former Editor-In-Chief of Inside BlackBerry, BlackBerry Cool, and QuicklyBored, which he launched as a mobile gaming industry site. His knowledge of mobile and social media led him to a job at RIM (BlackBerry), where he got to travel the world and do lots of cool things. He is often left-handed, but rarely sinister.

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