Mark Skilton    Copyright 2019  ©

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Why Google Home versus Amazon Echo could represent the “next big thing”


Google IO event announcement last week had several surprising announcements that belie a significant change occurring in the old and new consumer online business. Apart from moving the annual location from San Francisco to their Google Campus, Shoreline Amphitheatre further down the bay in Palo Alto, I suspect many professionals lucky enough to attend this event in person had not realized what is at stake in the oncoming battleground for digital business. 


Shift from touch screens to voice and Virtual search service


First surprising announcement was the admission by Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, acknowledging that Amazon Echo had taken the lead in voice activated services. Google announcing its competitor product, Google Home a similar table top voice controlled speaker and AI assistant. What is significant is the rapid rise of voice recognition technology that is now fast enough to  respond in real time to questions and answers. But underneath it is its deep integration with the cloud and the Amazon marketplace store in the case of Echo and its natural language assistant Alexa. Its significant because it has now over 400 different “skills” and connected suppliers that enable anyone by vide to order food, look up their calendar, pay their credit card bill, search and check for information and many other things just by voice. These devices are also growing their connected devices ecosystem too, by vioce you can switch your home lights on in any room, control your thermosat, your security system and fire detectors; automate your gardening and perimeter doors, fences.  Google Home interesting has also connected to Google ChromeCast which also controls a TV and any display device all by Voice.   


This is a shift from using keyboards and mouse and even touchscreens to just voice in what I call voice-control-search.  This is a game changer for search engines like Google who are playing catchup with Amazon who launched in June 2015 a year ahead. The battleground is now in building enough smart “skills” in the assistants to keep users coming back and using these devices.  Having personally used Amazon Echo it is astonishing how quick it is to use and rapidly becomes easier and hands-free.   In a market of Internet of Things predicted to grow to over 50 billion connected objects (1) and valued at over $14.Trillion by 2022 by Cisco (2) it is an astonishing step change from a world of PCs and Mobiles to a battleground to connect to everything.


Connecting natural language control to virtual reality spaces – the rise of physical-cyber spaces


The Google I/O event also announced several new updates to their mobile messaging apps and google operating system but the second major announcement of significance was the new virtual reality platform Daydream. This is another recognition of the step change in data and location that is becoming increasingly important in how people will experience and interact with their living and work environments. Like Microsoft Hololen and its drive into VR it’s a recognition by the search giant that the future platform for services can be both physical and virtual.  This means that the “flat world” experience of a web page of search results can be brought to life and interacted in more immersive experience. 

This is hugely significant when the  “penny drops” in that VR is not just a closed gaming platform  (Closed-VR) but when opened up and connected to social networks, online marketplaces and search and personal data augmented reality. I call this the emerging open-AR that will blend virtual reality content from platforms like Google DayDream with physical living and working experiences to create new augmented reality experiences in those places.   To see VR as the

domain of a niche gaming is misleading when the actual consequences of this technology are fully connected and realized.  Mobile devices with AR/VR become ways to connect you with physical and virtual experience.  this from Facebook Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens to Google use of Magic Leap gesture devices.  With the mobile AR/VR market is predicted to reach $150 Billion by 2020  (3) this is the other major battleground as companies and stat-up seek to grow into these new rich and contextual environments.    


It will be interesting to see how Apple responds to the Amazon and Google overtures in creating these new markets and how disruptive this will be to these companies as they drive to enable the new internet of things through voice and consumer AI and connected ecosystems.



Source: Professor Mark Skilton