If you’re an active internet user and love connecting a variety of devices in your home to the internet that aren’t just your PC and mobile phone. Then you’re likely to be one of the early adopters of smart home technology and are at the forefront of the ‘Internet of Things’ or ‘IOT’.
At the moment we are still in the early days of the smart home movement, but things are moving quickly. Companies such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple and many more are building devices that are interconnected with one another and increasingly talk to one another too. Newer smart home devices don’t only connect and talk to one another either, they’ve also got capabilities to talk to their human owners as well. Slowly, but increasingly, it’s not uncommon to find someone talking to someone in their home named Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft), Alexa (Amazon) or Google and asking these named devices questions about their days, schedules, daily weather and much more.
At the moment voice recognition and voice commands are still very basic, but with machine learning and artificial intelligence getting more advanced each year new capabilities continue to emerge. Smart home devices are usually amongst the first to benefit from advancements and updates to voice services which unlock more potential and more uses with each update.
While smart home technology is all about the devices in a home from the fridge to the doorbell being connected to the internet and then controlled by voice using the different AI assistants. Browsing the web on the internet itself and the websites inside it have for the most part been left out, that is until recently.
It was 6 years ago, in 2012 when Google first introduced voice search into its website. Voice search allowed users to use the search engine by using their voice instead of typing. But usually once a user visited a website that Google found, that’s usually been the end of the voice integration function as many of the sites on the internet are read or watch only. But fast forward to 2018 and things are starting to change on the web.
Expedia which is a well known travel website allowing people to book cheap flights on the internet is currently embracing voice search. The website has both Alexa and Google voice integrations. These integrations allow customers to talk to Expedia using their voice. A customer can then ask Google to ask Expedia to book them a trip to their intended destination. In a recent article in Skift Tony Donohue, Expedia’s Chief Technology Officer said “without a doubt, voice is our future”.
Expedia isn’t the only site on the web embracing voice search. In the US, stockbroking firm TD Ameritrade has embraced Amazon’s Alexa voice integration. Customers of the firm can now ask Alexa to visit TD Ameritrade’s website to get market data, stock quotes and even buy and sell stocks all using voice commands.
Vijay Sankaran, chief information officer at TD Ameritrade said in a recent news release that “Voice is the future and allowing our clients to access and transact in their accounts through voice-driven devices is part of the natural progression of options for investors.”
While voice technology on the web is quite a new feature, with both Expedia and TD Ameritrade only releasing these new features this October. It could be an indication that much more is on the way and with services like Alexa, Google and Siri getting more advanced each year and artificial intelligence continuing to improve. Chatting to many of your favourite websites, rather than reading and clicking may be something increasingly common in the coming years.