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Ok Google…Voice Changes IoT

From No Usage (When I Ruled The Thermostat)


I’m nerdy, lets just get that out of the way. One of the things that I was most excited by when I got a house was the fact that I could put in a Nest thermostat and turn it into a smart home. Oh how I enjoyed checking the temperature a hundred times a day. Then we added an indoor camera, then outdoor cameras and I was even more hooked. Then came Sonos, a Wifi lock and some smart lights. I was in heaven as I could run most of my house from my phone. My wife however never used any of it except manually.


So what you say?


Well of course many products will be connected to the internet in the future. However to hit critical mass and the scale that pundits are predicting people like my wife (a wonderful woman who is not super tech savvy) need to want to use and interact with products in a new non-manual manner.


To Full Adoption


Within the last month I’ve seen a glimpse of the future and a tenfold change in how much my wife uses our smart devices. The reason for this change? Google Home. I of course wanted it because it seemed cool and would finally bring all my devices together.  What I didn’t really realize was that it was actually going to be the tipping point device for my wife. Whereas she would manually turn up (and I mean up) the temperature on our Nest before now I just hear “Ok Google please turn the temperature to 74”. We’re walking out the door and it’s “Ok Google turn off the lights in the kitchen”.


The ease with which she now interacts with these products is one of the reasons we’re so interested in dialogue understanding as an area of experimentation at Zero Gravity Labs. As noted by our friends at Facebook, understanding dialogue is not a new pursuit but as the tools we have in our toolbelt have changed dramatically with natural language processing and artificial intelligence so has the pursuit. It is amazing to see the process happening everyday by our teams (whom you could join if you’d like) and with our own real world data. 


I certainly can’t claim to have seen the future or predicted anything but I can say I’m extremely convinced that the more we allow for technology to accessed through natural voice commands the more the curve of early adopters to laggards could be squeezed completely.


Michael G. Cohen is General Manager and a founding member of Zero Gravity Labs.


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