The App is Dead. And IoT Killed It. (Post CES-show)
By Ken Herron
What’s the last app you downloaded?
Did you download it “willingly,” or were you “forced” to download it to be able to operate a new device?
Like millions of people around the world, you may have received a shiny new device as a holiday gift at the end of last year. But it wasn’t just any device. It was a smart device, connected to the internet and controlled and managed through an app.
Wait? What?! I have to stop everything just to download (and then keep updated) another app on my smart phone just to use, just to “talk” to my device? Why?
In contrast to a GUI that defines rules for each interaction — rules which, frustratingly, change from app to app — text-based, conversation interactions are liberating in their familiarity. Messaging is the only interface in which the machine communicates with you the same way you communicate with it.” — @Libovness ( Source)
Over the past 12 months, I have seen the world change — yes, for the better.
Full disclosure: My company created technology which enables people to talk to their things as easily as they talk to each other (and depending on your family, maybe even easier).
The world has changed for the better because WE NO LONGER NEED A SEPARATE APP to use our things, the “things” in the Internet of Things (IoT). We simply communicate with our devices — including appliances, machines, equipment, software, and databases — with the communications platforms we already like to use.
It’s an easy guess that the apps you use most on your smart phone are communications apps. It’s how you communicate with the people in your life. You text people. You email people. You tweet, snap, and Facebook people. And, depending on the country in which you live (and also your age!), you may also WhatsApp, Viber, and WeChat people.
How exactly did IoT kill the app? You can now text your air conditioner. You can email your city garage’s parking camera. You can have your fitness tracker tweet, snap and Facebook your run or swim. And you can even WhatsApp, Viber, and WeChat your robot floor cleaner to finish vacuuming before you get home from work.
“Voice requires a lot more cognitive and physical effort. Text is often more comfortable. Text-based interaction is fast, fun, funny, flexible, intimate, descriptive, and even consistent in ways that voice and user interface often are not. — @Libovness (Source)
But what about voice?
Text is still superior to voice, as anyone who has used Google Home or Amazon Echo (yes, I have one, and I love it) and/or tried to use voice while waiting in an airport security line without having other people overhear: 1) your proprietary business information, 2) your squeeze’s silly nickname, or 3) your holiday weight gain. can tell you.
So what’s next?
At this week’s Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas, arguably the Super Bowl (or World Cup if you’re from outside of the US) of technology, the trend line is clear. IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality (VR, AR, and MR respectively) are rapidly, and permanently, changing the capabilities of the products we use at home, at work, and on the go. Manufacturers who “zap the app” reduce their costs (how much did your company spend on its apps in 2016?), increase product usability (no apps to learn, even grandmothers can message, especially when they get to choose their own channel), and focus on what they do best (i.e., I have yet to meet a product engineer who loves managing dozens of communications platforms’ constantly changing Application Processing Interfaces (APIs)).