Hey everyone, happy Tuesday!
In today’s newsletter, I touch on the implications of voice assistants, including my bold prediction that …
Is voice really the future or are we just blowing smoke?
My bold prediction is that the smartphone will no longer be the primary interface for apps and services by 2030. For all Reconcile stans and anyone who’s chatted with me in the last year probably knows how passionate I am about a voice-first future. What excites me about voice as a primary interface is that it’s extremely accessible, versatile, and empowering.
Accessibility: Voice levels the tech-playing field, especially for older generations that aren’t well equipped to run their lives on tiny screens and complicated app interfaces. I showed my parents the Mint app and their first question was, “okay, so what is going on here?” I like to think that most apps, especially the personal finance ones, are like the TI-84 calculators we used in high school in that they’re extremely feature-packed and designed for expert users. Side note, But for tech-novices, these tools are actually counterproductive and limit access - turning the simple into complicated experiences.
Versatility: I’ll preface this section by saying only a few voice assistants are multi-dimensional (e.g. Alexa). For example, Reconcile’s voice engine is strictly focused on financial services. However, as we continue building use cases around voice platforms, we enable a single point of interaction that can handle hundreds of problems for us. Therefore instead of needing to download and engage with dozens of apps every day, I can simply interact with my Alexa instead. Also, as voice assistants integrate into more of our smart devices, I can control just about every technology product and service from anywhere. Unlike smartphones, voice enables access across devices AND applications.
Empowering: There’s something magical about technology making our lives easier. When websites open in a millisecond, high-definition videos stream flawlessly, or taxis can be ordered from miles away right to our doorstep in three clicks, we feel amazing! I saw first-hand how empowered my parents felt after using an Alexa for the first time. For years before that moment, I knew they felt discouraged about their comfort and familiarity with tech. But now, I can see a noticeable difference in their confidence levels using technology. In fact, my parents are now trying to teach their friends how to use Alexa in different ways (what could go wrong … )! Voice assistants enabled the Bruce Almighty experience - feeling back in control of technology instead of the other way around.
My first hunch about the demise on the smartphone came from reading an interview with Jony Ive in a January 2018 edition of Hodinkee Magazine (which I highly recommend for watch aficionados). Asked about the problem the Apple Watch is solving, Ive responded,
“Many of us have our phones with us all the time, but they aren’t connected to you. Imagine having something this powerful with you at all times, and what opportunities that might present to the user. The opportunity is phenomenal. Particularly when [you] don’t understand just where we are today in terms of technology and capability, but where we are headed.”
Following this nugget, Tim Cook, in an interview with CBS, mentioned how frustrated he was with his excessive levels of screen time,
“For me, my simple rule is if I'm looking at the device more than I'm looking into someone's eyes, I'm doing the wrong thing."
Finally, after looking at the massive investment into next-gen devices like smartwatches, smart glasses, and smart speakers, one can deduce that the future does not include smartphones. Rather, we’ll transfer the capabilities of a phone into other devices that we can co-exist with way better than a miniature, digital screen (although the smart glasses may disprove this assumption). If Apple, the most prolific smartphone maker in the world, is hinting at moving away from the iPhone in favor of wearables like the Apple Watch, then I’m pretty confident the world will follow and abandon our current gadgets. Although, Amazon may be more likely to pull ahead of Apple in the voice-first game. I’ll touch upon this in a future newsletter …
Hope you’ve been enjoying these newsletters! Would appreciate it if you could help spread the word to other finance or technology enthusiasts like yourself 🙌🏽
Thanks for reading!
Jaimin Desai - CEO & Co-Founder of Reconcile
*P.S. If you have any thoughts on our content, please leave a comment or email me at email@example.com!