Feature Article

January 09, 2013

CES: All These Electronics Just Want You to be Natural

Here is an interesting question to ask yourself: how important is Siri? Having once again scooped CES (Steve Jobs wins even from the grave), Apple’s leadership toward voice recognition has been part of the discussion of “context awareness.” The show has turned from the Consumer Electronics Show to becoming the U.S. version of Mobile World Congress. 

However, as much as the event has to do with the base station of the home, the show is not about mobility.   Going beyond the TV and the cable router and into game consoles, smart televisions, thermostats and cars are all pointing to a new generation - not of mobility - but of interaction.

Contextual awareness is about interaction with our environment. 

If I wanted to be a futurist, I would point to the opportunity for all this contextual interaction as heading us toward the singularity. However, our Star Trek future seems to becoming pretty randomly and contextually confused.

As my friend Charlotte Valentine used to ask, “When will we be that smart?”   Moving from TV to the movies, the Matrix suggested the solution with a direct interface.  Scary thought.

But let’s get back to Siri. Can we get to a point where the personal agent is our intermediary to all these devices and all the interactions we want to facilitate?

Terry Ribb of Relevans and Pam Kosta of VirtuOz have been pointing to avitars that act as personal agents. Based on what I am seeing, we are going to be wading through a lot of avitars.

There is a lot of processing that has to take place to make these services work. The point is, when you look at CES, go beyond the immediate offer and look for the context of where the interfaces are heading.

In the last two years, we have been given visual, audio, and tactile interfaces we have never had before.

I keep saying the Web is going mobile, and my history is to be an advocate for presence, but it maybe the interface is going beyond that and the presentity will be as mobile as we are. 

And of course, it will just feel natural.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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