I want to revisit some of my statements around ambient computing – -and voice – with some new data from Bloomberg. According to Amazon’s internal data, there have been years when 15% to 25% of new Alexa users were no longer active in their second week with the device. Most Alexa users in many years have used voice-powered devices only to play music, or set the timer while they cook, or turn on the lights. Amazon employees noted in a planning document for 2019 that new Alexa users discover half of the features they will ever use within three hours of activating the device.
Why do we care?
I remain pretty high on “voice” as an interface… and so want to distinguish voice from Alexa specifically. It turns out this may be a lot further away than I initially thought. That appears not necessarily because it’s a terrible idea… and more because the technology doesn’t do enough.
The future may look more like smart displays, where voice works with displays together. Voice alone may not be enough.
Ambient computing remains an area I believe in – it’s just apparent it’s further away, or not just Alexa smart speaker enabled alone.