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Why virtual assistants are the ‘killer app’ for wearables

Mike Elgan | Nov. 20, 2017
‘Hearables’ and smart glasses will keep us in range of our virtual assistants everywhere, all the time.

And as I’ve discussed here in the past, augmented-reality smart glasses from the likes of Apple will offer virtual assistant access all the time they’re worn.

Over the next few years, these products will be joined by hundreds of wearables that give instant access to the virtual assistants of our choice.

In the enterprise, A.I. wearables will enhance mobile applications powerfully. They’ll also provide security.

New research from the University of Michigan has demonstrated that special-purpose wearables can “eliminate vulnerabilities in voice authentication.” The researchers’ VAuth technology combines voice audio with vibrations on the body to create a unique “signature” that verifies identity.

Secure voice ID means natural voice interaction with a virtual assistant will enable simple talking to replace keys, keycards, signatures and other forms of ID or access.

The conclusion is inescapable: The popularity of smart speakers, the increasing use of voice over text, the improving quality of virtual assistants, the growth of A.I. wearables and the demonstrated ability of voice to provide secure ID mean that all trendlines converge in a future where virtual assistants are the “killer app” for wearables, and wearables are the “killer apps” for virtual assistants.

The basic scenario will be that each user will pick the virtual assistant he or she likes best. When at home or the office (or the car), you’ll use a smart speaker.

While out and about, you’ll have your choice from many A.I.-powered earbuds, smart glasses and other wearables, all delivering the same virtual assistant.

Star Trek got it right. We’ll talk to our computers. Everywhere. All the time.

IDG Insider


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