This is my continuing series on emerging technology trends and libraries. This week’s trend is all about conversational systems.
What is a Conversational System? For starters, there are a TON of names and related technology that goes along with them, including: smart speakers, voice assistants, personal assistants, voice computing, conversational systems, conversational platforms, and conversational interfaces.
There are different types of conversational systems. You have probably heard of smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, or the Apple HomePod. You probably have Google Assistant or Apple Siri on your phone. And I’ll guess that you have talked to a chatbot before. For example, I’ve been having problems with my AT&T uVerse DSL internet. So I called AT&T, and talked to a bot first, who wanted to know what the problem was, who I was, etc in order to direct me to the right department. Honestly, I just say “customer service” a bunch of times until the bot says “ok, it sounds like you want to talk to a person…” Works for me 🙂
Who owns Voice Assistants? Techcrunch recently shared some research about this – 32% of US consumers own a smart speaker. That’s up from 28% a year ago. According to the article, it’s predicted to hit about half of US consumers after Christmas.
How do people use Conversational Systems? Here are some popular tasks associated with voice assistants:
- ask it to play music
- get the weather forecast
- ask questions
- do an online search
- check the news
- make a phone call
- ask for directions
- get recent sports scores
- use smart home commands (i.e., turn up the AC, turn off lights, etc)
- send and answer text messages
- do some shopping
How can libraries incorporate Conversational Systems?
Here are a few ideas. I’ll bet you have more (please share if you do)!
- Learn it. Hey – it’s new technology. Figure it out so you can help customers with it.
- Teach it. Show customers how to use their app-based voice assistants. Hold a class on setting up and using an Amazon Echo.
- Make it. Some libraries are creating Amazon Alexa Skills and Google Assistant Actions. Why not see if you can do the same thing?
- Nearly a Third of US Consumers Now Own Smart Speakers
- Conversational Systems are the Future of Business
- Voice Assistants in 2018: 5 Emerging Trends
Making Skills and Actions:
- Four Pro Tips for First-Time Alexa Skill Developers
- Conversation Design (Build Actions for the Google Assistant with Actions on Google)
- Worthington Libraries
- The Free Public Library of the Borough of Pompton Lakes (dang that’s a long name!)
- Designing an Alexa Skill for the Public Library
- New Alexa Skill debuts this week at DCPL