With all the hype around chatbots, skills, and other forms of custom voice UX, we’re often asked why we chose mobile apps as the first target domain for Q Actions – our voice AI platform.

The short answer is: apps are where the utility is – consumers spent a trillion hours using mobile apps last year. With voice, all those familiar apps are even easier to use.

We believe there is a critical gap in the voice assistant marketplace. The ideal assistant MUST:

  • Be ubiquitous – not just available in the kitchen or living room
  • Provide high utility – help us do useful things we do every day
  • Work intuitively – let users speak naturally, without the need to learn new syntax
  • Offer user choice – across platforms, applications and devices
  • Be private and secure – on device where possible

Mobile apps remain the best way to achieve these goals. Your phone is always with you, and mobile apps provide high utility for you wherever you are.

Venturebeat ran a survey last year asking 1000 people “Which of these (app, mobile website, or chatbot) would you prefer to use in order to engage with a brand?” There was a clear winner. Apps! It’s particularly interesting because these 1000 respondents were self-described “chatbot users”.

Users prefer Apps

Users prefer to use Apps

 

Are we at “Peak App” and does it even matter?

We often hear the concept of “Peak App”, which describes a general state of app fatigue. In this narrative, people already have all the apps they need, so they no longer download new apps. And for developers, this peak means creating new apps is no longer exciting, and breaking through as a new app is increasingly rare, so maybe develop a skill or a chatbot for one of the closed platforms and see how that goes (aka starting over with your customers).  

Global app download rates defy the idea of “Peak App”. We’ve seen 60% growth over the past three years, and this trend continues in 2018, with app downloads (and revenue) breaking records yet again in Q1.

app downloads

App Downloads continue to grow

 

People continue to spend more money in the app economy. Both iOS and Google Play saw 20% year-over-year growth in worldwide consumer spend in Q4 2017. The total app spend in 2017 was $17 billion.

App Spend

App Spend continues to grow

As noted by Mary Meeker in her 2017 Internet Trends report, Internet Usage (Engagement) continues to grow (+4% Y/Y), with mobile >3 Hours / Day per User vs. <1 Five Years Ago, USA

Mobile continues to dominate time spent

 

Peak is a moot point anyway, because…

People use 30 to 40 apps, and still have another 50+ apps installed on their phone.

More apps can be used

Many app are usable, but out of sight.

 

We want to bring easy-to-use voice AI to the apps people use, while also helping them make use of those apps installed but not used. Out of sight is out of mind, but if you could just ask, and if the right action in the right app is executed, you’re more likely to use those installed apps. Further, if I don’t have to know which app can execute my command, I can just say what I want and our Q Actions platform will:

  • Understand what you intend to do
  • Determine which apps can get it done
  • Execute the action using the most relevant app installed on your phone

It’s easier, more natural, and … faster! It reduces time to action.

Unlocking Utility

This approach unlocks the high utility of mobile apps by putting the effort of app discovery on the voice AI platform, not the consumer.

ComScore’s “2017 U.S. Mobile App Report” illustrates that many people have apps they consider “Hidden Gems”. These are gems because they are helpful and offer high utility when needed, but are not in the top 25 most used apps. We help people make use of these gems by simply issuing natural voice commands.

Hidden Gems

Hidden gems : apps that are not head apps, but provide huge utility

 

Most of these “hidden gems”, along with millions more – photo apps, payment apps, airline apps, etc. are just not available in existing voice platforms. Alexa Skills offer limited utility compared to mobile apps already installed on your phone.

Critical Gaps In The Big Voice Platforms

The big voice platforms don’t currently support many of the most popular, helpful, and engaging mobile apps. Here’s a look at top mobile apps vs apps currently supported through an Alexa Skill.

Apps on Assistants

Many popular apps are not available on Alexa or Google Assistant

 

Current voice platforms don’t support enough useful actions. Even those apps supported by Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, Siri, et al, often limit voice support to a small number of app functions. For example, with Alexa, I can order a Lyft, but I can’t schedule one, or look at my ride history. Voice should make using these familiar apps easier, not require you to remember what Lyft can do with Alexa.

Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

Current voice platforms require new, custom development, ongoing maintenance and support. Why would a developer reinvent the wheel just to offer voice support to their customers, expanding their maintenance and support requirements in the process?

Voice enabling your existing app gets developers and brands started on capturing customer voice search commands, a valuable asset that should be protected from competitors, some of which operate digital platforms eager to disintermediate brands from their customers.

Apps Are Useful, Personal, Private, and Secure

A compelling consumer voice experience is our goal, and apps are a great starting point. Further, because you already trust the apps you use, and we don’t require registration or any user credentials, we execute the right actions for you privately.  We can enable personal actions, like playing your personal playlists, viewing your photos, sending payments to friends, and messaging family – quickly and securely.

Through our Q Action Kit (developer SDK) or our Q Actions App, Aiqudo’s action intent AI connects voice computing to the mobile app ecosystem, helping you take action quickly and easily, wherever you go.

David Amato

Author David Amato

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