Watch This! Samsung Bixby: Full Voice Control
If you have a Samsung Galaxy S8 then this should interest you. Even if you don’t, it’s an example of how far along voice control systems are coming.
Bixby is available with the Samsung Galaxy S8 range of smartphones, although the system is not complete yet. Its functions now appear to be growing fast, as the following video shows.
The system is unlike other mobile assistants that simply feed search results or switch to related apps quickly. Bixby is meant to help you become more efficient at using your phone.
The end goal is to make it so you can access any feature of the phone. When Bixby is complete, you’ll be able to complete any action with your voice that you can through the screen.
Bixby: gimmick or useful tool?
It’s easy to dismiss these new mobile assistants as gimmicks. Yet I feel this video shows they can be very useful when you are aware of their potential.
My mind instantly goes to seeing Bixby as an accessibility tool. I can see Bixby and similar systems being incredibly useful for those with limited mobility. Other with impaired vision may also benefit. Full voice control would let them use computing equipment more efficiently and easily.
The hands-free nature of the system also has uses anywhere someone is unable to touch their phone. Driving is perhaps the most obvious. Although I can see the system useful in office scenarios and even at home; maybe in the kitchen or during a gaming session.
As a proof of concept, Bixby shows how a voice-activated system can be very powerful when it is integrated tightly with individual hardware and software.
Bixby is unlikely to appear on non-Samsung products, yet I’m sure the concept will translate. Perhaps Samsung will license the algorithms in the background to other manufacturers who can tailor the experience to their own products. Maybe they will sit on their baby and let others develop from scratch. Time will tell!
The assistant should be able to do everything
For designers and developers of the future, one thing about the Bixby philosophy is very important: everything should be accessible.
If we want voice control to be the de-facto approach in systems of the future, then it can’t be a second-rate experience. If a feature you can access from traditional controls is missing, then the system is not complete.
In a world where driverless cars and fully connected-home equipment will soon be the norm, this is a peek at how we will swiftly communicate with our technology to complete our tasks.
Samsung’s push push to voice control may also shake up other players in mobile. Apple’s Siri hasn’t really grown up much in the past few years. We also have Amazon’s new baby: Alexa. All she wants to do right now is hoover up your data and sell you things.
With Samsung driving forward Bixby functionality as a proper assistant, we may well see competitor systems becoming more useful with daily tasks too.