Happy New Year 2017! I hope everyone survived the holidays. I am back in the office and starting off an exciting new year. It’s CES 2017 later this week. I can’t wait to actually hear about the actual announcements (instead of the speculations) of new consumer technologies that will appear this year. At the same time, its exciting to hear that CES will showcase news about AI, Machine Learning, Smart Cars, Autonomous Vehicles, IoT, VR, Personal Robots, 8K displays, Voice Assistants, Home Automation, Drones, and more.
CES 2017 – What to Expect
The top tech news sites have multiple articles with pre-announcements and previews of what to expect this week in Las Vegas. Last year at CES 2016, Faraday Future gave a glimpse at their concept electric car. This year, they will live stream the unveiling of the actual car on Tuesday, January 3 at 6pm PST. They even have a countdown timer on their home page at https://www.ff.com/en/
Here are links to a few of the CES 2017 previews and news articles that I’ve been reading.
Home Automation in my Christmas Stocking
My Christmas stocking was filled with home automation IoT devices including an Amazon Echo Dot, Switchmate Smart Light Switch and a Wemo Switch. I’ve set up the Echo Dot to control my Nest Thermostat – “Alexa, set Family Room temperature to 72 degrees”. I am working to get the other devices installed and connected to the Echo Dot and also explore SDKs for building additional integrations. The good news for developers and developer programs, there are lots of Voice Control APIs available to connect different devices together in your home and office.
For connected devices and developer evangelism, Evans Data has its Internet of Things vertical research service and annual Tactical Developer Marketing research report series (Developer Marketing Patterns and Developer Relations Programs).
The Gadget Apocalypse?
Back in early December, Farhad Manjoo wrote an article in the New York Times Personal Tech section, “The Gadget Apocalypse is Upon Us“. In his article he mentions the problems at GoPro and Pebble being acquired by FitBit. He also talks about the fall of other companies, the start/stop of Kickstarter projects and that with SmartPhones and software there may not be a need for as many gadgets and wearables.
VentureBeat has a recent article that mentions Manjoo’s article and points to the CES 2017 show’s vendors announcing and demoing 20,000 consumer products. VentureBeat: CES 2017: 20,000 consumer electronics products will be launched despite “gadget apocalypse”. As always, there are some CES products that never see the light of day or take a few years to appear as products (note by mention of Faraday Future above). I did like how VentureBeat talked with Shawn Dubravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, to provide some perspective about the CES show and product announcements: “… Dubravac flat-out disagrees… But beyond that, even if software has become more critical, we still have seen major companies like Google and Amazon and Snap pushing into the hardware space. Content and software remain tightly linked to the success of any hardware. It may be true, as Manjoo argues, that it’s hard to be a company whose sole focus is hardware, but that’s always been true, Dubravac points out.”
If your company has CES 2017 announcements, let me know.
I will be watching for CES 2017 announcements, both as a tech fanatic and also as a developer. If you see any news or hear of new developer capabilities in CES 2017 announcements let me know.
David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
With almost everyone on the planet having a smartphone and/or a desktop computer with a microphone, platform companies are adding Voice Control APIs to their technology offerings. Developers have multiple choices to add speech control for their applications. Consumers have been experiencing speech recognition systems when calling companies (airlines, department stores, etc.) and using voice commands instead of having to hit keys on their phones. Major platform vendors, online services and others have opened their APIs for developers to add voice control and conversational user experiences in their applications. Developer program SDKs and APIs are available from Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, SoundHound, and others. In the background, powerful AI, machine learning and natural language processing systems are helping with the “heavy lifting” of voice control and recognition. A challenge for developers is choosing which APIs to support (probably all of them). A challenge for developer relations programs is how to quickly help developers integrate Voice Control APIs for their applications. These developer innovations are also allowing other developer programs to integrate with and provide added value on top of these APIs for their own platforms, products, and services. This blog post lists a few of the many Voice Control APIs that developers can use.
Voice Control APIs and their Developer Relations Programs
Microsoft – Cortana / Skills – Microsoft leverages the Bing Speech API and Microsoft Cognitive services to power Windows and Android applications like Cortana, Skype Translator and Bing Torque. According to Microsoft, “Cortana connects users to your services, across platforms and devices”. The Cortana Developer Center provides the skills kit, documentation, and samples. You can sign up for the preview to arrive in early 2017. The Cortana developer page also provides guidance for programmers with existing code: “Re-use your custom skill code built for Amazon Alexa”, “Using the Microsoft Bot Framework? Cortana brokers connections between users and bots using the skills kit and the Cortana channel “, and “Import Cortana voice commands from Windows 10 apps”.
Google – Assistant / Actions – Google recently announced the opening of Google Home and Google Assistant for developers. For years we’ve been saying “OK Goggle” into our smartphones. The Google Assistant APIs allow developers to create Actions. The Google Actions site says “Actions on Google let you build for the Google Assistant. Your integrations can help you engage users through Google Home today, and in the future, through Pixel, Allo, and many other experiences where the Google Assistant will be available.” Developers can learn how to quickly integrate voice control into their apps using the Conversation API and Actions SDK. Developer guides, samples, reference documentation and a Web Simulator are available on the Actions on Google developer site.
Amazon – Alexa / Skills – Amazon opened up their Alexa voice service to developers. Alexa is also supported on Amazon’s devices including Echo, Tap and Dot. The Amazon Alexa developer page answers the question “Why Alexa?” with: “Alexa, the voice service that powers Echo, provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice. Examples of these skills include the ability to play music, answer general questions, set an alarm or timer and more. Alexa is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more customers use Alexa, the more she adapts to speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.” With Alexa, developers use APIs to create skills for application voice recognition and operations. Developers can find additional development information on the Alexa Skills Kit site.
Apple – Siri / Domains and Intents – With the release of iOS 10, Apple opened up Siri to iOS application developers with the introduction of SiriKit. According to Apple’s SiriKit site: “SiriKit enables your iOS 10 apps to work with Siri, so users can get things done with your content and services using just their voice. In addition to extending Siri’s support for messaging, photo search and phone calls to more apps, SiriKit also adds support for new services, including ride booking and personal payments.” Developers can learn how to integrate voice control using the SikiKit Programming Guide.
Facebook Jarvis – Voice Control, the “Voice of God” and someday an API
This week Mark Zuckerberg introduced the world to his year long AI development project called Jarvis – “It uses several artificial intelligence techniques, including natural language processing, speech recognition, face recognition, and reinforcement learning, written in Python, PHP and Objective C.” According to news reports, Zuckerberg personally contacted Morgan Freeman so that Jarvis would have the “voice of God”. You can read about how Zuckerberg built Jarvis and watch the introduction on Faceboook. Zuck also built a Facebook Messenger Bot for Jarvis – You can learn about the bot framework at messenger.com/platform.
Uber and Voice Control Integration
The Uber app for iOS now allows you to use your voice and Siri to launch the ride app. First you need to go to your iPhone’s Settings and click on Siri. On Siri’s settings page, choose “App Support” and turn on Siri support for Uber (and other apps that are listed). I looked in the Uber Developers Ride Requests documentation to see if there was an API related to Siri, but did not find anything yet. Would it be cool if the Uber API had extensions for several Voice Control APIs for custom application development on iOS and Android? I did find an article on the Uber blog titled “Hound and Uber — The voice interface future is here” that talks about the SoundHound Hound app’s integration with Uber. The blog post starts with “We’re on the brink of a voice interface revolution. In an increasingly connected world, we will speak to the products and services around us.” The post also goes on to talk about “Hound, a consumer voice search and assistant app, and Houndify, a developer platform that enables any developer to add a natural, conversational voice interface to their products.”
Does your Developer Program build APIs on top of other Voice Control APIs
Let me know if you have voice control API extensions for one or more of the above platform vendor APIs. If you have your own developer Voice Control APIs send me an email and I will take a look at what you offer.
David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
While developers go about their daily tasks, they are also keeping an eye out for hot and cool (can I say both words in the same breath?) technologies invading their development space. Who doesn’t want to read about hot developer topics and work on really cool technologies? Who doesn’t want to make sure they are keeping up on today’s and tomorrow’s hot topics? On every developer news site, most programming blogs, at tech conferences and during just about every product launch you’ll hear the presenter make a connection to big data, machine learning, deep learning, mobile devices, cloud computing and the Internet of Things. The discussions go beyond a focus on one hot developer topic to include the integration of multiple technologies to create awesome solutions.
The Latest Hot Developer Topics
You don’t have to look very far down your favorite developer news sites to see headlines focused hot developer topics.
What are the latest trends impacting software developers? The need for Big Data development solutions is becoming a reality for more and more companies with the hyper-explosive growth of company data. To improve business decision making, developers are leveraging analytics platforms, machine and deep learning technologies. To connect beyond our desktop computers to billions of devices and sensors, developers are exploring interfaces to every device in their office, on their manufacturing floor, connected to their bodies, running in their homes and available in their cars. To scale their company’s platforms and services, developers are enhancing their application architectures to be housed in on premis and cloud based computing and storage environments.
Evans Data Researches the Hot Developer Topics
Evans Data Corporation was created to fill the demand for market research, market intelligence, and strategic planning in the software development industry. Since then we have become the industry leader in market intelligence focused on all areas of development from software to hardware to mobility. Developers present a highly focused, highly technical and very influential segment of the software industry, and the need to keep a finger on the pulse of the development community is well understood by many manufacturers. Because of the nature of development and the quickly changing technologies that form their world, traditional market research and consulting services seldom achieve adequate results.
Several Evans Data hot developer topics research reports are available. We also cover emerging developer trends in our global development, developer population, developer marketing and developer relations surveys. Click on the links below to find a description and table of contents for each report.
If you don’t find a report on this list, contact us and we’ll collaborate with your team to create custom developer research for topics key to your company’s success.