Are conversational interfaces the future of enterprise mobile and IoT?

The term may lack a bit in the way of marketing panache, but “conversational interfaces” apparently are the wave of the future for mobile and the Internet of Things in the enterprise.

Anyone who has an iOS device or has seen IBM Watson talking to Bob Dylan on television commercials is familiar with how voice interfaces enable people to communicate with computing devices.

Yet the impact of conversational interfaces in the enterprise to date has been nil. That, according to CIO contributor Jesus Rodriguez, is about to change.

IBM Watson CSC Blogs

IBM Watson interviews Bob Dylan in a TV commercial.

“The capabilities and rapid progress of conversational interfaces are set to become one of the fundamental building blocks of the next generation of enterprise mobile applications,” Rodriguez writes.

While most people are familiar with Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Amazon Echo, and Watson, Rodriguez says the opportunities presented by conversational interfaces in the enterprise are drawing a crowd of startups as well as telco vendors trying to serve their customer bases.

So what are the advantages of conversational interfaces in the enterprise? One huge benefit is that they liberate users from the constraints of typical mobile UIs.

“The conversational nature of voice interfaces offer business users a model to interact with enterprise systems without being constrained by a specific user interface,” Rodriguez says.

Conversational interfaces also allow for multi-user interactions. Just as UIs are limiting for single users, they also are limited to single users.

By “allowing different users to interact with a single application in order to accomplish a specific task,” Rodriguez writes, “conversational interfaces break that boundary.”

Those two benefits also will enable workers to get information faster and collaborate more easily and efficiently. The end result is greater productivity.

Further, conversational interfaces can be used in the enterprise to allow IoT and mobile apps to converse with line of business systems, so humans aren’t even involved in all that chatter.

The full impact probably won’t hit this year, but soon enough conversational interfaces will be the talk of the enterprise.

Is your enterprise preparing for conversational interfaces?

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