The global consumer tech community flocked to Las Vegas, Nevada this January for the most important event in every entrepreneurial technologist's diary: the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). As tradition stipulates, it’s where the flood of product reviews and predictions about the future of consumer tech happens. A recurring theme at CES that is tying many new consumer product announcements together is the ‘intelligent user interface.’
As expected, CES showcased the best and brightest ‘intelligent voice/motion command’ in the form of on-demand applications—everything from audio controlled assistants like Alexa to connected gizmos like Bixi, that enable gesture control for smart devices. As the BBC rightly observed, “…we’re still decades away from having androids, as seen on TV shows like Westworld or Humans” as an embedded part of our lives. Currently, we’re in a world where consumers demand seamless user experiences. It’s a trend that business professionals, over the next few years, will see creep into more everyday applications.
Many tech companies are already picking up on these exploding ‘ease of use’ interfaces. We’re already seeing more intuitive user interfaces trickle down to business applications. Increasingly, B2B software vendors are trying to capture the seamless elements that customers love and apply them to everyday office solutions to make work-life and work-based collaboration more fluid.
We saw the first contactless payment cards offered by Barclaycard in 2007, and we’re seeing tech companies bring the ease of use interface to life for business professionals. Tools like Booking.com’s on-demand business travel tool Booking.Now, which lets users book a tailored stay in two-taps, and BlueJeans Rooms, which transforms normal meeting rooms into smart rooms are only two examples of companies leading the charge. With BlueJeans Rooms, users are recognized automatically via their smart device and can initiate live video conversations simply by walking into a room.
The Consumer/Business User Interface Blur
While the concept of ‘zero-touch’ is not yet a reality in the business application landscape, the core value of having a more seamless user experience is at the center. Taking the intelligent video solution of BlueJeans Rooms as an example, video is being democratized. Instead of spending extra time working with existing equipment or set-ups, employees are free from navigating difficult systems.
The technological thinking behind the huddle room concept from BlueJeans is that business professionals can initiate video meetings as easily as talking to a colleague sitting in the next cube. Currently, an average of eight to fifteen minutes of every video meeting is wasted getting participants connected. Such problems are compounded because every room system operates a little differently, causing major headaches not only for users but also for the IT department that manages each system separately.
We already know that group video conferencing throughout the enterprise is expected to increase 400 percent by 2019, with huddle rooms increasing by approximately 10% year-over-year. This means that users will expect more ways of seamlessly managing and collaborating using their work-based tools. BlueJeans Rooms is just one example of how the ‘ease of use’ interface is making seamless business tools a reality. The key principle of ‘removing unnecessary technological steps’ will certainly ripple through B2B technology products and solutions from vendors the world over.