The global advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming everything from our social structures and personal relationships to how we conduct business. At the heart of this is how we speak with our devices—human-to-machine (H2M) or machine-to-human (M2H) communications—and how they speak to each other—machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
How much machines talk to each other is worth a deeper discussion. Google’s Neutral Machine Translation System went live in 2016 and, more recently, Microsoft researchers discovered that their AI had invented its own language to write code, which it used to talk to machines without humans understanding it. This is the basis for intelligent IoT messaging. Most of us cannot understand machine languages, but if machines can communicate with each other in human languages, we could understand and participate.
The real question therefore is why are we teaching our children to code, but not teaching machines to speak our languages?
M2M and H2M/M2H communication is complex. Intelligent IoT messaging uses existing channels and enables people to communicate with machines in their own natural language. This will become increasingly important as we hand over roles and eventually decision-making to AI.
Today just a small percentage of the world’s population have connected devices in their homes. Businesses have recently begun their journeys with IoT, and in many parts of the world are still focused on their initial transformation to digitize the workplace.
However, although the world is just starting with IoT, many of us are already suffering from “app fatigue” and information overload. The fact is that majority of U.S. consumers still download zero apps per month. If you need an app to control each device or a few apps in total to control all your devices, imagine what will happen when all of us have to connect to and control all of our different devices at home, at work, and on the go. Will IoT truly be a convenience?
When working on Jarvis—his voice-powered, AI home automation program—Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg discovered he preferred communicating with Jarvis by text. Why? In his words, “text feels less disturbing to the people around me.” Zuckerberg also noted that the volume of text messages is growing much faster than the number of voice calls, suggesting that future AI products should not be solely focused on voice and will also need a private messaging interface.
Intelligent IoT messaging has many benefits. Messaging is less disturbing to others and is more convenient. Today’s voice recognition cannot provide 100% accuracy. Switch to text messaging and Siri, Alexa, and the others can immediately understand you.
This goes beyond convenience and comprehension. As we introduce new devices into our lives and our reliance on them increases, manufacturers will need to know which new features and products to invest in and why, and how to improve their devices’ abilities to serve their customers’ needs. Messaging can create the insights for what specific customers want their devices to do, and provide manufacturers with the data they need to make their devices smarter, more effective and more useful.
IoT will eventually play a larger role in revolutionizing the workplace than both the internet and social media combined. Intelligent IoT messaging will keep the conversations about us in our human language. It’s about more than just security, interoperability and convenience, it’s about enabling us to communicate in a way that allows us to achieve our vision for IoT and AI, with humans placed at the center.