This January, Las Vegas, Nevada played host to the most important date in every entrepreneurial technologists’ diary, the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 (CES) – cue the flood of product reviews and predictions about the future of consumer tech. In addition to the attention wearables this year however, there was a strong theme tying multiple consumer product announcements at CES together, ‘intelligent user interface’ (Intelligent UI).
CES 2017 showcased the brightest and best in ‘intelligent voice command’ and ‘intelligent motion command’ through various on-demand applications – everything from audio controlled assistants out of Silicon Valley like ‘Alexa’, to connected gadgets like the French ‘Bixi’ that enable gesture control for your smart devices. All this is very well and good, but as the BBC rightly cites: ‘we’re still decades away from having […] androids, seen on TV shows such as Westworld or Humans’, as embedded parts of our everyday lives. However, where we’re currently at is a world where consumers demand seamless UI, and it’s a trend business professionals will continue to see creep in to more and more commonplace applications.
Enterprise tech companies are already picking up on this expanding trend towards more ‘ease of use’ interfaces and we’re in turn seeing flickers of more intuitive UIs trickle through to business applications. Increasingly, B2B software vendors are trying to capture the seamlessness loved by consumers in apps at hands reach 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 trend to life for the business professional in other ways. From tools like on-demand business travel booking solutions like ‘Booking.Now’ from Booking.com where users book a tailored stay in two-taps, to BlueJeans’ latest reveal, ‘BlueJeans Huddle Rooms’, which transform normal meeting rooms in to ‘smart rooms’. Users are automatically recognised via their smart device and can initiate live video conversations simply by walking into a room.
Seamless User Interface copycat-ism
The actual concept of ‘zero-touch’ isn’t yet a commonplace reality across the entire business application landscape yet – imagine trying to scan and respond to your deluge of emails with the wave of your hand. You’d be there all week – but the core value is central, whereby seamless user experiences are paramount. Taking the intelligent video solution of BlueJeans Huddle Rooms as an example it democratises video by working with any existing equipment or set-up and freeing employees from difficult-to-navigate systems.
The technological thinking behind the Huddle Room concept from BlueJeans is that business professionals can initiate a video meeting as easily as it is to talk to a colleague in the next cube. Currently an average of eight to fifteen minutes of every video meeting is wasted getting participants connected. Problems are often compounded because every room system operates a little differently, causing major headaches not only for users but for the IT department that has to manage each system separately.
We already know that group video conferencing usage throughout the enterprise will increase 400 percent by 2019 according to Gartner, with huddle rooms specifically increasing by approximately 10% year-over-year. Users will only demand more seamless ways of managing and collaborating their work-based tools. The BlueJeans Huddle Room is just one example of ‘ease of use’ interface making seamless business tools a reality. I for one am excited to see this core value, ‘removing unnecessary technological steps’ ripple through to products and solutions from B2B technology vendors the world over.