In the future, Amazon’s release of the Echo Show could be looked at as a major turning point in how we interact with our devices. Voice based interactions are simple, but they can’t convey all the information we need. To be truly effective a visual component is needed to complement voice interactions. That’s why it’s so interesting to think of what Facebook might accomplish with it’s own voice + visual device.
As reported by Adage, Facebook is working on a ‘video chat device for the home’ as part of the Regina Dugan led Building 8. You may remember her from F8 speaking on topics such as hearing through touch and typing with your brain. While mass market applications of those concepts are a ways off, a screen accompanied by an artificially intelligent operating system and smart camera technology could be an effective way for Facebook to further make it’s way into consumers homes within the next year.
This device could do a number of things for Facebook. The screen will act as a natural way to watch their new internally produced video content as well as just watch more Facebook video in general. We could also see it be used to expand live video options and the number of people who take part in live streaming. The smart camera will allow for object recognition which could be used as a potential point of commerce. Not to mention, all of that will lie underneath Facebooks smart assistant, which will most likely be an expansion of M.
Long term, the device will align with Facebooks plans with regards to Messenger more so than the traditional Facebook proper interface. Utilizing the M virtual assistant and smart camera, Facebook will attempt to expand the messaging interface from your phone to your home. It’s rumored to be testing a ‘feature that will scan for people in range and lock onto them’, which would allow someone to go from messaging on their phone to video chatting on their device seamlessly. Doing so would give them a huge leg up over Amazon’s messaging service, which requires Alexa devices to use and does not currently have a highly used mobile application.
For marketers, this rumor further emphasizes the fact that you will need to have a voice + visual strategy in place to interact with consumers. As the technology progresses, voice + visual will be the easiest way for consumers to access information and interact socially. The brands that understand this and create applications that offer utility for their target audience will stand to be frontrunners in this new era.