Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Nov-Dec 2015 Contents For the last 30 years or so, the dominant
user interaction with enterprise software
has been through keyboards and screens
in different sizes and form factors. It started
with desktop computers with big monitors, then
laptops, then smartphones and tablets.
These days, thanks to the internet and cloud
services, data can be accessible to anyone, at
any time. You don't need to be stuck at a desk
to browse social or business data. Undoubtedly,
this makes you more productive.
However, you are still stuck behind the
screens and keyboards on your smartphone,
tablet or laptop, and have been so for the last
three decades. Yet there are many situations
when you are not able to use your phone,
but still need to access business data to
remain productive: when driving, for instance,
particularly if wasting valuable time in a
Whatever innovation we have seen throughout
the years, talking remains a natural way to
communicate (teenagers excluded, possibly),
so we thought that IFS Labs should explore
the opportunity for people to start talking to
their enterprise software. The result was the
Intelligent Personal Assistant, a mobile app that
lets the user control applications by their voice,
via a smartphone or tablet.
I talk to Google to order
sushi and a beer in Tokyo
Let me step outside my comfort zone of enter-
prise software for a moment, to explore how we
use voice interaction already today.
If I need to get in contact with my broadband
supplier at home, I first navigate through voice
interaction in its support centre to explain the
issue. It's convenient and works very well. The
Google Translate app can help me to order
sushi and a beer in Japanese, as I frequently
visit Tokyo on business. It's a bit embarrassing,
Looking at enterprise software, there are
a number of situations when voice has the
greatest potential. It might not necessarily be
the only user experience in a given scenario, but
a great complementary one.
• Users with various disabilities who cannot see
or use a keyboard and a screen.
• Users who are in eyes-busy and hands-busy
situations such as driving, wearing protec-
tive gloves preventing them from touching a
device, or getting instructions when repair-
• Users who need a very simple user interface
(think Google search, Siri or Cortana) where
you don't get paralysed by lots of menus
or buttons but instead just ask the system
simple questions and it will guide you through
Traffic statistics and
Even if new technologies can offer cool new
things, I'd like to see what potential benefits
there are to be gained.
Using the TomTom Traffic Index, we can see
some statistics on how traffic jams in major
cities delay people, and how this time could also
potentially be used in a more productive way
than spending your energy swearing at traffic.
In many countries, including Australia,
you are only allowed to use your phone in
hands-free mode when driving. Talking to
your enterprise software, in your vehicle to
check some business data to have on hand
before arriving at your destination, could be
a smart use of non-productive time spent
Of course driving is just one, very common
example. I'm sure you can think of many
more ways that talking could improve the user
experience of your enterprise software and your
organisation's productivity. It's something you
should probably start thinking about because
the reality is just around the corner.
Martin Gunnarsson is the director of IFS
Labs, a think tank tasked with finding new
ways to push the boundaries of what ERP
systems can and should do -- often leveraging
consumer technology as inspiration.
TALKING HANDS-FREE WITH
YOUR ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE
World rank Congestion
Delay per day with
a 30 minute trip
Delay per year with
a 30 minute trip
LOS ANGELES 10/146
Congestion level means increase in overall travel times when compared to a free flow situation.
Visit the TomTom Traffic Index for more details.
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS --- NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2015
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