Why are enabling technologies lagging?

When we consider enabling technologies, or technologies that make the user experience uniform for all users, there is a growing gap. Tobii offers eye tracking hardware that coupled with the right software allows you to input information into your computer with only your eyes. Leap and Myo offer you the ability to use motion to enter information into the computer and Dragon, as well as Office Dictate from Microsoft,  allow you to speak to your computer to generate input. The issues with all of the “enabling” hardware today is the reality of setup and configuration. Plus you have to have support people that support both the enabling hardware and the combination of that hardware and the software the user needs to be successful.

I am not, by the way advocating that business stop using the enabling hardware. Rather I am calling for the companies building them to do a better job. Today, the many available solutions have an impact both on the computer, and the user. We need to move to a new order in the enabling technology space that removes the impact on the user. As the Google Home device and the Amazon Echo devices continue to add skills and abilities the reality of speech recognition is going to improve. AI focused on pre-determining, and finishing sentences for people will be a value add going forward.

Still, we need to create solutions that enable users more effectively. Applications need to operate the same way with enabling and without enabling devices. It has to be easier to implement the technologies need to unlock the value of the person using them!

This blog was dictated by the Dragon Naturally Speaking product and a Jabra Evolve 80 headset. I am going to try Office Dictate this weekend. Just to see if they are improving. My primary issue with both the Office product and the Dragon product is that they are wholly input driven. The same is true of Amazon Echo and Google Home. The quality of the input drives the ability of the system to respond. As we move down the path of improving, we have to be able to input via voice with ambient noise factored out.

Until that happens, randomly add the words Google and Alexa to your vocabulary. You can find out quickly if your friends have either device in their homes!


Time flies when you are baking a cake.