Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud, Internet of Things (IOT) & Machine Learning….. now that we have all the buzzwords are out if the way, let’s talk about what they actually mean.
All these technologies are all very powerful in their own regards and when combined can do some very cool things, even for you personally within your day to day business use or even at home.
Based on some of our previous posts you might think that we only talk about Windows-based devices & Microsoft Software.
Whilst this does make up the majority of our Client base, we also have a healthy amount of Mobile users out their running of Apple iPad’s & iPhones & Android Devices.
So today we are going to talk about this space in general and some of the things you can do. As of iOS version 12 that you may not be familiar with a new application available called Shortcuts.
What is Shortcuts
As they say, Work Smarter not Harder, Shortcuts is an iOS based App that allows you to combine and automate several actions at the press of a button or simply via a SIRI Voice Command. Whilst this concept is not entirely new on other platforms, it is to be actioned by voice for Apple. Other similar solutions on other platforms are Microsoft Flow, IFTTT, Zapier
You can either create your own shortcuts from scratch or use one someone else has already taken the time to make. This is part of the reason tools like this are so great is you can simply add Shortcuts (iOS)/Recipies (Zapier)/Applets (IFTTT)/Templates (Flow) that other users have created.
Below are two community sites where people are sharing their Shortcuts, you can use these as is or then modify them for your specific use case.
That’s all well and good but I’m an Android User, so what about me?
Don’t worry, there are plenty of options for you as well. IF This Then That (IFTTT), Google Assistant & Google Home (App) are all available as an App on Android and is also compatible with the Google Home (Device) & Google Mini or Amazons Echo devices with Alexa.
If you have a larger Office or Home you can also buy the Google Mini in a 2 Pack or 3 Pack. It can be set up to play music via all devices or you can break them up into groups, ie Create a Loungeroom Group & a Kitchen Group that can take different commands or play different songs without affecting all the other Google Mini Speakers. Apple devices do also work with the Google Home or Mini. Below is an example of IFTTT.
What about Microsoft & Windows Solutions?
Well, as mentioned before we wanted to take some off the spotlight off Microsoft on this post but Microsoft has Cortana built right into Windows 10. Cortana is also available to download as an App on other Platforms. If your Business is an Office 365 user, we would suggest checking out Microsoft Flow as mentioned earlier. Flow can streamline and automate a lot of processes both within 365 and with other externally connected third-party cloud applications.
How far can I go controlling things…..
Well, the list of Integrated devices and applications keeps growing for Google’s, Devices, Amazon Echo and the Apple Homepod. All we would suggest is to do your research before choosing a device like this. Whilst some Apps might work across all platforms others may work with one but not the other, some might also only work with a Subscription and not the free versions (ie Spotify). If your a big Netflix watcher, and your looking at the Google devices you will also need a Chromecast Ultra to connect your TV. If you want to Control lights with a Google Device you have supported lights like LIFX, TP-Link & Philips Hue. Have a non-Smart enabled Device but would still like to control functions like turning on and off, check out Smart Plugs which also work with Google devices or Amazons Echo range.
All of these solutions are leveraging AI & Machine Learning technology from the 4 Main Cloud Providers (Apple’s iCloud, Amazon AWS & Google Cloud & Microsoft Azure). Once you voice command is received, these cloud providers translate the required actions and send the tasks back to either your Mobile Phone or other IOT enabled device (TV, Smart Plugs, Google Mini or Amazon echo etc.)
If you have a business process that you would like to try and automate let us know. We will see if we can use Microsoft Flow to improve your productivity.