n a fast-paced environment and within the ever-changing tech sector, our CEO, Mark Thomas, translates the latest announcements from tech giants Apple, Google and Microsoft into takeaways to help your business thrive.
A better mobile experience for all
We start where many of us manage our work: through our mobile device. For iPhone users, iOS 12 will increase the speed of many important features, including the camera app, share sheet and keyboard.
For Android, Google’s adaptive battery makes use of on-device machine learning to be smarter about what we care about – depending on the time of day. For PC fans, the Your Phone app for Windows 10 will allow you to access texts, photos and notifications – all through the desktop.
Connected devices will be easier to create
Android Things – a new operating system for the ‘Internet of Things’ – will make it easier for developers to build smart, secure, connected solutions for the office: such as air quality monitors, door locking systems, clocks – even toasters.
Microsoft’s Project Kinect for Azure features a whole package of sensors with exciting possibilities, such as robots and drones that know how to avoid obstacles, or voice-controlled healthcare devices.
Voice assistants get super-productive
Most of us recognise voice assistants for their ability to start a music playlist, but they also have great uses in the office and on the go.
Apple’s new Siri, for instance, will feature shortcuts, which fire based on activities you do regularly. For example: once in the car, simply say “Driving to work” and Siri could reel off your anticipated arrival time, weather details, and even know to prompt your team if you’re running late for a diarised meeting.
Impressively, Google’s Assistant is now much more conversational, allowing multiple commands within a single sentence, additionally listening for further requests after providing query responses.
Alexa users will be able to interact via their Windows PC or chat with Cortana via Amazon Echo – useful if you’ve set your assistants to handle different tasks.
Artificial intelligence – Bots that make calls for you
Taking the voice assistant capabilities a step further, Google’s Duplex headline- grabbing demo showed just how ‘personal’ assistants could get. Imagine the time savings that could be made with a bot that could book meetings on your behalf, liaise with prospects, even interview candidates.
Augmented reality (AR) saves time and effort
Thanks to the Apple ARKit2, it’s going to get even easier for developers to create augmented reality apps for iPhones and iPads, while Google will bring computer- based vision to our phones.
Google Maps, for example, will provide directions to a building simply by pointing your camera towards it. Google Lens will save users hours spent at the keyboard by enabling text to be ‘cut’ from the world around us and ‘pasted’ straight into the phone.
Microsoft’s AR comes in the form of Remote Assist, integrated with its holographic headset, HoloLens, which enables collaboration via hands free video calls, image share and more.
A commitment to looking after your data
Apple reiterated its commitment to privacy across both its App Store and Developer ID routes, while a new feature in Safari will disable tracking software that advertising companies embed in websites to track internet activity. On the AI side, Google will ensure that all connected devices shipped using the Things platform are released with secured software stacks, while Microsoft stressed the need for ‘privacy preserving AI’ to ensure that AI’s potential is balanced with ‘keeping the world safe.’
More apps in Google Play and Microsoft stores
Need an app for that? Thanks to Jetpack – a new package of components from Google – it’ll be even easier for Android developers to create apps and get them into the Google Play store.
Microsoft has also changed its business model, enabling developers to take a greater cut of revenue for apps that they develop for Windows 10, so expect to see more of them in the Microsoft store.
Swift – Apple’s programming language – is promised application binary interface stability, which will help developers create new apps for iOS, Mac and also other platforms.
A dark new look for Mac users
A new OS, Mojave, will enable users to choose between the regular ‘bright mode’ they know from High Sierra – or switch into Dark Mode. This new OS inverts the viewing experience, turning the desktop, background and icons dark grey. Very cool and easier on the eye for developers.
Greater wellbeing around the workplace
Being fit and healthy has long proved its value in the workplace and the latest Apple Watch will have neat features to help you and colleagues sweat it out.
To help us truly switch off from work, Apple’s Do Not Disturb allows you to ring-fence periods when you can’t see notifications, while Google’s App Timer will set limits on how long you spend on certain apps.
Its ‘Shush’ mode also pops your phone into DND when you place it face down (in a meeting or at lunch for example).
This content was originally published in Business East on June 20th 2018.