In Part 4 of our blog series, we wrote about our search for “smart time tracking”. In Part 5, learn more about our experiments with voice control.

As our thoughts on time tracking kept coming back to the SmartWatch, it occurred to us that a SmartWatch offers an even greater advantage – namely a microphone that is always a good 30 centimeters from the user. This gave us food for thought, and we wondered how we could use this situation wisely for our collaboration app.

A wild thought: Steve Jobs once said that he cracked the code to how home entertainment functions. I think he was talking about the SmartWatch and its handy microphone. Because when you think about it, a home entertainment system can only be cool if the interface is always available. And that boils down ultimately to voice control, and a microphone that’s always within reach.

Anyway. We want you to be able to speak with TeamGrid. “Create a new project for Tobias, and name it Screen Design.” We’ve added this function and we like it – particularly as we can start the speech command at any time with the words “Okay TeamGrid”.

But we wanted to go further. We wanted an assistant that we could ask about sales figures, project status reports, employee attendance and just about any other information available in TeamGrid.

Our goal is a pro-active voice assistant.

It would be particularly exciting if a voice assistant has the intelligence to make its own decisions and actually take over tasks within day-to-day business operations. I don’t want to use the term “AI” – but I’d just like to say that a voice assistant can learn in which cases it is to proceed, and with which decision criteria, and can try to recognize event patterns. A very exciting topic.

It’s already established that our collaboration app should not just be for tasks and project management. TeamGrid should be more of a platform where a lot can come together.

In the end we want to put together a pro-active voice assistant. What does that mean? Well, the voice assistant speaks up when there is important information to share, and acts on its own initiative when necessary. Here’s an example:

Let’s say that a long meeting has just ended, and you return to your office. TeamGrid recognizes that you are back at your desk and makes itself noticed with a subtle sound alert. You say, “Yes, TeamGrid, whats up?” TeamGrid answers, “Jan Scholz, from Scholz & Freude, called while you were in your meeting. I informed him that you were expected to be in a meeting until 3:30 p.m., and that you would call him back. Shall I connect you now?” You say “yes”, and the call will be made. You can however give any other conceivable answer. For example: “No, let Max make the call.” TeamGrid will then see to it that Max calls the client.

Our voice assistant should be connected directly to the phone, where it can make calls on its own initiative.

And that’s just the very beginning of what will be possible in the future. The TeamGrid voice assistant should be able to develop into an actual assistant which knows the company, and can support by making the right decisions and keeping the right focus.

Looking ahead of part 6

In Part 6 we’ll be talking about our ideas regarding the Smart Office, and how to make your own office more intelligent.

Click here to jump to part 6 of our blog series.