Google Pixel buds are new earphones from Google and were introduced during the Google Pixel 2 event, the official presentation of the Google phone Pixel 2. Those earphones don’t have much to say by themselves, yet they grant access to a new user experience without using the SCREEN. A major shift for all companies is that mobile industry behemoths are forcing into the market as Apple, Google, Microsoft or even Amazon are working on their artificial intelligence. Then what about the bottom line of this announcement for all end-customer facing companies? Go prepare for a world without visual advertising on the mobile devices.

What we know:
Pixel buds enable direct voice access to the Google assistant without having to take our mobile phone out of our pockets. Not much of a revolution and more like an incremental improvement since you bypass a step (actually using your hands to reach to the phone). Yet, accessing the Google assistant means that you can tap into all the features of Google without looking at your screen. For now it means not much, but the example provided on Stage with real time translation between a Swedish and an English person is stunning. It provides options that are endless, and the first thing is the end of mobile advertising.

Why should I care:
This new way of working prevents the user from reaching to her phone. It means the visual advertising is offset and that the Google Assistant solely manages the information pipeline. It is not yet the time to change anything but we definitely need to consider a life without any additional screens. This can potentially be replaced by a personal assistant that deals with the flow of online administrative work for you, like completing online forms, subscribing to any web services and paying with your credit card on your behalf. This situation means companies would have lesser contacts with their customers, thus less opportunities to upsell or cross-sell, and more uptime with an artificial intelligence that would go straight to the point.

What it means now:
Such a situation were a virtual personal assistant deals with the daily routine of consumers is still far away from us. But we can’t be sure of when that situation would happen. Companies are accelerating and investing a lot of money in this topic so we can see some changes within 5 years. And with the growth of this usage, the prices to access services would become pretty cheap. For example, current access to the Google Translate API (gateway to access the service) costs US$20 per 1 million characters. The price will fall down the more the usage is increasing because of (1) usage volume and (2) competition on this feature. But what is the outcome of this news is that companies need to work more on setting up technical capabilities to use the new tools faster. And it is not only about the IT infrastructure, it is about the ability for all teams, including sales and marketing, to leverage tech platforms to create and grow new distribution channels.

What to do:
All the companies need to assess their corporate culture and include more and more digital savviness in their hiring and skill development programs. It is critical, even brands like Huggies and Pampers have become well versed in that type of knowledge up to the point of leveraging E-commerce channels and new technologies for their benefits (top line AND bottom line). So what are you waiting for?
Second topic to work on is the identification of opportunities to create and develop your own ecosystem in order to leverage the collective intelligence of your business partners, providers, and any other stakeholders. Become like Apple, not as a brand but as a process-centric company, to benefit from all the opportunities that are provided by those who are collaborating with you. It means you need to start moving to a business of opportunity testing, with an investment scheme where you slice your budget in 10/20/70% to venture and explore. Because missing or jumping in the right technology bandwagon may be the rise or fall of your company. And of your job.