Imagine if you could ask your smart speaker to search the OSU Extension website for events located near you, or ask Siri to find all of the blueberry pruning publications in the OSU Extension Catalog?

Alexa, ask OSU Extension what upcoming Master Gardener events are happening near me? 
Siri, show me all of the OSU Extension Catalog publications on pruning blueberries

While this isn’t a reality today, we designed the website to be “exportable”, giving us the  ability to send content to multiple platforms. This might take the form of a virtual assistant, like Alexa, a smartphone application, a chatbot, or whatever the future brings. None of this would be possible without all of that structured content that you all have been creating.

Today, we can interact with machines in highly intuitive, natural ways through smartphones. Virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri have changed the way we interact with machines, using technology like Natural Language Processing (NLP). 1

How people interact with computers is no longer limited to the mouse and keyboard. Recent advances in Natural Language Processing, Artificial Intelligence, and voice recognition software are rapidly changing how we interact with our devices and computers. Remember when we all used floppy disks, rotary phones, and VCR’s? Do you miss them? Keyboards and mice are also destined to become relics of the past. Talking to your phone feels kind of strange to most people, myself included. I typically just use Siri for settings reminders, alarms, and timers, but much more is possible.

Siri, remind me to create a blog post on August 2nd at 2:00 pm.

For me, this is much faster than launching a program, typing and entering the date and time. Let us know how you are using virtual assistants by leaving a comment below.
OSU Extension digital strategy diafram

Here are some interesting statistics on voice activated searches. 2

  1. 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020
  2. About 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020
  3. 13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker in 2017. That number is predicted to rise to 55% by 2022.

Providing an engaging, high-quality online experience is a key element to the success of the Navigator project. This online experience can be enhanced by website personalization. In the future, users will be able to create a personal profile by selecting the topics, programs, projects they are interested in, and their location. We can then provide a customized dashboard highlighting the latest tagged content, local events, and much more. Our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) will be able to provide additional insights into users interests, based on previous interactions with Extension. Here is a simple example of how this might work. “Bob” participated in a canning workshop last fall. Chances are he might be also interested in becoming a Master Food Preserver. Knowing this, next time Bob visits the website, his dashboard displays information on the course and how to register.

Preparing for the future – part one

 

Recent website updates

  • Members of topic committees are now able to modify content tags.

 

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1 https://www.axelerant.com/resources/articles/conversational-commerce-integrating-bots-with-drupal-commerce

2 https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2018/04/10/voice-search-statistics-2018

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One thought on “Preparing for the future – part two

  1. Probably 2-3% of my searches are voice searches using Google on my android phone. I do feel awkward about speaking to a device and I’ll typically wait till I think no one’s within earshot before goin’ for it.

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