by David Gracey

heroApple’s latest iPhone 4S comes with a new app called “Siri.”  Siri is a voice recognition app that claims to not only understand what you say, but know what you mean.  Seems like a pretty tall order to deliver information accurately this way.  You ask a question and she (the voice is female) responds with an answer or occasionally a clarifying question.  Computer history is littered with failed voice recognition attempts but Apple has once again delivered.  Although Siri is still in beta test mode it is stable and a very interesting gadget which has fairly amazing accuracy.   Having used it for several months now I can say this app is a pretty useful and very cool tool for the iPhone.

A feature that makes Siri successful is that it takes your inquiry and launches the appropriate app that gets you the information you need.  Hungry for a hamburger?  Siri opens Google Maps and will give you directions to the nearest hamburger joints along with a 5-star rating system.  Want to know the weather for today?  Siri thinks about it and then brings up the weather app and reads out a quick overview.

Here are my top 3 uses for Siri:

  1. Setting calendar appointments.  I live by my Outlook calendar which syncs to my iPhone.  If an appointment isn’t there, I’m not going to make the meeting.  So keeping my calendar up-to-date is critical.  Using Siri I can very easily add an appointment to my calendar by speaking “schedule IT review January 31, 9:00am.”  Siri will confirm it with me and then put it on my calendar.  But what’s REALLY cool is if I add “with Tony” to the end of my command, Siri will search my contact list, locate all the Tony’s in my address book and ask which Tony I want to meet with.  Once I choose the right Tony, Siri will send a meeting request to Tony which is then placed on his calendar upon his confirmation.  That’s pretty awesome.
  2. Read messages hands-free.   Say I’m driving down the road and an email or text comes in.  I want to read it but don’t want to take my eyes off the road.  I can ask Siri to read me the new message which she does a pretty good job of.  And I can reply to the message using the voice-to-text feature built in.
  3. Play music. Since every iPhone is also an iPod, it’s easy to keep all your music from old CDs or that you’ve purchased from iTunes on it.  You can use Siri to easily navigate to your favorite tunes or playlists.  Simply say “play music”, “play party tunes” or “play Fatboy Slim” and away it goes.

Here is the link to Apple’s commercial showing off Siri: http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/siri.html

Network 1 Consulting is a 13-year-old, IT Support company in Atlanta, GA.  We become – or augment – the IT department for professional services companies: medical practices, law firms and financial services firms.  Our IT experts can fix computers – but what our clients really value is the industry-specific best practices we bring to their firm.  This is especially important with technology, along with regulations and cyber threats, changing so rapidly.  We take a proactive approach to helping our clients use technology to gain and keep their competitive advantage.

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