There's no denying that the user journey for mobile shoppers, and the abandonment rates retailers see as a result, simply don't stack up next to desktop, due to the limitations of a smaller screen. With its 'intelligent speech' mCommerce system, Capito Systems is hoping to change that.
Meeting Tony Ballardie, the start-up's founder, at the UKTI SMART UK Project event, I was struck by the simple effectiveness of the idea – essentially, to bring Siri-style voice recognition to mCommerce sites and apps.
That's mCommerce in its broadest sense, with mobile gambling being a big part of the proposition – no surprise, given Ballardie's background as head of emerging technologies at Betfair. In fact, the (rather impressive) demonstration focused purely on this application of the technology, with the system responding well to natural language requests like “back Liverpool to beat West Brom 50 quid”.
“Betting was a good fit for the prototype because of the thousands of options users are presented with,” explained Ballardie. “It's a long slow process to find your bet of choice, type in the odds, and your stake – but with our system, you don't necessarily need to know where to look. It's especially ideal for in-play betting, so you don't have to take your eyes off the action while you're watching the match. You can just say 'bet 10 on Rooney for next goal' without looking away.”
It's still fairly early days for the system, but Ballardie told me Capito has already taken the product around betting companies, and the reaction has been positive. In fact, as companies in the gambling space look to make their mobile offering stand out from the competition, they want it exclusively.
“Even if it's not us, someone is going to do this,” Ballardie said. “This will be a big 12 months for speech in eCommerce. We've got a head start at the moment, we just need to capitalise on it.”