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Hey Siri, tell me about SiriKit

Iphone being used

Siri sure is excited about SiriKit and so are we! Siri has been around for a few years and most of us have had some sort of encounter with Siri, even if it was on a friend's iPhone. Siri is already serving over 2 billion requests per week, from telling us jokes to performing basic tasks for us like adding a calendar event.

During Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2016 in June, Apple announced SiriKit, the next evolution of Siri. SiriKit allows third party applications to use Siri to enrich the app experience.

This opens the door to us as developers to do amazing things for our customers.

Key features SiriKit offers

SiriKit offers Intents and Intent UI components. Intent is a feature that allows an application to handle incoming messages from Siri. Intent UI is a feature that allow an app to display custom content in Maps or the Siri interface. Combined, these two new features enrich an app to reach a greater audience.

Using SiriKit we will be able to able to use both Intents and Intent UI components from these domains:

  • Ride Booking
  • Messaging
  • Photo Search
  • Payments
  • VoIP Calling
  • Climate and radio for CarPlay
  • Workouts

Siri Intelligence will also be part of the built-in Quicktype keyboard, integrated into the messaging protocol for apps like Messages. This means that Siri can analyse messages we send and receive. This feature will make it faster to reply, make calendar entries, view and send locations, and many more actions that Siri can perform.

Where to from here?

We are always looking for the new and interesting ways to connect our apps with the world. How easy will it be if we can make a payment for a quote straight from the home screen? Or pay parking fees without typing a thing? Booking and managing a Les Mills workout routine at the gym could become as simple as speaking a few simple instructions to Siri.

These are some of the things that SiriKit will allow us to do, but initially the domains that we can extend are still quite limited. We can’t create custom intents and we don’t have full access to use Siri as Apple want to ensure the user’s privacy. This is limiting SiriKit to a smaller set of applications for now.

Siri’s counterparts Google Now for Android and Cortana for Windows both offer features that allow you to interact with your device. Both Google Now and Cortana act similarly to Siri as a personal assistant. Cortana is a bit more advanced at this stage, allowing you to register a custom action, adding a bit more freedom to developers and end users. Google Now does have a “custom voice” API, but this is not open to use for developers yet, which means that it is a step behind competitors.

Apple releases major iOS upgrades alongside it’s iPhone releases, typically around September.

Hey Siri, are you ready for Sandfield?

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Posted by Jo Wannenburg

Jo Wannenburg has more than 15 years’ software development experience specialising in Java, HTML, C, C++, C# and SQL. As a solution architect, he also leads multiple development teams, keeping projects in line with client requirements and providing future proofed solutions.

Outside of work, Jo enjoys spending time with his family, and is also a seasoned chess player.

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