New products, gizmos, devices and services touted at Google I/O 2016 demonstrate that the global tech giant is playing from behind in trying to capitalize on the rapidly emerging Internet of Things, says a U.K. researcher of all things IoT.

Here’s analysis from Mark Skilton of the Warwick Business School in London, who is a Professor of Practice in the Information Systems & Management Group, of the Google tech show:

“Google is in catch-up mode with its latest push into consumer artificial intelligence. It was surprising to hear Google CEO Sundar Pichai admitting that Amazon Echo has stolen a march on the rest of the industry in offering voice controlled services for the connected home to connected retail and a huge range of other possible services. Amazon launched Echo in June 2015, a year ahead of Google, having recognized earlier than anybody else that this would be the next big thing.

“We are moving from the keyboard to control by voice and virtual reality touch. The old world of click and search and bad voice recognition, or at best clunky responses, has moved on to smooth voice, face, gesture, and text recognition in real time. We will increasingly not touch a keyboard or smartphone or tablet screen, but use our voice to do the same thing and, more importantly, it will also ‘talk back’ to recommend and assist with personalized services. 

“It also means that the earlier attempts of virtual reality with Google Glass and Microsoft Kinect have shifted from being inside closed virtual environments to open augmented reality (Open-AR), which mixes and blends your devices and experience with voice, sounds, sights and machine artificial intelligence to make it more immersive.

“This is a hugely disruptive change and all the big players are working on this. Google also announced a new virtual reality platform called Daydream, this is key in competing with Microsoft’s HoloLens and Facebook’s Oculus Rift. There is a misconception is that these are just ‘gaming platforms’. They are more than that, they are the new ‘search platforms’ of the future where it is not a search list on a webpage, but how a smart product with a voice control responds to questions and how objects, walls, and rooms can be explored and linked with virtual data and visual information. 

“It also enables new tricks such as displaying 3D images of people you are talking to in the same virtual room to connected shopping-by-voice or virtual and creative fan experiences that bring people together in a virtual place.

“The real battle ground is now the physical-virtual platform services and the new smart connected appliances – the Internet of Things – and also the machine and artificial intelligence that will work in real-time wherever you are with an Internet connection.”