Next year on the 1st and 2nd February, the first edition of The Smart Voice Summit will take place in Paris. The event will unite the voice ecosystem over two days to discuss how voice technology is adding value to brands and will give businesses the essential information they need to succeed their 2018 voice strategy.
Pioneering voice brands such as the BBC, Sephora, Boulanger and The Financial Times will explain their motivations for creating a voice application, as well as the challenges and the results they encountered. The event will also have industry specific round tables for voice banking, voice retail, voice tourism and voice media, and major voice players including Google and Amazon will be sharing their top tips for businesses wanting to create a voice application.
Bret Kinsella is the founder and editor of Voicebot.ai, the go to voice first website for voice news, opinions, stats and interviews. Bret will attend the Smart Voice Summit to discuss the need for brands to leverage AI and voice in order to stay relevant and accessible. We caught up with Bret to find out more about his 2017 voice highlights, his dream voice assistant feature and what he is most looking forward to at the Smart Voice Summit.
Please tell us a bit more about yourself and where your voice passion came from.
I started working with voice technology on mobile in 2013 and began looking at how brands could leverage voice interaction through smart speakers in early 2016. I did some market research and immediately recognized a parallel to what I had seen in the mid 1990’s with the rise of the Web. I was asked to write an article on brands and voice for Advertising Week and that was picked up by Huffington Post. The response was so strong I wound up launching Voicebot.ai in September 2016. Since that time, we have served over 100,000 unique readers with over 800 articles. Along the way my associate editor Ava Mutchler and I have worked to launch several voice apps on Alexa and Google Assistant, broken several high profile stories and become the leading site for market data and original research in the voice AI segment.
What was the biggest voice news of 2017 in your opinion?
The voice assistant adoption rate. Several analysts originally thought only 6-8 million smart speakers were sold in 2016 and another 12-15 would be sold worldwide in 2017. They were wrong. Most have since revised the 2106 figures to 8-12 million and 2017 numbers to 25-30 million units. That includes devices made by dozens of equipment manufactures that are now integrating Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant into their products. Add to this the adoption of 29 million hearables–wireless earbuds with voice assistant access—and introduction of Google Assistant to hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide and you simply have voice assistant availability and use accelerating. Plus, voice assistants became available globally in 2017. It was a very big year for the industry.
2018 will see more tech giants launch their smart speaker, which one are you most excited about?
I am most interested in what we will see for multi-modal voice and screen integration. Google and Facebook supposedly have stand-alone products with screens in the works and this is the year I expect to see more integration with large screens such as televisions. The voice plus visual segment will take adoption and use to an entirely new level and integrate voice assistants much more deeply into our daily lives.
What would be your dream voice assistant feature?
The ability to maintain context across sessions and devices. Voice assistants today only have short term memory. They assist you in what you are doing now and have little understanding of what you have done with them in the past. That will change over the next several years as voice assistants remember our preferences, what we have done previously and start to proactively optimize our experience.
What are you most looking forward to at the Smart Voice Summit?
Meeting people from around the world that are innovating on the voice frontier. The technology is amazing, but the real impact is coming from entrepreneurs and innovators that are applying voice and AI in new ways. I want to hear more about their stories. Smartly has such a broad user base that I expect to learn a lot. Also, the location in Europe will be a great platform to hear some new voices and different perspectives.
Meet Bret at the Smart Voice Summit, get your tickets now!