📝Key takeaways from the Smart Voice Summit 2018

Thank you to everyone who participated in the success of the first edition of the Smart Voice Summit! The two day event welcomed over 250 voice enthusiasts, who participated in keynotes, panel sessions and workshops proposed by Smartly AI and partners including Google, Amazon, BBC, Sephora, Orange, The Financial Times, Deezer, Acapela and more! There was a great reaction on Twitter throughout the day, with the hashtag #SVS18 enabling those who were not present to get insights on the event! Here is a brief summary of the event, which took place on the 1st and 2nd February 2018. So, what were some of the key takeaways?

Smart Voice Summit

#1 Brands, the time is NOW!

If the Smart Voice Summit confirmed anything, it is that 2018 is THE year of voice! Peter Hodgson, Senior UX Design Lead, and Lionel Mora, Product Marketing Google Assistant EMEA, from Google presented day one’s flagship keynote, after the event was officially opened by Hicham Tahiri, Smartly AI’s CEO and co-founder. Their keynote, Embracing the Voice Revolution, addressed not only the importance for brands to have a voice presence (FYI, Google Assistant is now available on 400+ devices including phones, cars, speakers and fridges), but the importance of good design when creating voice experiences.

Smart Voice Summit

Lionel Mora, Product Marketing Google Assistant EMEA (pictured) and Peter Hodgson, Senior UX Design Lead from Google presented the event’s flagship keynote

Bret Kinsella’s keynote further confirmed the urgence for brands to create a voice strategy. Technology advancement (machine learning can now rival human accuracy) and market readiness (16% of Americans own a smart speaker) create the ideal environment for brands to launch their voice app! According to Bret’s stats, currently 41% of consumers prefer voice to mobile apps or the web. The top reason for this is because it is more convenient!

Smart Voice Summit

Bret Kinsella’s keynote gave statistical insights on the voice market

#2 Every industry is being disrupted

Panel sessions dedicated to media, transport and retail showed that all sector are being transformed by voice technology. The use cases vary from generating awareness and driving engagement to facilitating transactions and integrating into existing products. Mathieu Lima, Deezer’s Platform Product Manager, and Chris Gathercole, Head of FT Labs at The Financial Times also took to the stage to outline how voice was bringing value to their respective industries.

Smart Voice Summit

Laurent Dunys (The Bot Studio, Founder), Tristan Charié (Front-End Developer / UX UI Designer,  PSA Peugeot Citroën), Charles Cadbury, Dazzle, Co-founder and Benoit Bouffart (OUI.SNCF, Product Director CPO) discuss how voice is bringing value to the transport industry

#3 Good design is essential

Google’s workshop on day two showed participants how to design and prototype a voice conversation action using new Google Design Sprint methodologies! The key takeaway? Put the user at the centre of the app! Designers need to put themselves into the shoes of the user, take into account principles of social interactions and give the app a personality! Amazon’s workshop also stressed the importance of good design, and Vui Agency and Deutsche Telekom’s workshop lead to some great examples of how emotion detection can be used to improve voice apps!

Smart Voice Summit

Google’s workshop got everyone up on their feet to work together to prototype a voice conversation

With regards to testing apps, Clearleft’s UX Designer and Product Strategist, Ben Sauer, outlined how the Wizard of Oz can maximise the chances of voice success with a keynote that had a Star Wars twist!

#4 Be multimodal ready and BEYOND

We are already seeing the emergence of voice devices with screens. As the mix of voice and vision becomes more common, applications will need to consider how they will handle other inputs coming from a touch screen or a camera. In addition to this, brands also must be multidimensional: multi input, multi  user, multi device and multi channel! Karen Kaushansky’s (Consultant, Experience Design Leader) keynote addressed all of the aforementioned points and more. In the future we will also need to consider creating an app-less experience, conversational questions, more context and conversation, creating characters, emotion recognition and more.

Smart Voice Summit

Karen Kaushansky discussing the future of voice

#5 The voice ecosystem is booming

Voice professionals from across the globe attended the Smart Voice Summit. The Startup Spotlight enabled startups to showcase their company in a 3 minute pitch. From digital voice processing (CandyVoice) and the new generation of interactive voice servers (Voximal) to voice powered learning (Batvoice) and a voice tech consultancy agency that doesn’t charge a penny (Vaice), there is no shortage of innovation in the voice sector!

Smart Voice Summit

CandyVoice did a live demo of their voice transforming technology

A big thank you!

Thank you to our sponsors – Google, WAI by BNP Paribas and Acapela; our speakers (not all are listed in this article, please click here to see the full programme), and of course, everyone who attended!

A London edition of the Smart Voice Summit is already in the pipeline! Sign up to our voice newsletter to keep up to date with the latest voice and Smart Voice Summit news!