Can a brand create a sonic identity from a light bulb? 💡 - Issue #31





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Can a brand create a sonic identity from a light bulb? 💡 - Issue #31
By Mari from VoiceFirst Weekly • Issue #31 • View online
Very loaded week. In this issue we talk Apple HomePod launch in China, Alexa skills prizes, the rise of flash briefings plus voice design and advertising.
Buckle up, cause I might have loosen my horses with the length of this one. Please enjoy. Much ❤️ to you and yours in this holiday season.

The ultimate resource in voice technology.
The ultimate resource in voice technology.
Alexa APL Prizes
You can say Amazon understand incentives like few companies today in the smart speakers/assistants race - or at all if we are going to be complete .
This is the announcement for the latest Alexa skills challenge. Build multimodal Alexa Skills using the Alexa Presentation Language and compete for $150,000 in total prizes.
You read it. Now go build with APL and earn those monies.
Not sure what’s APL? I made an episode highlighting its relevance, where you can also find resources to get you started. Suffice to say that APL is to the Echos what responsive is to the web, but better, much better.
Almost every month Amazon has run Alexa skills challenges with different prizes in US and internationally as they rolled out in other languages and territories. Winners get not only the prizes but the unique opportunity of Amazon showcasing their work.
Can a brand create a sonic identity from light bulbs?
You better believe it can. This is the story of Philips light bulbs sound logo quest.
The team used contact microphones to capture the sounds of Philips light bulbs and the electricity running through them, as well as human body sounds, such as heartbeats and finger snaps. The resulting sounds will now be used right across the brand, from a communications “sound logo” to product sounds and digital services.
Apple’s HomePod will be available in China starting early next year
Apple’s HomePod will be available for sale in China early next year. A listing is already up on Apple’s China site, with the smart speaker priced at RMB 2,799 (about $407), or about 17% more than its $349 price in the United States. Though Apple doesn’t list an exact shipping date for Chinese buyers, it says the HomePod will be available in early 2019.
Apple has balls, let me tell you that. It’s going to launch a smart speaker in the hottest battleground with a (much) higher price competing against Tencent, Baidu, Xiaomi and Alibaba’s smart speakers. All of them combined has hundreds of millions of devices installed. And let’s not forget, way less pricey options, as low as $15 in sales. Yeap, and options, which in smart speakers, Apple does not have a lot to show. Is the company hoping that the customer loyalty to iPhones is going to be translated to the HomePod?
TechCrunch article illustrate this last point:
Despite formidable competition from Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi, Apple held an 11.9% market share in China as of the second quarter of 2018, according to Gartner (referring to the iPhone).
With the announcement of Apple Music in Alexa, we know Apple is focused in its services or at minimum Apple Music. What I will like to see more, it’s their efforts in a more service oriented Siri. It’s where every smart assistant platform is moving. Siri’s cofounder said in a CNBC interview that Apple dropped the ball in third party voice partners, but they are the future. I completely agree.
VoiceFirst technology is about to kill advertising as we know it
Advertising as we know it will not exist primarily because we would not tolerate commercial intrusions and interruptions in our dialogues.
Brian Roemmele response on Quora is featured in this Forbes piece. As we have come to expect from Brian is a thoughtful read:
This new advertising and payments paradigm will impact every element of how we interact with Voice First devices. Without human mediated searches on Google, there is no pay-per click. Without a scan of the headlines at your favorite news site, there is no banner advertising.
Read along to know why shopping carts won’t make sense on a voice first world, and what can replace pay-per-click model as we know it.
This response is from 2016, still very relevant.
Top 15 influencers to follow on Twitter
We didn’t make the list, but you already know where to find us 👉 @voicefirstlabs. Follow us and tell your friends too.
SoundHound released this week in their blog a list of top 15 voice AI influencers to follow on Twitter. You know what I love about this list? The diversity of backgrounds, gender and industries. Don’t miss this opportunity to follow them all!
In the news
The rise of Alexa flash briefings
  • Voicebot announced this week they’re launching an Alexa flash briefing, an Alexa skill and a Google action to their services. There’s a post with the announcement that you can reference for details.
  • Teri Fisher, host of Alexa in Canada and VoiceFirst Health podcasts announced the launch of, a flash briefing network for Amazon Alexa.
Despite all the reports of news consumptions in smart speakers, flash briefings are on the rise. It’s still not the consumers first choice in smart speakers, but it’s brief format and convenience might be the only impulse needed to stay. Brief audios or flash briefings are going to be way more pervasive, and become more interactive. Or at least is what I believe.
Voice advertising
Voice design
Quote of the week
Voice is the most human technology ever created.
I will be speaking at the Alexa Conference about podcasting in the age of Alexa. There’s still time to get tickets. Hit me up mari at voicefirstweekly dot com if you would like to meet up and talk all things voice!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Mari from VoiceFirst Weekly

The ultimate resource in #VoiceFirst. Weekly digest of the most relevant news in the #VoiceFirst ecosystem. Everything from voice assistants to bots including conversational AI and published audio.

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