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Voice and AI is going to be whatever we decide it is - Issue #13

I can't synthesize here all of the information, insights and knowledge that Voice Summit left in me,
Voice and AI is going to be whatever we decide it is - Issue #13
By Mari from VoiceFirst Weekly • Issue #13 • View online
I can’t synthesize here all of the information, insights and knowledge that Voice Summit left in me, but I’ll try. First the experience of meeting all the people I have been following on and reading about, was exhilarating for my brain. And then it was the informal talks, and the actual talks. So much to grasp that I still haven’t gone over all my notes. I recorded a clip for Alexa in Canada podcast, along with a bunch of other voice enthusiasts and leaders in voice technologies, check it out in Spotify.
We launched our daily flash briefing on India, you can now enable it in your flash briefings in the Alexa app if you are based in India. You can also listen on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, CastBox, iHeartRadio and Google Play.

Voice Summit 2018
Voice Summit was a remarkable event. I’m compiling the talks presenters shared so you can have them. One of the talks I went to said that Voice and AI is going to be whatever we decide it is. We are now building and defining this technology. I hope you are excited about it! We certainly are. Here are some of the highlights from the talks until we get a compilation of the presentations:
Think in terms of use cases as portfolios not apps. Jan König, Jovo Tech.
How do you go from a utility to adoption to engagement? How do you personalize the older adult vs the contact? Heidi Cultberson, AskMarvee.
Design for context and continuity, meet people where they are. Chris Geison.
Understanding language is much harder than understanding voice. Steve Jobs quoted in Jason Snook’s presentation.
Snapchat launches speech recognition lenses
Snapchat launched yesterday new lenses that respond to voice commands. While the company has offered lenses that involve audio before, this is the first time it has created lenses that actually recognize words, then use its understanding of what was said as a marker that kicks off the lens animation. This is probably the biggest news out there this week, Snapchat is entering the voice first world quietly but surely and they have a strong young audience leaning in another device with camera first, voice first. I will be even more excited when they release that we can build applications or ‘lensations’, however they decide to call it.
You can now request contact information in Alexa skills
One of the important announcements this week from Amazon Alexa team is the fact that you can now request name, given name, email and mobile number in your Alexa skills. However you can not use the information to link the user’s Amazon account. By restricting linking of user’s information Amazon is showing they are protecting user data and privacy, they are listening to user’s concerns. The fact that skills can now access contact information can enhance skill experience and drive new use cases and skill engagement. You can now send follow up content or reminders through emails and text, opening a door to more complex interactions in your skill and a better experience to the user.
The 3 next steps in conversational AI
We are not quite yet in robots revolution, and we are not quite yet in fluid conversations. What is next in conversational AI?
BMW and Alexa gets it right
Connected cars are a natural use case for voice apps, at list the one that empower hands free, but don’t distract you that much. Users of BMW will receive an update integration with Alexa. BMW joins the list of car manufacturers that are adding voice capabilities to their consoles.
LinkedIn is adding voice messages to the platform
I don’t know about you, but this seems a little outdated. I will hope they will catch up to voice-first. It will make way more sense as a chatbot inside their platform, for example. Voice messages are a good step forward nonetheless.
Resources
Now easier than ever to create voice commerce applications
UpsideLabs introduced voice commerce, a Javascript library to a VueJS storefront with Jovo framework. We have already talked about Jovo framework before, an open source framework to develop Alexa skills and Google Actions.
Conversation design resources
PulseLabs has a conversational design resources page for your design guidelines that is worth checking out.
Tools to build Alexa skills
A list of resources for building Alexa skills, by the Alexa team.
What we are listening
A propos of Voice Summit last week, some podcasts we listen regularly released special episodes all with interviews and good insights:
And the latest episode of the Alexa Dev Chat on VoiceFirst 2018, Where are we now is a must listen for everyone in the space.
Quote of the week
The biggest challenge in voice right now is designing human conversations.
Dave Itsbitski
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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