Amazon: Voice tech is inevitable

“There’s a whole generation right now, where the youth is developing this idea where it’s normal to speak with your house,” Max Amordeluso, EU lead evangelist for Alexa at Amazon, told delegates at the Milennial 2020 event in London.

Voice is inevitable, because this expectation is growing,” he added, pointing to evolution of how human beings have interacted with computers over the last 50 years.

Amordeluso said voice technology is already at a point where a user can say “Good Morning, Alexa” to its Amazon Echo speaker and this will trigger the blinds to rise, kettle to boil and temperature to be set to your liking.

He said that in 80% of households which use Alexa, the voice technology is used by more than one person, while the most popular voice requests are to play a song (79%), control smart lights (52%), set a timer (79%), add item to a shopping list (42%) and read the news (59%).

Amordeluso described the two ways brands can interact with its Alexa product – by embedding the technology into third-party hardware through the Alexa Voice Service and by building voice apps using the Alexa Skills Kit.

How can brands leverage Alexa?

Alexa Voice Service – embed Alexa’s voice technology into hardware products which feature a microphone

Alexa Skills Kit – develop voice applications which customers can interact with by talking to Alexa

After opening up its voice framework, Amordeluso said there are now more than 50 products – from cars to kitchen appliances – which are capable of giving Alexa a voice.

Meanwhile, there are many more brand and retail partners using the Alexa Skills Kit to develop voice-compatible software – with Amazon reporting a 428% growth year-on-year to the number of Alexa skills.

He pointed to a skill developed for the Dunkirk movie launch which included gamification, as well as the first-to-market Dominos pizza skill.

“You want to make sure you solve a problem and you are doing something for the user or they will disengage,” said Amordeluso, using Tide’s Alexa skill as an example, which provides advice on removing stains. “They are the stain removal authority – they focus on the user.”

Developers of popular Alexa skills have been rewarded with AWS credits, but Amazon will soon create a monetary reward for the most engaging skills in different categories.

“Remember a good voice experience doesn’t need to be complication – in fact it should be the opposite.”

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