Top news stories for Episode 3 (July 20, 2017):

1) The Alexa Accelerator identifies the nine startups participating in its inaugural Techstars program.

 

2) Report: China "slow" to jump on the 'smart speaker' bandwagon

 

3) HTC's U11 launches with a built-in, hands-free Alexa, and doesn't quite work as expected.

 

4) Fast adoption of "AI" (#VoiceFirst technology) leaves marketers scrambling to catch up.

 

5) Google Home launches in Australia on Thursday, July 20, with the slang to match.

 

6) #VoiceFirst expanding horizontally: Bespoken launches Silent EchoOpearlo launches Sound Owl

 

7) Chattanooga goes "all in" on The Alexa Conference, gaining a major sponsor and Mayoral support/attendance. (This story will be presented without commentary for editorial reasons; press summary here)

 

8) LISTENER-SUBMITTED STORY: Amazon moves to disrupt food marketplaces by marrying Alexa with delivery

Panel for Episode 3 (July 20, 2017):

Ahmed Bouzid

Dr. Ahmed Bouzid is Founder and CEO or Witlingo.  Dr. Bouzid is also co-founder and Director of the Ubiquitous Voice Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of evangelizing the emerging voice interface, and author of two books on Voice User Interface design. (Dr. Bouzid's recent article on discovery of voice skills, referenced in a previous episode of This Week In Voice, is here.)

 

Brian Roemmele

Brian just published issue number 6 of Multiplex Magazine called The Enchanted Loom. He explores a new AI concept for Voice First systems called Artificial Understanding. Get the Read Multiplex App at the iOS store and subscribe for this and the entire catalog of magazines.

Karen Kaushansky

Karen Kaushansky is a Experience Designer and Futurist working on defining and designing interactions 5-10 years before they are on most radars - speech recognition, voice biometrics, conversational UIs, autonomous vehicles, and human-robot interaction. She started working on designing voice first experiences in 1996 and is currently consulting for multiple companies pushing the boundaries in these areas. (Karen's presentation, given at the O'Reilly Design Conference in 2016, referenced in the podcast, is available here.)

YouTube Link

Transcript:

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:00:11] Hi, and welcome back to This Week In Voice, Episode Three, for Thursday, July 20th, 2017. We're very fortunate to be joined by three phenomenal guests today. Our first guest is Karen Kaushansky, an experience designer and futurist working on defining and designing interactions. Karen is involved in speech recognition, voice biometrics, conversational UI, autonomous vehicles, and human robot interaction. She started working on designing voice-first experiences in 1996 and is currently consulting for multiple companies pushing the boundaries in these areas.

 

[00:00:53] Next up we have Brian Roemmele. Brian just published issue #6 of Multiplex Magazine, called "The Enchanted Loom." He explores a new AI concept for Voice First Systems, called Artificial Understanding. If you're listening to this podcast and have yet not gone to ReadMultiplex.com, not downloaded the app, not subscribed - you need to go do that immediately.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:01:25] Next we have Dr. Ahmed Bouzid, founder and CEO of Witlingo, and also co-founder and director of the Ubiquitous Voice Society. A week or two ago Witlingo rolled out the ability to turn your Facebook page, if you're a business or organization, into an Alexa skill. You need to go to Witlingo.com and check that out. You'll also want to check out Ahmed's book "Don't Make Me Tap!" - it's a defining book, and really had a big impact on me.

 

[00:02:15] Karen, Brian, Ahmed: thank you very much. And with that, let's get to the news.

 

[00:02:28] This week Amazon has rolled out its Alexa accelerator which is part of the TechStars program and they've identified the nine startups that are part of that. This is a fascinating list. I looked at two of them specifically. One called Novel Effect, which is a really neat publishing-oriented application of Alexa in which the example presented on the web is a mother reading her children a story and Alexa hears the words in real time being read and responds with music and audio cues and things like that - really, really neat. The other one is called Tinitell - the description on the news site is "your kid's first mobile phone." But it's really a lot deeper than that, and having a five-year-old my wife and I thought that would be the perfect thing - it really looked compelling. Karen, I want to start with you. And before the podcast started you were recounting some of your experience with being part of an accelerator. How does this news strike you? What should we take away? How is this TechStars Alexa accelerator going to further the evolution of voice-first technology?

 

Karen Kaushansky: [00:03:52] Yeah I was really excited to see the news. I had heard about the Alexa fund. So as an aside in 2014 I went through the Highway One hardware accelerator here in San Francisco as co-founder of a smart clothing company. And so definitely learned a lot about what an accelerator can bring and what, as a co-founder of a company, what you could expect to get out of it. So a couple of just general thoughts about the Alexa accelerator: first of all, very excited that they're partnering with TechStars because it's hard to create an accelerator and hard for your companies to be successful because it takes a lot of focus on each of those companies to come out ahead. Now TechStars has been doing this for a long time so that's that's really good right to be able to partner with someone who knows how to run accelerators.

 

Karen Kaushansky: Now of course what Amazon brings to it is the voice-first part. And I hope that...these companies, when I went through the list, they're startups and voice is obviously just a part of the experience that they're creating. So like the Tinitell one: that's hardware. Hardware is hard. And some of the questions that I have is like the focus for the next few months with the accelerator...is it only on voice, or is it all aspects? And maybe that's the collaboration with TechStars: they kind of focus on well how do we, for example, manufacture these Tinitell little phones and wearables for five year olds? And then there's a piece on the voice-first part. The other thing I am hoping that the reason that these companies want to be part of the accelerator is you know the focus on design. Setting the right expectations of what you can accomplish in let's say a three month period and hopefully the on-staff, the day to day, is not just on the engineering side but does design-first. So voice-first, but design-first, and really making sure that these hard interactions and experiences are designed the best that they can be.

 

Brian Roemmele: [00:06:23] Well I have to echo what Karen is saying. Absolutely 100 percent on target there. You know I think we're so early in this phase of the voice-first revolution that it is immensely important to have the kind of support to help these young companies much more than we saw in the app economy. And a lot of people try to apply that modality to what is taking place in voice-first. And it's not really, really even close to what ultimately is happening and will happen. So it's important to have that funding and that support. And the big problem is there's no monetization on the horizon. So when you think about it from the perspective of a developer and applying all the energies necessary to build around this ecosystem and Ahmed is a good example of that - what he's doing with Witlingo and others. I mean sure there are ways to gain some income but it's not nearly where it should be or where it could be and ultimately will be. So having the right funding, having the right support, is immensely important and having Amazon and the Alexa Fund I think is extremely important because it not only gives that funding but also raises awareness. For example, Novel Effect - brilliant choice in that fund. If they asked me, I would have voted for it too.

 

Brian Roemmele: [00:07:48] I just finished listening to you, Bradley, interview Nandini Stocker over at Google and phenomenal thing. And towards the end of that interview on The VoiceFirst Roundtable, she brought up about this idea of bringing conversation back and touching people and communicating. And this is right down that pipeline of you know a mom reading to a child and having all these special effects and a dad reading to a child - I spent many, still do sometimes, spending nights and sometimes summer afternoons reading to the kids and even as they get older. And having something like this is powerful. And it shows you the creativity that one can have when they start opening their mind to what this new modality, this new interface, this new platform can achieve. And we're only touching the surface of it and I can go down the list. But every one of these these companies are doing fine. And I think we're going to be really surprised as the next, you know, the next batches start coming out.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:08:53] Yeah I think the only thing I want to add, cause I think the points by Karen and Brian are on target...the only thing I want to add is I would love for Amazon to - I've been harping on this for a while now - is to enable people who are publishing skills to monetize their skills. I would pay 99 cents for...there was a skill that I enabled this morning for "short casts" - I'm forgetting, it's Owl-something - I would pay $.99 for it and I'd guarantee you a million people would pay $.99 for it. It's a beautiful skill. But I can't. And you know what? I think that company would love to be able to monetize their skill on their own terms and build a business model and deliver value and have the customer and the person who is enjoying the value of the skill or the experience that was built. Have that customer pay for the value. I think definitely these incubators and fund and so forth are of great value and they help spark the space. But I think I'm hoping that Amazon is working on enabling people to monetize and working on something that is long term. Right? They can't subsidize an ecosystem. The ecosystem has to be sparked and I think that's what they're doing. But to sustain itself it has to have a way to monetize value. So I'm hoping that they're working on that as well.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:10:32] Great. Great points all the way around and Ahmed I completely agree. I think Amazon did a pretty spectacular job choosing these companies. There's diversity. There's a lot of creativity. It's really something to see the list of companies that they've selected. But to your point it's just going to get harder to source startups to participate in the ecosystem and do things like this if they don't have an end game in sight and the game has to be generate revenue. The end game can't be oh we'll just wait till Amazon gives us some sort of distribution whenever they feel like it, like is what's going on with Alexa games right now.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:11:20] Especially that there is no ad model here. You can't do ads on voice, period, right? So I mean if you look at the models out there it's either the consumer gets for free, and the business is building a user base and monetizing that through advertising, or the consumer is paying for it. And that's how the company survives. Since there's no ads, I think there has to be a way for the consumer of the experience to...so that's my thinking...Brian did you want to say something?

 

Brian Roemmele: [00:11:53] Yeah. I just want to support what you're saying. It's absolutely correct and it's a bit of a frustration of mine is you know we need creative thinking. I can tell you that 99 cents is a great way to start of this, but you know I think we really have to think much further down the road. And we have to start from that distant point and then work backwards on how to monetize this correctly because ultimately skills within skills within skills are going to interconnect like neurons. And if you have a skill that needs to share another skill, and that other skill gets ripped out of your brain so to speak like a neuron, the whole house of cards fall apart. So what we really need is to maybe put together in these companies - and I raise my hand, Ahmed I'm sure raises his hand - to help guide this stuff, because it's just not happening and creating a monetization system like the iOS or Android app store is foolish, really foolish. It's something to at least start. But I think if we go too far down that road the 99 cent model ultimately or the dollar or even a five dollar model or the subscription model...all of these may not be the right thing. And I have ideas - I'm not going to say all of them for free - but I have ideas on how to do this but I don't get...

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:13:15] Hang on, Brian. If you're going to tell us that the $.99 model isn't going to work, you've got to share something...

 

Brian Roemmele: [00:13:20] OK. All right. I hear you. Let's look at it from this point of view: the idea of a voice assistant is really the idea of talking to another brain. Right? Ultimately because we're humans we're going to anthropomorphize this thing and we're not going to think in the terms of clicking on something. Don't make me tap, right? You know you're gonna think in terms of framing things around linguistics and questioning and the discovery of how you get to somewhere through voice dialogues is nowhere near the way you discover something visually in a Google search or even in an Amazon search for a product. So if we can agree on that fact then the next step to this is OK so all we're having is these dialogues that ultimately branch out and it could branch out in many directions. Once it hits a branch that is related to my domain - whatever I created a skill or voice app for - maybe at that point I get some sort of residual from that. Maybe I get...you know, I'll give you a quick sideline. I won't go too far down this rabbit hole.

 

Brian Roemmele: [00:14:35] But if you've ever been in a restaurant and you heard somebody singing "Happy Birthday To You" loudly in that restaurant...look around, because if there's a guy from Harry Fox...if there's a guy from Harry Fox, that restaurant's gonna pay a few thousand dollars in a fine. Because if they let that performance of "Happy Birthday," which is still under public performance rights...in fact, this year even though it theoretically is out of copyright, it never does (that's another pet peeve of mine) this year the owners of "Happy Birthday To You" are going to make a few hundred thousand dollars in residual for people singing that song. And so that's a performance and it's considered a public performance even if a group of kids around the table are singing it. And Harry Fox happens to be there. So a lot of restaurants will do the speeded-up "happy happy birthday" - that song - which is not copyrighted and that's why you hear people take over the birthday song at some restaurants. Some restaurants will just pay the licensing rights for having that song broadcast or performed in their facility.

 

Brian Roemmele: [00:15:48] Why do I bring that up? I think it's important to understand that in a sense voice development is very much like music, poetry, or art development, and it may in fact wind up living on its own and might take on its own life. I'm not trying to get crazy AI on you, I'm just sort of saying as these things interconnect with other things that are out there - other skills - they're going to become interdependent upon each other. And we have to think from that distant point which is not too far off - I already am doing that today on my Raspberry Pi voice-first systems. I mean I'm already living in that world and I'm already dealing with the complexities of what that represents. I say let's look at that distant point. Work backwards from there and say OK how do we start dealing with that? How do we recognize the importance of each one of these structures? And a hint I'm going to give to anybody who isn't hiring me at Google, Amazon, or Apple - the hint I will give you today is if you don't think in those terms you're going to wind up not compensating the developers to the level they need to sustain as a business model because to make the skills become evergreen within somebody's neuro-cortex - within their personal assistant - and to stay there persistently you have to have an ongoing stream of income for them. Whereas the model of an app...if you created an app that just gave you the weather, right? Ninety nine cents you pretty much you've built the app. It scans maybe some weather functionality. Maybe you pay for some server time or whatever, but it pretty much you can find a way to monetize it. You can't do that with a voice system.

 

Karen Kaushansky: [00:17:26] So I just wanted to throw in kind of the value of a personal assistant. So I actually have a virtual personal assistant. We're in the process of moving to Switzerland and I needed someone who can organize everything for me. And so it's not my voice-first solution, but hey I pay them $17 an hour. If one of my, you know, Google or Amazon could actually do those things for me that I really needed to get done, I'd be willing to pay $17 an hour.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:17:59] That is powerful Karen. That is exactly what I'm talking about, is this concept of look at the value that's being brought forth. And I think that all of the parties are doing a disservice to themselves by just seeing it as a search, as a question and answer system. This is where the failure points are coming from. And that's why Apple's left so much on the table. That's why Google is, you know, other than people like Nandini...Google's going down this road of Q&A and search - it's a dead-end.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:18:31] I think my point was that I would like to see the people who are getting the benefit of being able to buy flour, being able to buy a cake, where the customer pays for the value somehow. I do not want Amazon to toss me some money. I don't want to have a benefactor overlord paying me money or streaming. I would like consumer - just like cable TV, for example, would be a model, right? So with all these channels and I'm paying the service and I'm getting the benefit of all these...maybe you can call them skills, the skills are the channels, and so on and so forth. And if a skill is dead, there's another one that I can go to, and so forth. There's an ecosystem. But I am paying for the value that I am consuming. I don't want to have somebody like Amazon paying me. If you have a successful skill today, you see some coins coming up, showing up on your account and I need to say thank you very much Amazon for that. No. I would like for people who are benefiting from the skill, whether it's a skill that is discreet, or where it pops up, somehow is discovered because I just want to find out what the stock is, I don't care who's giving me that value. But if I pay for it, I think it then will have a sustainable ecosystem. If I have to have a mediator who's you know who's sitting between the customer and me and has a formula of how to pay me, then I don't know. So anyway I think that's an interesting topic.

 

Brian Roemmele: [00:20:05] Can't agree more, Ahmed. I absolutely agree.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:20:08] Yeah, and we're going to be talking about this every week...let's be honest, we're going to talk about this every single week until they fix this.

 

Brian Roemmele: [00:20:16] Amen.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:20:17] And so we'll move on. I will say this, to close: the model that it appears like they've taken is straight out of the publishing realm where they allocate a certain amount of money for Kindle authors and you know they have a whole bunch of people self-publish or publish books into the Kindle Unlimited program, and some of their other programs, and they just have these big funds that they just give distributions out of at sort of their whimsy, and that's you know...they can choose whatever model they want, but people need to know what they're getting, and they need to figure it out quick.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:20:59] That's why you can sustain yourself as an author on a book, right?

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:21:02] Yeah, that's a big part of it. It's viewed as a big problem in that sector for sure. And I'm glad you mentioned that because no one likes it there. No one's going to like it here. They need to do something else.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:21:14] Moving on to story number two. This is a report that was out this week saying that China is "slow" to adopt smart speakers and to jump on the smart speaker bandwagon. And this article which is from Bloomberg talks about the fact that there are challenges with the Chinese language that are getting in the way. And Ahmed I'll start with you on this. What should we take away from this? Is this just part and parcel of being at such an infant stage of this emerging technology? Or is this going to be a big-time recurring problem from this point forward?

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:21:58] Well I think first of all there's a problem of data. So I mean we here in United States of America today don't know how many Echoes have been sold. We guestimate. And so this notion that it's, the Chinese slow to jump, and so forth...I think is just way too premature to be making those kinds of grand declarations, number one.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:22:21] Number two: I think they have it wrong as far as the language. It is a fact that Mandarin - Cantonese - is easier to solve as a problem both in terms of speech recognition and natural language. That's wrong. And number three I think they have Baidu and you have Alibaba, right? Number one. And number two, the population there is what is it 10 times more than here? And number three there is a middle class that's rising and the age population is more or less the same as the United States, so I think...and the other thing is they didn't spend too much time in the article on what's actually...the hardware is out there, there's hardware galore.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:23:03] And the last point is that people in China - the consumers who use their iPhones and smartphones - they use speech a lot more than the United States. And the reason why they use speech is because it's much harder to type in Chinese in Mandarin or Cantonese than it is...my wife is Chinese and she tells me that. It is harder to type because there is no alphabet, is symbol-based, and so forth. So they use speech a lot more than in the United States. So I think the article has it wrong, number one. Number two, I think we're going to see the opposite. I think we can see an explosion over there especially when Alibaba and Baidu get into the mix for real, in the next year or so.

 

Karen Kaushansky: [00:23:43] Totally agree, Ahmed. I think we're going to see this explode. I mean I look at the way that the Chinese interact - how people use WeChat, how it's been well before it's time here in the states, with payments and ordering / hailing taxis on WeChat. That just shows they're way advanced in some areas. And I think that speech is...maybe it's not in the home speakers, but it's coming. I mean I see Neo who has an electric SUV coming into to the Chinese market which is a very smart vehicle that has an artificial intelligence and of course the way that people are going to interact in their cars with this artificial intelligence is what they're calling Nomi which is using speech recognition. So it's very much you know it's coming, and I expect it's going to explode.

 

Brian Roemmele: [00:24:44] I got to agree exactly with what Karen was saying, and Ahmed. You know, there are 56,000 characters in the Chinese language keyboard, if you will, or are available. I guess to be literate you need to be at least 3,000-character capable. When the PC was first invented I remember people saying "the Chinese will never be able to use it. The Japanese will never be able to use these personal computers." And I got to tell you, the first five, six years of the personal computer revolution, most of the Asian countries were having a problem keeping up. I got to agree with Ahmed. The article is a bit flawed, and there's a lot of reasons for that. The Tmall Genie was just announced by Alibaba, and Alibaba is significantly larger in many ways than Amazon. And let's just say their ability to solve the problems that the article is presenting....is already pretty much solved. And so we're at the point where there is an explosion of voice in China. And like Karen had presented, so many firsts took place in communications within China. And in many ways, it's led what we've seen in America. In fact a lot of things that Facebook did was, in a sense, to mirror what was going on in China, maybe four or five years earlier. So I believe that we're going to see a revolution coming from China, in a good way. And it's definitely going to be very much centered around shopping and ordering. Food ordering, I think, is going to explode within China. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, voice-first food ordering is going to be the lowest hanging fruit on the tree. A year from now, we're going to expect every company to have a version of it. So it's a big thing.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:26:45] Let's move on to story number three which is that HTC has launched the U11 phone, which has gotten very good reviews, it appears, and it has a hands-free, built-in version of Alexa, which has not gotten as good of reviews, a little rough around the edges, according to some accounts, including this one. But what we're seeing is that Amazon is not giving up on the phone. And we talked about this in previous weeks: Amazon would love nothing more than to dent or erase iPhone revenue. So Brian what is your take on this phone and integrating Alexa into a phone and what Amazon is trying to do.

 

Brian Roemmele: [00:27:35] Well, Amazon is always in "day one." And that "day one" philosophy is to really just be an innovative startup and to try to make mistakes and to try to recover and learn from those mistakes as quickly as possible. The Fire Phone was actually not a mistake. It turned out to be a great learning lesson. I don't think we would have Alexa unless we had the impetus behind getting the Fire Phone done. Because they were both being run in parallel within the company, and Ahmed might be able to speak about some of this, but some of the energies were going back and forth, even though they didn't touch each other, which they should have. You know, 20/20 hindsight. For example, the 3-D technology that was in the Fire Phone is now in the Echo Look. And the Echo Look is the closet....let's call it the "fashion" Echo that is quietly taking over quite a lot of fashionistas that I know. They have the device, and they absolutely love it. I called it a closet inventory system from day one. And I believe that's where it's going.

 

Brian Roemmele: Now, the cell phone ... this is the toe back in the water to try to test it. And I think it is a rather nice test. I think it's done quite well. But I would hold out that within the next two years, you're going to see Amazon go full in with their own branded system, their own branded device. They're already kind of doing it. There's something that's kind of been rumored around and I can't confirm or deny that I know anything about it other than I am going to speak to the rumor, it's called Alexa Anytime. The Anytime is a social network, and it is also a communication network, and we're seeing the beginnings of that. And it's based, I believe on their Chime technology. And Chime is a platform they acquired recently, well, not so recent, but over the last two years, which is essentially a CRM platform that they've used internally themselves. They've AWSed it, made it as an AWS platform for corporations. And we're going to slowly see concepts of that integrate into more advanced aspects of using Alexa as a mediated communication platform.

 

Brian Roemmele: I believe that that might be one of the secret weapons that Amazon is holding, either knowingly or unknowingly, to bring them back into the voice systems within cell phones, perhaps to build our own phone, but also to make a sort of makeshift network effect of using all the Alexa devices that are out there. Even the Alexa devices that are going to show up in appliances. I mean, after we had the Consumer Electronics Show in January, I mean we're going to have washing machines, dryers, all kinds of appliances are going to show up with Alexa in it. And now today, it was announced Maytag. Maytag, a big competitor of Sears has partnered with Amazon to sell an Alexa branded Maytag series of appliances, and they're going to be sold online and delivered and installed by local Sears reps. So we're seeing this hybrid that's taking over for the greater good. And this greater good is beginning to be a voice first revolution that we've been talking about. So the phone is one step, but it's not the entire step.

 

Karen Kaushansky: [00:31:00] It definitely hints at some of the challenges that we're going to deal with on the design side. When you say "Alexa", and you have your HTC phone next to your Echo and next to everything else, who is going to listen? And it's starting to have to arbitrate between all of your Alexa devices and your dishwasher and your Maytag and whoever will answer to Alexa. So that's definitely one thing that I know some of the companies like Amazon is looking at. If there's multiple devices, how do you arbitrate and orchestrate answers between them? That's one great design challenge. The second is what they talk about in the article which is now, are we leaving it up to the consumer to figure out which assistant do I need for what purpose? I mean if Alexa is on the phone, but you can't make phone calls so you have to use Google Assistant to make phone calls ... it's so much work for people to really understand like "Who do I need to call for what use case and to complete which task?" The last thing I'll say about this, I just remember when everything went mobile right, it was like they used to say you can't just take a Web site and make it mobile. I feel like what I'm hearing about the current design of Alexa on HTC U11 is you can't just take a voice app for a shared home environment and put it on a personal on-the-go device and expect it to fit all the right uses cases in that way.

Brian Roemmele: [02:04:54] Beautifully stated, Karen. I’ve got to add ... you mentioned earlier about this concept of mediation, and this is a big problem and it's going to require deep context. Deep context extraction is so important. Apple's working brilliantly, and I've studied ... there's about two patents out there right now ... and how Siri is going to mediate between different devices. Amazon really needs to deal with this. Google is going to have to deal with it. And it is a massive problem, potentially, but it is easily solved if you go away from the tech side of it, and go down the psychological linguistics side of things. What are you asking the intent extraction? And what is the deep context about what you're asking? And that should really be informing you what device is reacting. And a lot of the workers that are challenging these problems you know a lot of the programmers aren't thinking in those terms. And you know, Ahmed and myself, we talk about this all the time. It's because we have the wrong people going after the problem. It's not really a technology problem. It is a psychological issue, because you're dealing with humans. What do you really mean, and why do you why do you mean it? And that's where we need to really address it.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:05:56] Apple is an apple, Alexa is an orange, and they're comparing apples oranges. And I think you can't just take, to Karen's point, something that is designed for farfield, which is a beautiful art form. For nearfield, it just sucks. Alexa doesn't have the feature that Syria has, because Siri has had multiple years to develop and so forth. So anyway, I didn't try it myself, so I'm just talking theoretically but I think they can. So putting it on the phone is probably a good thing to have, but I think comparing it to Siri right is probably not fair. It will have its own roadmap, and that roadmap is not going to be as simple, linear, translational or whatever Alexa has for the farfield. I think whoever is product managing it....somebody should be product managing Alexa on the smartphone as a product in its own right as opposed to simply a linear....as I was saying, translation of Alexa on farfield.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:06:40] I've got to ask Ahmed....and you bring up an incredible question here. This idea of voice as a transplant on top of the operating system to do things inside the operating system whereas with a personal assistant, These are unfortunately, two forks in the road almost. And I think Apple has done fairly well in making Siri near-field, obviously even probably the best near-field system right now, but Alexa doesn't really have the connections to do any of the deep phone things that Siri can. Do you see these things merging? Do you see that as being the way they should be or should it be separate?

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:07:18] Well, I don't think they're going to merge because I think there are certain things you will do with your phone that we wouldn't do by speaking, and vice versa, but I think what needs to happen really is that Alexa will recognize your voice, just like Google does recognize your voice and then personalize the experience over farfield use case to the extent it can know who you are. So it is to a certain extent, a personal assistant. But it is not completely to the extent, say, it is with your phone, because in your phone, you are doing a lot of other stuff in addition to speaking to it to search and to do things. So I think there is a level of personalization that needs to emerge by recognizing voices, but I don't think we'll have a unified one assistant that can be engaged with regardless of the modality. Farfield and nearfield and then you have the headphones. That's yet another use case. I think these are all....and to your point Bryan and also Karen, I think the interface and the experience are core to what is the optimal way of doing something within that interface. I don't think we can have a unified way of interacting that can just be a one stop shop, so to speak.

 

Karen Kaushansky: [02:08:16] I gave a talk about a year ago at the O'Reilley Design Conference, and it was called "I Hear Voices." And it was exploring multi-device experiences. So when you say OK Google, and you have three devices listening....I'm just suggesting some ways that we should be thinking about this. So I'll send that out to the group here and you can maybe have another conversation at another time.

 

Bradley Metrock: [02:08:36] Sure. And we'll post that link or whatever resource that is to show notes and make that available as part of this episode. So that's great. And we will move on to story number four, which is a bit of a one-off. It's an article that's basically discussing how marketers are scrambling to catch up with the exponential increase in voice-first technology, and as somebody who is naturally interested in marketing....I could say it's not hard to confuse people in marketing. It's pretty simple. So the headline is sort of one of the most obvious headlines I've ever read. But the punchline of the article comes at the very end when it gives a data point about how by the year 2020, as much as 50 percent of search will be done by voice. And that's kind of crazy. And if that ends up being true, that's going to change everything. So Ahmed, I want to start with you on this. What are your thoughts in terms of how products and services need to be assessing this new realm of voice technology for how they're going to raise the awareness of what they're doing?

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:09:41] First of all, I'm going to do a shameless plug and ask people to go to Witlingo.com and see what we're trying to do for digital marketers. I think it is not fair to say that marketers are scrambling. I mean, it seems to me that marketing communication departments are always scrambling because technology is changing and their job is hard. It's hard to get the word out about a product. Human beings are distracted by a million things. And to grab somebody's attention is a very, very hard thing. So I think people underestimate how difficult it is to get market share or mindshare of people who are busy and have things thrown at them. So we've seen them scrambling when the Internet came in, when mobile came in, and social media came in. And it's the nature of the fact that technology is new, and it takes time to understand how it fits within the current ecosystem of how people are marketing their product.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: And I think it is just the nature of the business, that first, the marketers have to understand it, secondly the marketers have to go and add to the workflow how they communicate to the market. And number three, people who are being marketed to have to be receptive to the marketing techniques that are being used. So it's a complex problem. I don't think it's fair to say that they are scrambling. I think they're figuring it out. I don't think they're coming late to the game, it just takes time for these things to evolve in a way where it stabilizes until the next disruption, and then they have to adjust to whatever is coming up next. I don't see it as them being behind the ball. I think they are just trying to absorb something that is complex, given that their job is complex.

 

Karen Kaushansky: [02:10:57] Yeah, so a couple of things that I kind of disagree with in this article. It's trying to position voice, first, and it's saying that there's a world ahead where voice, not text is king. So here's what I believe: that a lot of this is being driven by things like app fatigue, finding information, going to Web sites....does the store open at 9:00 a.m. or 10 a.m. on Sunday? I just want to ask. I just want to know the answer to my question. And whether that's voice or text, whether it's a conversational assistant that I'm actually typing to or I'm speaking with my voice, I just want answers to my questions. So that's why we're seeing all of these chat bots and messaging platforms that let you interact with the brands, because it lets you instantly interact in the way that you want on your own terms. Voice is a part of that, in certain contexts, but I don't think that it's just voice. I think that it's also text. I just read this little note on Kia, around the Super Bowl, created a Nirobot. So they have this new vehicle, and so on Facebook Messenger, they created a Nirobot. And it let people text and interact with Kia well before the vehicle was even available for sale to start the conversation earlier. And they said they got about 15,000 interactions during that Super Bowl campaign to create brand awareness and to start the customer conversation even before a vehicle was available. "Does it come in red?" "Can I get leather seats?" Right? And so whether it's text or voice, I think the the the interactions are changing for marketing. But I don't think it just has to be with voice.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:12:29] I've got to agree with Karen. And I'm a champion of voice-first. I think it's going to absolutely dominate, and quite frankly, I believe the number, 50 percent of searches is probably going to be a little on the lower side. It's actually going to go higher. Yet the other forms of modalities, the other systems are still going to be at play. I think what's happening and what's going to happen is the field is going to expand that much wider. People are going to use searching or interactivity much more because a barrier to access is going to be lowered. And we still think about this like....let's face it, most of the people listening to us, and including us. We're in the 1 percent, and that 1 percent is technology adopters and early technology adopters and we represent a very, very critically small part of the greater population. It's very easy to lose track of that with the power of voice, and what most people in technology who think I'm crazy when I started screaming about how important this is....they don't understand what fly-over country looks like for a lot of different reasons.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:13:27] When you start going out to the rest of the country and parts of the world, people just use technology as a tool in their life and they self-integrate it in ways that we, as designers, don't necessarily expect. Here's the powerful thing about voice. There's one thing that we know about voice, and there's this theme and there's a thread that connects ideas and concepts together and people interact. And once people feel that power the bridge is that voice of theirs into the technology that maybe they didn't feel so well connected to....maybe they jump on Facebook and like a picture, and maybe they kind of interact within a cursory way, but they're not enveloped in it the way most of the technologists are. The voice will allow them to be enveloped in a technology in a way that they've never seen before. And that's going to be the greater part of the population. And we could see it with the youth. The very young fall in love with voice. I've seen it with my own eyes, I've seen it with the studies, I've done 19 studies that have looked into how youth and younger individuals adopt into voice. Now let me jump in to brand....when I say "Alexa, order the paper towels.' And I'm a brand that makes paper towels. I now have a big quagmire. That quagmire is, what is my brand in a voice-first world? What does it look like? The bottom line is, what it looks like is nothing.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:14:40] Your logo doesn't really equate in the voice-first world. So what equates? What equates is character and personality. I'm here in Southern California. I work with a lot of people in the creative fields that have helped storyboard this future for brands. That's something that a wind up doing as a startup but you know the basic idea is this. If a company's logo is a brand, in a voice-first world they better be thinking in deep detail what that brand sounds like, acts like, feels like in that space or else they're going to miss that space. And it's very much like the early days of the Internet. It's like, "Well what am I using the Internet for? I have distributors. I don't have any real communications with my customers. I go on network TV, spend a few million dollars branding with....your fingers are soaking in it, and all this other stuff." And you create these commercial messages but those modalities are fading away obviously.

 

Brian Roemmele: What's going to be replacing it is the direct interaction between the consumer and the brand in this voice-first realm. And it sounds futuristic, but it isn't. It's as simple as having a conversation with a company and/or the brand. And if you get a knee jerk reaction, and you just do snarky, or you just do funny, or you just do boring, straight communication, you have disintegrated the brand equity that you've built up over X number of years. So this is going to be the challenge of this next epoch. So this article reaches to some of that, but obviously it's not going to the depths that I am, I've thought about this for over 30 years, so maybe I got some insight on it. But the bottom line is, if you've got a brand and you're listening to me right now, you better start thinking about it. Because if you don't do it, the consumer is going to assign a personality to your brand on their own.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:16:18] I just want to say that for me, a brand is not the logo or the voice. It is the experience that I have when I'm using the product. So with Scott's paper towels, the brand comes to life when I'm using it and it works better than any other towel. That's when the brand comes up. The brand in TV and the voice and all that are signified that say, "It's me, hey it's me!" Right? But you know what, when I'm ordering my paper towels, when I want to say, "Alexa, get me more paper towels." And my brand has been asserted by me by the fact that I only buy that brand. I don't need to hear the voice....that's what it means. I want that thing. Next time, if I don't have a good experience with the product itself, that brand is going to be "dinged" in there. Which is how it should be. Meaning we have endured people who have crappy products but have big budgets and can buy commercials ad nauseum and get people to buy the product. And a better product that is not marketing itself as well is being neglected. Now, hopefully with the disappearance of that medium, where somebody can fool you into buying their brand because they sound nicer or do better and all that where they have budgets, where the bottom line is going to be the brand is the bottom line. Is this product good or not? I think it may be that voice is going to become the great equalizer. But anyway, it's a topic we probably should think about, because I think it's a great thing that you called out there, Brian, I think it's an interesting thing that may do away with some falsehoods and some artificial things that have been contaminating the greatest product on that category vs. another one.

 

Bradley Metrock: [02:17:36] Yeah, it's all great analysis. And my personal opinion is that I don't think it's going to completely erase the brand meaning in our consumer society, but it certainly will level the playing field because you won't have to be a Proctor and Gamble brand in a voice-first environment to compete. You can do all sorts of runs and get your products out there without having to to establish that. And yeah, I saw a very interesting article....Brian to your point, shed some light on it but it certainly doesn't take a deep dive, that's for us to do. So all of y'all's commentary is greatly appreciated. Moving on to story number five, Google Home launches in Australia today, with the slang to match and this article talks about how....very interesting article discussing how Google has prepared the launch of Google Home in Australia by adding the slang and really making sure all the verbiage is there that Australians use, and really being very meticulous and describing a very meticulous thought process into how to launch their product in that market. So Karen I want to start with you on this. And my question is does this sort of thing normally happen? I would assume it does. Can you shed a little bit of light on is this typical product launching in the voice realm, or is this just something specific for this marketplace.

 

Karen Kaushansky: [02:18:54] This is the right way to do it to really understand where you're launching what the culture is the language. OK. They talk English with a different accent than we do, but it's much more than that. I would say it's just the same as launching in a different country with a different language. You want to understand who your target is, how they ask for things. Direct translations don't work. So I think it really shows that for any country, that there are differences that you need to build in from the start in order to be successful. I mean, this is a product that people pay money for, and if they try it, and it doesn't work, they're going to send it back. And this will set them up much better for success.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:19:32] I fully agree with Karen. I think being foresighted enough to actually look at each English speaking marketplace in the right realm is a big testament to Google. Google doesn't always get everything right, but they got this part right really well. And again, I've got to say Nandini and the teams up there....Google is going very far down the road to try to understand the linguistic nature, the psychological nature of how humans interact via communication. And I think if they continue down this path, they're going to do wonderful. So I think it's a good move on Google's part. Siri is right up there. I mean, I can't say enough about how well Apple has been doing in that realm also. But you know obviously Apple has really let a lot of things slide in the other areas, but they've done really well in getting language and getting the culture down fairly well. And again the personality, these personalities are immensely important. And this may be the signs of Google finally understanding that your voice-first system needs to have a personality, must have a personality, an overt personality and if you don't assign one, it will be assigned by the user. This is human nature, and you cannot change it with any code. So I believe that that is going to be the beginning. I'm hoping and I have a prayer circle for Google to actually name their device. I'm hoping that at some point they'll get a name for it and stop this shenanigans of saying, "OK Google." I hope those days are behind us. I think it's a good move. Though let's not negative this. It's a great move for them to do what they've done.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:20:57] Yeah, I concur. Definitely. I think Google going to Canada, going to Australia, I think that's fantastic. I don't know what's going on with Amazon. I think they need to get their act together and hopefully get on board and getting there Alexa up outside of the U.S. and U.K. and Germany. I think these are the only three countries we have at this point. So I think I think it's a great move by Google. And I think Google is pursuing....I'm glad that they're not just chasing numbers of Skills as Amazon is. I think Amazon is doing a great job with building the ecosystem, but I think it is smart for Google to be thinking perpendicularly as opposed to horizontally, trying to compete and leveraging other assets, in this case going international.

 

Bradley Metrock: [02:21:27] I appreciate that analysis. Moving on to story number six, Bespoken launches Silent Echo which is something they put together, a tool that allows text-based silent interaction with Alexa. And then Opearlo launched something called Sound Owl, which was referenced earlier in this part cast as well, which allows the creation of five minute short casts that can be broadcast on their Alexa Skill. So Brian, I'm going to start with you on this. Give me your thoughts on either one or both of these things, and just in general, the importance of companies being able to act on their own in support of what these big tech companies do to make money for themselves and further the ecosystem in their own way.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:22:07] Great question Bradley. I call it voice-first but it's not voice-only. There are appropriate times when people need to text into a voice platform. And I think that should be an "a priori" on all platforms. I don't know why it's not. And this idea of chat bots versus voice bots....that needs to stop. I think we can blame Facebook for that. And I think ultimately it has to do with the ecosystem inside of Facebook being textual. I think that's going to be changing very soon. You heard it here. Let's just say this. Facebook will have a hardware device, and it will absolutely floor people in the next 18 months. But this idea that you can only to use voice is just as ridiculous as only using your thumbs. But on the other side of it, there's this premise that....and I'll use a quote. "Millennials don't like to talk." First off, that could have been said by Plato. There's a certain range within your life where you just don't speak as much. And maybe you're not as articulate. And maybe it's when you finally get out of college, and you get your wings that you can maybe finally get articulate. Some people aren't that good about it. Right? So that's part of it.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:23:04] The other part of it is, yes we stunted a whole generation by letting them be face down thumbs ready into these devices only because our devices didn't understand what we had to say. Now that they can start understanding what we have to say, the generation just under them, the younger generation, I've studied very intently. They will have none of this. They will talk to their devices. The younger generation will demand and expect computing devices, as they get older, to respond to them by voice just like how they demand and expect every screen to have touch screen. Apple has this thing, "Let's not make the screen touch screen on our laptops." My son came up with a very simple equation. And he said, "Dad, if the iPad was invented before the laptop, it would be ridiculous to think a laptop not to have a touch screen." Done. That's it. That's the wisdom right there. So that solves the equation there. He also said the same thing. He said, "I would never think of having a computer that doesn't have the ability to understand what I'm saying and being able to read back to me the stuff that I don't want to be reading." So yes, texting into it is important. Telephone phobia. Look it up folks, it's a real problem in the 1800s. All of the Bell Systems got together and they literally had seminars in group encounter meetings with people who were afraid to talk to inanimate objects. It became a real psychological problem. I own some of the only research into that. Most of it has been discarded. It's not on the Internet.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:24:26] There are 19 really good studies about telephone phobia that took place in the early 1900s. And telephone phobia came out with this idea that humans just could not talk into devices. They didn't feel confident. They felt that people were watching them, and they were judging them. And if you look at the very early telephones they had bells and the bells were eyes, and the little speaker was a nose. That was designed to try to let this thing become less intimidating. It worked to a certain degree. We're seeing that too right now in the population. And I'll tell you how you can see it. If you see people walking around holding their phones parallel to their mouth, that typifies them as somebody who's probably talking into a voice assistant or maybe having a speaker phone conversation. If you have somebody having the phone up to their ear, well they're probably having a conversation. Here's how I solved telephone phobia. Hold the phone to your ear like you're having a conversation. It's done. If you can handle having a conversation respectfully in public, don't annoy people, you can talk to your personal assistant the same way. And if you happen to have an Airpod in....I love Airpods for near-field communications, it's another way to communicate. So yes, this idea of texting, I think it's a powerful thing.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:25:33] The only thing I'll add....well first of all, I'm not surprised that your son was saying those things given that I know you are Brian so you haven't...(incomprehensible) And secondly, I think what you said sounds fascinating. I would love to find out more about this phobia. Sounds like a book or two that the historian of technology could write given where we're going. I think whatever history we can dig up from the past would be probably very relevant and informative about what we're facing coming up next.

 

Bradley Metrock: [02:25:59] Moving on to story number seven, and this one....from time to time on this podcast, there will be, for a variety of reasons, stories that will get mentioned but will not be subject to discussion. There's just no reason to have a discussion on this in here. Karen, Brian, and Ahmed say how terrible this is. No, I'm teasing. But we were very fortunate to have our first major sponsor for the Alexa Conference and I bring this up in context of a story that we had last week about Mississippi and Utah both jumping on board developing your own Alexa Skills. This story is a Tennessee-specific one. Chattanooga, specifically. It's a very up-and-coming town, the first city in the United States to have gigabit internet. So there's a really profound tech story behind the city in the first place. They're really supporting the Alexa Conference. The major utility there is all about it, and we're going to be announcing several other sponsors that will surprise some people in the coming weeks. But it's important I think, for people to know and just to state for posterity's sake that voice technology is more than just the Bay Area. It's more than New York and Boston. It's everywhere. It needs to be everywhere. There's hunger for it everywhere. Everybody in Tennessee I talk to about not just VoiceFirst.FM, but the Alexa Conference is all about it. And don't get me wrong. The Alexa Conference is going to pull people from all over the world. People from both coasts will show up. People from fly-over country will show up. But Tennessee is all about it. And so it just sort of needed to be stated for posterity's sake here on this show.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:27:22] Congratulations.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:27:23] Congrats.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:27:23] I love the fact that the first time I encountered your conference on another podcasts, one of the things that made me really happy is the fact that this was not New York or San Francisco Bay area. It was somewhere else, and I love the fact that that's where the VoiceFirst.FM is born and expanding. So congratulations Bradley. Well done.

 

Bradley Metrock: [02:27:38] I appreciate that.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:27:38] Yeah, congratulations Bradley. And you have a 10 billion gigawatt transmitter that for the voice-first revolution at VoiceFirst.FM and the Alexa Conferences and I think other conferences are going to wind up being a textbook study of how this whole revolution got off and it's really, really good to see this taking place. Congratulations.

 

Bradley Metrock: [02:27:57] I appreciate you. We're pretty excited. So this is the first time that we've got a story that will just sort of be noted for the record, it will not be the last, and we'll move onto the last story of this week, which is that Amazon is moving to disrupt food marketplaces by marrying Alexa with food delivery. And I want to pull this up. So I had never heard of Blue Apron. It looks like I will never have a reason to learn what Blue Apron was. As Amazon now is delivering meals, and I don't know if they're doing this in Nashville or not, although I need to find out. But it's a fascinating story here on GeekWire about how Amazon is getting into food and these quick meals that can be prepared. Really interesting story. Karen, for our final story of the week I'm going to start with you. What do you take away from this? How does this story strike you?

 

Karen Kaushansky: [02:28:48] It goes to using your voice with Alexa to order a pizza. Right? It's going to be the on-demand, "Hey Alexa, what's for dinner?" That's what's going to be. Alexa will be able to tell you what meal kits are in the Amazon van parked three blocks away and you're going to get a meal kit, because you want to make dinner, you just don't have the groceries. It's all coming. It makes sense, especially with Amazon buying Whole Foods. They have a distribution now. It's all coming together.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:29:14] Farfield voice is a way to enable me to engage with the world without having to look at something and tap on something and do this and that and disrupt my flow and go to this very dangerous thing called the smartphone that will suck me into texting or the browser and so forth. For me, voice was a way to liberate us from screens, and now, it just occurred to me when I read the story that perhaps voice-first is going to, in fact, enable us, or in fact, we're going to exacerbate us being in front of the screen. So now I don't have to cook, meaning I don't have to shut my laptop down and go to the kitchen and cook and be off the screen machine for at least an hour. Now I'm can just say, "Alexa, get me something. And as I'm saying this, my eyes and my hands are not disrupted, meaning my eyes are still on the screen. My hands are still on the keyboard. So that struck me as ironic in a way that perhaps voice-first farfield, because it's not disruptive. It's not going to disrupt our looking at the phone or looking at the screen. And I just want to throw that bomb on you guys to see what kind of reaction I get.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:30:12] Well, it's a big bomb. Ahmed, let me say this. I think that the idea of having the ability to take over the kitchen is....Alexa, I mean that's obviously the secret agenda here. The idea of having that is a great opportunity for Amazon. It's also a great opportunity for families. I can tell you that what Alexa has done in our household is it's actually drawn the children to be more communicative to actually be more pleasant. My children will say thank you to Alexa, will interact and there is less screen time. And it is hard. Listen, I think anybody who has got a child right now is suffering from trying to get them away from the screens. It's actually served that function very well. And I got to see this. Echo Show has drawn the family together by allowing Grandma and the kids to have dinner together even though they're not in the same place, because we have two Echos in the kitchen. To actually have trivia questions being thrown out while Grandma is on the Echo Show and the kids are asking trivia, and Grandma's saying, "Oh yeah, I got the answer." There's nothing like that. I'm fortunate enough to have my mom come over sometimes, but this is so powerful. So this is a great move to have food delivery also. I'd like to see people make food. But the next thing is sit in your kitchen and eat it and maybe interact together.

 

Karen Kaushansky: [02:31:24] Yeah, I have a five-year-old as well, so it's on-demand dance parties, and "Open the Magic Door" is a pretty cool one that we've been using.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:31:32] I agree. I love that capability.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:31:33] I think the point I was trying to make is simply that technology is so complex that any any sort of straightforward line extrapolation that we make is probably naive. And so we have to assess it....all of us as we engage with these powerful technologies and see how they affect our lives. And I think the more powerful these technologies are, the more important it is for us as parents, as people who want to live a healthy life, to be willful and to be conscious of the tools that we have at our disposal and to maybe to focus on making sure we do the right thing by ourselves and our family and our children. And hopefully, mature as consumers of these powerful technologies.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:32:12] I've got to agree. I'm also on that theme that you've really brought about even in your earliest words, your early books, is this idea of humanizing technology. I think this is the evolution of this technology, and that's what's causing the revolution, is that we are rejecting technology in our lives 24/7 all the time. We really want to bring back the elements of humanity. And this is the beginning of that. Now I got to say, I've used Blue Apron before, I've used other food packaging systems before, and they're all pretty interesting. But again, there's something that themes this altogether. When I do these things, it becomes a family event. There's something about having a kit delivered and assigning different capabilities to the kids. It is brilliant. It's beautiful. And if there's any way that Alexa and Amazon can bring that about more, and more families actually sit down and not only just eat together, but prepare meals together. This is our ancient humanity crying out to us. It's how we've always normalized our relationships within our families.

 

Brian Roemmele: And I can go on for days about the psychology that's necessary for us to to make our food together, actually to gather our food together, and then to prepare it. I mean the gathering, that part is painfully lost, but the preparing....I am not going to say it's a panacea that's going to fix families, but it's a good way to start. It's a good way for you to reconnect with your kids instead of saying, "Hey, what did you do today?" There is a serendipitous moment of where a child might say, "Oh yeah, we did this in class and in these conversations, I see in real time, and I got to tell you take snapshots of that as a parent, you will never get those moments again, and find moments to make those moments. And I think bringing it all back, Alexa can do that. Home food delivery can do that. If you can do it from scratch, do from scratch of course but better yet, just spend those times together in the kitchen. That's what it's all about.

 

Bradley Metrock: [02:33:59] That's great. That's a great insight across the board. And as noted in episode five of the Voice-First Roundtable which is out today as well, interview with Nandini Stocker of Google. One thing that she and I talked about that just enthralls me with this voice technology sector is that it seems like almost to a person, every participant, every person that's involved in this technological movement, and it definitely is a movement is interested primarily in reducing involvement with technology. That's the primary ROI of voice technology, it seems like, to reduce impact, reduce time involvement, reduce headaches and stress and so on and so forth. Of technology, I think that is really interesting, and it's something that continues to draw me deeper into this vortex and I'm sure you all feel the same way. Karen, Brian, Ahmed, thank you very much for sharing your time and your insights and your expertise with us this week.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [02:34:56] Thank you.

 

Brian Roemmele: [02:34:56] Thank you so much. An honor to be here.

 

Karen Kaushansky: [02:34:57] Thanks.

 

Bradley Metrock: [02:34:57] Greatly appreciated. And so for This Week in Voice episode 3, July 20th 2017, thank you for listening. And until next time.

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