April 4, 2020
The Future of Voice Technology – Erik Olson

The Future of Voice Technology – Erik Olson


so I’m from Chesapeake I’ve been here about 15 years I live in the grass field area my business is on Battlefield behind the Home Depot and Lowe’s a lot of our employees live and obviously work here as well and we’ve been in our spot for our business the last two years if you are on social media and you feel so inclined to give me a shout out my information is right here so it’s I am Eric Olson on all the platforms so as Stephen said marketing is getting more and more complex we have web sites we have mobile web sites we have SEO we have social media there are so many things that can affect your marketing and every business and organization needs marketing in order to get further ahead in their mission there’s a new aspect to marketing which is voice marketing and it is very new to the marketplace and we’re trying to get ahead of that right now and so this whole talk is about what you need to know now to start thinking about for the next year or two or three so that you’re not behind and we want to get you ahead of this curve so going back to the beginning of the human existence you like that we we began to communicate with body language then grunts and then eventually voice we’re the only animal that communicates with voice and that started about a hundred thousand years ago that continued through the ages even though we had scriptures and we had writing it was for the educated folks it wasn’t for the commoners so we continued to speak even in modern times as you can see here using voice our language this is how we’ve communicated for the last hundred thousand years until about four hundred fifty thousand years ago when the printing press was invented and we could get our message out beyond just our voice all of a sudden that was the mass communication of the day fast-forward to it’s debatable when this really took off but around when IBM came out with their or the IBM personal computer which I think was in 80s so for the last 30 years or so we’ve been communicating like this and this is how you get the message out and then we had a o L who remembers a ll who loved AOL I loved it it was awesome it was great this is a screenshot from a ll from the 90s and this was cutting-edge back in the day was so cool but people started to get together and communicate online with the computer using their keyboards and then we had mobile phones so I never had one of those on the left that anyone have one of those oh wow you guys are pioneers pioneers yeah I think I had maybe one of these but fast forward all the way to the right and in 2007 we got iPhones and that changed everything and this is what we do now so this is how we communicate so it used to be with our voice for a hundred thousand years for about 450 years we would read and for about 30 years we would type and for the last 12 years we use our thumbs right and this is how we communicate these days this is modern communication this is a timeline of the Internet era if you will monitor communications so Internet Explorer which was the browser of the day it dominated for sure came out in 1995 and Amazon came out around the same time I think that’s actually 1994 so right around 94 95 is when things really started to take off with the internet and that was the big land grab for the next 10 to 12 years until the smartphone came out once the smartphone came out there was a land grab for mobile everybody had to mobilize their business or their organization their websites mobile apps well 12 years forward 2019 we think that there is something new a new land grab this out there and it has to do with obviously based on the title of the talk voice so how many people here speak to their phone for the purpose not of a voice communication but a voice to text yeah I do it all the time so why do you do that it’s fast right is it perfect absolutely not it messes up all the time all the time all right but it’s getting better and you add in things like artificial intelligence and it’s gonna get better and better and better to the point where it won’t mess up now how long is that gonna take don’t know the technology is advancing very very quickly it could take a year it could take five years but at some point this is gonna be the way that you talk to get text messages out going forward if you even have a phone there are people that think that when our kids or maybe grandkids get of age they’re gonna look at this thing like we look at pagers these days so we have smart speakers now how many people here have a smaller speaker of any kind how many have more than one yeah I’ve got I don’t know probably five yeah so these things are great if you don’t have one you set them up in your house or your office you can talk to Google and it’ll give your response you can talk to Alexa it will give you a response it’s very transactional right now as far as I want this piece of data and it gives you the piece of data back here’s the timeline Apple was the pioneer in this space back in 2011 but as you can see very quickly other companies jumped on the bandwagon all right Google Microsoft interesting thing about Microsoft is they came out with Cortana so who here uses Windows and I don’t by the way all right the Cortana is built into Windows right so you could speak to your Windows computer does anybody do that so series built into the back and I’m a Mac guy and I don’t know why I just hate it when ever see returns on on the computer it just doesn’t feel right to be talking to your computer right now feels right to talk to your phone but anyway it’s interesting little tidbit about Microsoft Cortana is Microsoft came out with their own assistant voice assistant Cortana and they recently switched over to Alexa it supports Alexa which is an Amazon product so Microsoft is kind of seeding this market to the leaders the leaders being Amazon and also Google so speaking of Amazon there was a conference that I went to in January in Chattanooga as you can see called Alexa comp this is the third year they’ve had this conference and it was a relatively small conference about 500 people attended but that was tripled the size of 2018 and 2018 was double the size of 2017 gives you an idea of the interest level here right people are really interested in this the people that were at this conference they were talking about things like this being a legacy device already right mobile so they’re so sure and by the way Amazon was a major sponsor thus the name Alexa Kampf but they’re so sure that voice is the next technology that they’re already referring to mobile and certainly web sites as just a legacy technology they’ve already written it off basically they know that this is coming now whether that’s true or not is debatable but certainly Amazon Google the people that are involved in this ecosystem believe it and this is probably why if you look at this chart this shows the adoption rate of consumer technologies over time different consumer technologies going back to the internet and the radio all the way off to the right just very briefly those took 20 years to get up to about a 50% penetration with the US population our beloved smartphones it took them what about six seven years together the 50% smart speakers totally different my so a lot of people one more time who has a smaller speakers okay at least half at least half these things are gaining traction very very quickly much faster than most people realize and this shows it so what do you do with a smart speaker you can certainly ask you questions you can get some content out of it but a lot of people a third of people are actually starting to use their smart speaker instead of watching TV so we know that broadcast TV is having trouble these days because of things like on-demand TV and what’s called over-the-top which is like Netflix or Hulu right but people are starting to walk away from TV even more because they have other options so what do you do with your smart speaker this chart shows that the majority of people right now are doing the basic stuff they’re playing music they’re getting basic information every single morning I asked Alexa for my flash briefings which I’ll talk about in a minute and the very first one that I have on there is the weather I just want to know what the weather is and what the forecast is super handy and I can do it while making my breakfast or anything else so this shows where people are actually using voice assistance surprisingly they’re using it in the car more than anywhere else why is that hands-free right you’re driving you don’t want to be distracted my car which is a 2016 it came with what’s called you connect it’s a Chrysler and so I could talk to it and I can get basic information out of it it can make phone calls and why not after about a year that free trial ended it was gonna cost fifteen bucks so I stopped doing it now I just use my phone but the battle place for voice right now is actually in the car it’s not even so much in the home anymore because of that penetration curve that you saw so a lot of manufacturers are trying to get in the car the people that put on Alexa cough they’re also putting on a conference in a couple weeks called voice in the car so you’re gonna see a lot of activity when it comes to voice assistance in the car alright so I mentioned flash briefings very very quickly who here listens to flash briefings Wow okay not that many compared to how many people have smart speakers all right so what a flash briefing is it’s a small audio file it can be no more than 10 minutes long it’s only on Amazon right now and what you can do as a user you can go into your Alexa app and you can get these audio files that are produced on a daily basis typically and you can listen to them one after another after another now they can only be ten minutes max but they’re typically two three four minutes long and these are things like the news right so media outlets are starting to put this information out to the world through voice allen who has been doing voice development has been putting the information about the virginia beach city meetings that correct yeah I’ll invoice so if you want to know what meetings are coming up you can ask your Spahr speaker now and thanks to Allen’s skill it will tell you if you’re interested in People magazine news it’ll tell you compared to podcasts flash briefings are a very small number this chart was taken the screenshot was taken a little while ago 8,000 it’s actually at 8700 now so there’s only 8700 flash briefings that are out there they you can consume very low numbers as compared to podcasts as you can see 650,000 a skill by the way the skill is a little more of a complex interaction where you can ask your Alexa or your Google home a question and then it will go out and dynamically get the data so maybe like you’ll ask you for a stock quote for a particular stock it’ll go out to the internet get the data and then return it there’s more skills than flash briefing it’s flash briefings are usually recorded and you can get your information one flash briefing after another after another I subscribe to about 12 or so which is a lot I don’t think most people do that I do become doing a lot of research I want to hear what other people are saying graphically speaking podcasts vs flash briefings if you want to do a podcast these days you’re not going to be on the cutting edge there’s a lot of competition out there now I would definitely recommend doing a podcast but you won’t be a pioneer if you want to get ahead of everyone else flash briefings are probably where you want to focus on it’s still a recording it’s just short in nature which is actually a good thing because it’s easier to record than a very long hour-long podcast with an interview so this is 8,000 the true number I’ll show you in a minute is 8700 that’s the supply right that’s how many flash briefings are out there the demand the demand for flash briefings is a little more difficult to figure out we don’t have specific data yet but people are trying to figure this out Amazon doesn’t provide this data even though Amazon has all the data in the world they keep a lot of it to themselves but what we do know is that there are 100 million Alexa enabled devices out in the wild that have been sold this is your echo this is the Alexa app on my phone this is my fire stick and you don’t have a fire stick fire sticks are awesome by the way because you can talk to you can tell it what you want and it goes and it finds it for you out of the hundred million Alexa devices that have been sold approximately 30% of those Alexa users listen to flash briefings that’s a guesstimate yes yeah all right so the question is Bixby Bixby is a the voice assistant that’s on Samsung phones so I have a Samsung s9 and there’s the power button there’s volume up volume down and this other button which always kind of pisses me off when I hit it because it’s Bixby okay it’s the same concept it’s not Amazon’s voice assistant it’s not Google voice assistant it’s Samsung’s so Samsung is making a huge push into the voice assistant world there’s a competition going on right so everyone is buying for the next thing Google wants to win this Google really wants to win at voice assistance because of things like voice search has anyone done a query voice search like the one that you would normally put into Google well you get one answer back alright so if you ask working to buy blue jeans in Google on a webpage you get a list and then it’s up to you to start click it around and figuring out what the best answer is right well with voice search if you ask your Google home or if you ask your Alexa working on by blue jeans you’ll get one answer one answer right so this is a big threat to Google Google wants you to ask it it’s Google home or it’s Google home Mini that question they don’t want you to ask Bixby and they don’t want you to ask Amazon and by the way that one answer when it’s it’s gonna be either overwhelmingly everyone agrees that answer or you’ve done a really good job branding so from a marketing and branding perspective if voice is coming out you don’t want you want to train the public and your consumers not to ask for blue jeans you want to train them to ask for Levi’s big difference right because they ask for blue jeans who decides if it’s regular or Levi’s that is the result well it’s not you it’s not you as the brand as someone else’s Google or Amazon probably whoever pays Amazon the most so if you’re not thinking about branding when it comes even you know at all but certainly to voice you need to because you want people to ask for your brand not for your category big difference all right so about 30 million flash briefing listeners that number is going to be refined as more data comes out I mentioned 8700 again it’s very hard to get this data this chart I had to put together myself I realized that in the Alexa app you can get the number that it currently is but there’s nowhere that actually shows the trend over time and I got some data points from some old articles and I created this chart here I’ve been keeping track of it for the last six months or so myself so everything to the right is pretty accurate everything to the left from mmm I don’t know about he or so is like two data points just from articles where they actually cited how many that were at the time so one hundred thousand one hundred million devices 8700 flash briefings that’s roughly 11,500 devices per individual flash briefing now if the if roughly 30% of those device listeners or device owners listen to flash briefings you’re talking about a three thousand to one ratio not bad what this is saying is there’s a lot of demand right now for flash briefings and not a lot of supply what’s also very nice about voice is that consumers are receptive to hearing from businesses and so in some media excuse me businesses just don’t have a place and like some social media as an example but for smart speakers for whatever reason they do this is good for us so good that we created our own flash briefing now what we have on the left is the Amazon flash briefing image this is what people see this is me and my business partner Kevin back there and so we want to get ahead of this so we record every single day and we usually do it in batches but every single day an episode comes out it’s about three minutes long today’s was even shorter and it’s just something that we’re learning along the way as we build the company it’s something I said interest to us it’s easy to record because we’re in it day in and day out and we’re really just documenting our journey but it’s already starting to take off we’ve got about 3,000 downloads in the last 30 days and we’ve been out for about 45 days so we’re super happy about that and then these ecosystems that they are discoverable so people can put in entrepreneurialism or running a business or something that pertains to what we’re doing and more and more people will subscribe and download yeah so alright so to repeat the question these these smart speakers are now starting to come out with screens the first screens we’re really small and now they’re bigger yeah nothing they’re getting bigger and bigger and so the question is is there a place for visual in in the flash briefings and in also just in the smart speaker smart device and the answer is absolutely already when you publish your flash briefing you can put well by default if you have a screen it will show your image so it’ll show this image on the Left it’ll show the image that is like the icon if you will of your flash briefing but if you also upload a video it will play the video we haven’t got there yet that’s the next thing for us there are a couple of influencers and marketers that do that and so when we when we play the flash briefing on our fire stick which is connected to the TV then we’ll see those videos there are some media outlets like I think it’s Fox News and maybe even a CNN where you actually see the person recording like speaking it right in the studio which is yeah it’s kind of boring how’s the 7s yeah yeah yeah yeah I think so it is boring just to see someone speaking into a microphone but you’re gonna say that replaced with more interesting things going forward right we’re very early into this all right this is our downloads I don’t know exactly while we had that spike but it’s been pretty steady and this is based on the normal promotion that we do for really anything that we put on in the world as a marketing agency so we didn’t do anything extra we didn’t pay for any sponsorship or anything like that this is just telling people that we know and our network that hey we have this flash briefing and all of a sudden we’re getting 150 roughly 200 at the well 150 at the high end is what it looks like downloads a day that’s 150 people listening to us that’s I’ll take it and the feedbacks been great so this is a quote that I got from someone on LinkedIn very recently but I’ve also had this experience and so as Kevin and some of the other folks in our company where we will meet with someone I actually met with a potential sales person about two days ago and I was explaining how we’re growing and how we’re expanding to Orlando or doing these things and she said oh I know I listened to your flash briefing yeah so I didn’t have like I was introducing all those concepts but she already knew everything I was about to say which is great that’s the position you want to be in when you talk to someone especially a prospect and you’re selling regardless what you’re selling you want the person to be familiar with you so I’ve been talking a lot about Amazon and flash briefings and definitely things to get into flash briefings at least start listening think about making your own but as you can see here flash briefings are the peanuts this peanuts compared to the Google assistant and the reason is Google’s everywhere right I can get to Gugu similar to Bixby on a Samsung I can get to Bixby by pressing this button but I can get to Google let’s see if it works by saying okay Google okay it just vibrated so so the Google assistants built into the operating system of the most prolific mobile device there is these days no Android surpassed Apple as far as number of units sold years ago and by a longshot – so yeah Alexa and the echo and Amazon are fantastic and exciting but there’s a bigger market out there and we talked about the car there’s a bigger market out there there’s a lot that companies are going after right now all right Sonic branding who’s familiar with the concept of Sonic branding you probably are if everyone I think everyone’s gonna be familiar with it I couldn’t get mice I couldn’t get my echo actually to connect so I’m gonna play it from here I’ve got a couple of examples and let’s hope this works it should all right so first this is an example of Sonic branding in a particular a sonic logo could you all hear that I don’t think this did much alright so I’m sure I’m sure everyone’s heard that before right that’s that’s been around for a long time this is MasterCard has anyone heard the MasterCard sonic logo so this just came out a couple of weeks ago and it was a big deal in the marketing industry the sign at the end you’re gonna start hearing that everywhere if you use MasterCard when you process transaction you’re gonna hear that over and over and over and over and what they’re trying to do is just drill it into your head when you hear that sound that means MasterCard right so knowing that this is a trend we wanted to jump on it early in our company so I’m gonna play you the beginning of a video we also use the audio for our flash briefings but this is a video that we created a couple days ago all right so that first part you don’t know what it was right that’s our logo yes it’s the exact same thing as a visual logo recognition all right when you hear Intel’s audio we’ll go sonic logo ding ding ding ding ding if I didn’t show that to you would have guessed what it was right yeah that’s exactly this so it’s a logo and for the years yeah so we we were using what you just saw were the array digital expands we’ve been using that for about a year and a half two years now and and we realized that Sonic branding was was becoming hot really quick a couple of people were come big agencies were jumping on it MasterCard jumped on it all once and so we got in the conference room and we said hey we need a sonic logo what are we going to do what do we sound like and I was actually Kevin who said hey we’ve got this we call it a bumper a video that goes in the front and back of our normal videos and we had to clicking let’s use that we’ve been using it for two years absolutely so we took that we extracted the audio we compress some of the delay between the clicking and the Zoom Zoom zip zip and that became our audio brand or audio logo so we didn’t had so my point is we didn’t have to do a lot of work we already were doing it we just had to recognize that that was the audio version of our logo something we were already doing well we bought that sound we bought the Sahlins off of a website whoo that’s a question okay yeah so do we have to copyright that yeah we have the license to use those sounds yeah yeah you don’t want to be like going and just copying it or downloading off the internet and then because the official answer yes yeah it’s so how do you come up with a a sonic logo it’s a great question it’s it’s really the real question is how do you come up with a logo okay so and then you just need to think about in audio terms what is it you represent are you doing transactions there’s there someone who Gary Vaynerchuk anybody familiar with him so he has one word it sounds to me almost like a check mark like you know something like it when I hear it I think of a check mark like just getting it done you know and so he’s very much about urgency and just moving forward so another question someone else okay adda lexicon file is introduced to a couple of companies that are trying to do things that are pushing the envelope even further with voice this is an example of one company called private key and they are trying to create secure transactions through voice by secure I mean Alexa pay my mortgage I’m so imagine everything that goes into that transaction right so you had to have authorization with your bank yet to have authorization with your mortgage company there’s a local company who was here at the conference a local insurance broker who’s very interested in this he wants people to be able to get insurance through voice trying to figure out how to do it and so this is coming and it’s not enough just to say pay my mortgage it has to recognize who you are has to authenticate who you are it can’t be a recording of me saying that before or words from several different recordings stitched together here’s another one this is pretty cool this is surveys by voice so I’m sure everybody here you get surveys by email right and you don’t even want to fill it out as a pain well this company they actually do surveys by a voice so I can’t actually demonstrate it because I don’t have my echo set up on this Wi-Fi but if you were to say Alexa open survey line and then give it the key word and the key word that I created with economic development it’ll ask you some questions and these are all questions that I put in so I went to a web page I typed in the questions and now Alexa is reading it out just kind of an interesting novel way of getting the data alright so takeaways some things I want you to think about when you leave here voice is the fastest-growing consumer technology that we know of compared to newspapers TV Internet and our beloved smartphones there’s something going on here now that you know this you have an early mover advantage you can do something about it I’m not saying you have to go all-in on voice and scrap everything else but you can start thinking about and how to bring voice into your marketing so yeah think about what you can do in your business the best way to get started is thinking about a use case what’s that one transaction that you could support through voice flash briefings so either well definitely if you are an Alexa owner start listening to flash briefings go into your Alexa app if you’re not sure to do it come up afterwards I’ll show you and subscribe to flash briefings because it’s just free information and a super convenient and as a business I would really consider starting a flash briefing get in on that supply demand right way more demand than there is supply this is arbitrage you can get in on that and then sonic branding what do you sound like I start thinking about that look at some of the videos some of the assets that you already have see if you can gets tracked something out if you can take something that you already have and reuse it for audio fantastic that’s all I have any questions [Applause]

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