Hicham Tahiri Discusses Smart Voice Summit in Paris
The Smart Voice Summit, “Europe’s First Voice Assistant Event” was held earlier this month in Paris, France. Hosted by Smartly.ai, the event brought voice industry leaders and brands and organizations looking to leverage voice apps as part of their market strategy. Voicebot reached out to Hicham Tahiri, CEO of Smartly.ai, to get his take on how the first Smart Voice Summit went and what he learned from organizing the two-day event.
Why did you organize Smart Voice Summit?
Hicham Tahiri: While developing Smartly AI in Europe we discovered that many companies were not aware of the basics of voice apps. Most companies are still figuring out how big voice assistant adoption is, what voice apps are exactly, and how they can leverage Alexa skills and Google Assistant. Most importantly, they are trying to figure out what to do, when and how. As evangelizing all the brands one by one is impossible, we decided to create the Smart Voice Summit, a massive event gathering the best speakers and the leading companies to solve this problem. I really want to thank our sponsors here: Google, BNP Paribas and Acapela Group for helping us make this event possible.
Can you tell us a general breakdown of attendee background such as country and industry?
Tahiri: We had +250 voice enthusiasts attending the SVS, 9 keynotes, 4 panel sessions, 6 workshops and 7 startup pitches packed into 2 days. Media, automobile, retail, agencies, distribution and household appliance were the sectors most represented.
Could you tell me something you learned last week that surprised you or was new to you?
Tahiri: While listening to all the speakers and participating in the workshops, I realized that we really have a strong ecosystem to push the industry forward! I also appreciated that so many brands were interested in the business opportunities opened by voice. Lastly, I have to say that you really surprised us with the exclusive smart speaker figures in Europe that you shared during your keynote.
What does the attendance at Smart Voice Summit tell you about voice assistant adoption in Europe?
Tahiri: Most of the attendees came from France, UK and Germany, which follows the geographic areas where Alexa and Assistant are present. Luxembourg, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy and Lebanon were also represented.
What is different about voice assistant adoption in Europe compared to the U.S.?
Tahiri: As the historical market of smart speakers with Amazon and Google’s headquarters, the US market is much more mature on voice than Europe. European institutions and companies are really tech savvy and the adoption is very good, although it could be even bigger with some additional marketing push; maybe some Super Bowl like campaigns on the Champions League would help.
Based on this year’s turnout, will there be another Smart Voice Summit?
Tahiri: Following a study we have sent to the 250 participants, 95% of the attendees rated the event as excellent or very good. Because of the success of this first edition, we decided to launch the Smart Voice Summit on a global level, we can already announce that by 2020, we will run the event in London, New York, Bengaluru and Sydney. More details to be shared soon!