Four Things We Learned About at Voice19 Day 1

Day 1 of VOICE19 was stacked with information, insights, and predictions about the voice tech industry and its future. Though it was impossible for any single person to attend even a fraction of all the presentations and events, we picked out a few highlights gleaned from our own experience and on Twitter.

Alexa Story Games

Kicking off the morning’s keynote address, Dave Isbitski, chief evangelist for Alexa and Echo at Amazon revealed the new Skill Flow Builder for game makers. This developer tool is designed to make it faster and easier to create and update story content in Alexa apps. The Sims is already using it to provide choose your own adventure stories via Alexa. The announcement also shows that Amazon is not too concerned about undermining the businesses of ecosystem partners that have built similar software tools. You can learn more about the new tool and its implications in our coverage here.

Developer Voice App Activity

Voicebot’s Bret Kinsella and Voice 19 organizer Pete Erickson of Modev previewed some findings from a recent survey of over 600 voice industry professionals. One result from the study showed that nearly 82% of developers that have launched a voice app have done so on Alexa with 50% on Google Assistant. About 7% had launched on either Microsoft Cortana or Samsung Bixby. This result is fairly close to recent findings from a survey of marketer adoption of voice assistants. However, Google Assistant and Bixby are both performing better among industry professionals. Results from the full report will be published in August.

Ethics and Responsibility

Using voice technology ethically was a theme that cropped up repeatedly during the day. Nodes global head of voice Maarten Lens-FitzGerald explored why ethical standards like those made by the World Wide Web Consortium, are necessary lest Black Mirror transform from television to reality. Meanwhile, Noelle LaCharite, principal project manager for Microsoft Search, Assistant, and Intelligence, discussed it during her keynote address, as well as in a smaller break-out session. The amount of personal data we give up should worry more people, she explained. 

“Surveillance data is gold and [companies] pay any price for it,” she said. “It’s bad and should scare the pants off you.” Granted Microsoft and Apple have staked out this position while recognizing the argument fuels consumer concerns about its key rivals Google and Facebook. 

Top Tweets

#VOICE19 on Twitter told a lot of great stories about the first day of the conference. Here are just a few of our favorites as we look forward to day two of VOICE19 and anticipate some new highlights  


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