New Enterprise Voice App Creation Platform Vobo.ai Joins Competition
Voice AI startup Vobo.ai released its new enterprise voice app creation platform this week. The company debuted its eponymous product at the VOICE 19 conference in Newark.
Vobo.ai’s platform is designed to help businesses build their own responsive voice apps for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled devices. Companies looking to continue to extend their digital presence beyond web and mobile and into voice can use the platform to design the different ways they want to connect with people by voice.
Businesses can build podcasts, audio or video flash briefings, or a technical support voice app using the templates offered by Vobo on the platform. Some of the templates are also specifically tailored to certain kinds of businesses, including schools and hospitals. The enterprise templates arose based on the kinds of project requests the company was fielding.
“We’d been building Alexa skills for a long time, and been end-to-end with our clients,” Vobo CEO Kishore Balakrishna told Voicebot in an interview. “We were getting a lot of requests to build skills, podcasts, and others. With some variation, they all wanted the same thing, so we thought, why not build a platform for them?”
Companies interested in making voice assistant skills were slowed by the time it took for technical teams to create a new skill from the ground up. Vobo, therefore, focused on making their platform usable with minimal technical knowledge. This can rapidly speed up the creation of a voice app, although certification and approval from Google and Amazon can still take a week to obtain.
“This is for non-technical clients,” Balakrishna explained. “They may already have podcasts on SoundCloud and other places, they just need to be able to enable it to Alexa and Google. Then they if they want to schedule it, if they want the audio to come out next, for instance, we’ve made the template as a drag-and-drop so it’s simple and easy to set up.”
Vobo isn’t unique in offering a template system for voice apps. Amazon and Google both have template systems. Google released its first version back in 2017 and has included several updates since, including one for YouTube specifically. Amazon, meanwhile, first pushed its Alexa templates, which it refers to as Blueprints, in 2018, and has similarly been expanding and refining the capabilities for specific organizations and purposes. Amazon also announced a new visual Alexa skill design and development tool called Skill Flow Builder yesterday at the Voice 19 conference. That solution is limited to game development today but could be expanded to other use cases over time offering direct competition to software providers such as Vobo AI.
Many third-party developers have also worked to make templates and visual design tools to ease the development of voice skills. Voicify has raised nearly $3 million on the promise its platform makes enterprise voice skill development more straightforward. But, that doesn’t mean the market is closed. The market is growing quickly and enterprise adoption is nascent. There will be plenty of competition to be the platform used by companies as they explore adding voice skills to their services, and with their ability to work across platforms, it won’t just be Amazon, Google, and Apple getting a slice of the work.