VoiceReallyMatters.com

A layperson’s exploration of all things voice

September 22, 2020

Apartments Powered Entirely by Amazon

Here’s the intro from this TechCrunch article:

Amazon wants to bring Alexa to property managers. The company this morning launched a new service, Alexa for Residential, that aims to make it easier for property managers to set up and maintain Alexa-powered smart home experiences in their buildings, like condos or apartment complexes. At launch, IOTAS, STRATIS and Sentient Property Services will be among the first smart home integrators to use the Alexa for Residential service.

The idea is to make Alexa a tool for smart home management, even for those without their own Amazon account. The way the service works, new residents won’t have to purchase their own device or set anything up to get started. Instead, they can just speak to Alexa to control the various smart home features available at their residence and use basic Alexa features. like timers, alarms or getting information like news and weather.

Property managers can choose to create custom Alexa skills for each unit, allowing the residents to submit maintenance requests, make amenity reservations or even pay their rent via Alexa.

September 16, 2020

Smart Hotels, Smart Rentals, Smart You Name It…

Here’s a note from the “Rain” agency:

The more smart speakers, the merrier. Smart assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have become staples in our homes and apartments, individually bought by customers. However, as the adoption of voice technology accelerates, companies are looking to scale the presence of voice assistants to make them everyday necessities anywhere we go. Google and Volara’s new partnership is embedding Google Nest Hubs into hotel rooms, and Alexa for Hospitality is also placing smart speakers in chain hotels and vacation rentals. Meanwhile, Alexa for Business is upgrading the workplace to be more advanced and productive. These initiatives seek to boost the presence of these assistants on a larger scale, moving beyond smart homes to smart hotels, offices, apartment units, and more.

August 12, 2020

A Synthetic Voice That Feels More “Human”

This “voicebot.ai” article is fascinating. It talks about a new synthetic voice called ‘Cerence Reader’ that is based on neural text-to-speech (TTS) and designed to read news to commuters.

This synthetic voice is unlike others – it has pausing, breathing and inflection – so it seem more humanlike than other synthetically generated voices.The article notes a preference for human voices becomes more intense when the passages of content are longer. So this could be a big development as noted in the article with this thought: “Having a synthetic speech option that sounds more humanlike opens up audio access to far more content than is available today and it can be available in real-time.”

July 29, 2020

How Artificial Intelligence Can Boost Marketing Efforts

This Forbes article is about artificial intelligence, not voice – but I found it compelling. And a little bit scary. Anytime I read about how you can so easily manipulate the content in videos – the “deep fake” – it frightens me. Although I guess that should be the least of my worries these days. Here’s the ending from the piece:

These examples show that artificial intelligence, when used creatively, can do more than the grunt work. It is a way to build relationships with customers on a personal level while at the same time scaling at large in a cost-effective way. It’s important to go beyond equating AI to only chatbots and have conversations around how AI can actually work in service of brands and, in turn, be used to better their customer’s experience.

We should continue to have meaningful discussions around deepfakes and setting up safeguards and ethics around synthetic media. But, we must also move the conversation beyond just focusing on that element of synthetic media. It’s also time for brands and businesses to better understand the broader trends that are on the horizon, so they are prepared for the future of marketing to come.

July 22, 2020

Going Into the Office? Use Voice to Avoid Touching Surfaces

Hat tip to the “Rain” agency for pointing me to this article that describes how employees heading back into the office can touch as few services as possible. Here’s the intro to that article:

Logitech Solutions for Zoom Rooms will integrate with Alexa for Business as a move to make meeting rooms contactless. Alexa for Business is a service that enables businesses to schedule meetings, reserve rooms and start video calls easily. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a need to reduce the need to touch conference room surfaces as employees head back to the office in hybrid remote work arrangements.