A layperson’s exploration of all things voice

July 28, 2021

Ethical Conversation Design

Hat tip to Ahmed Bouzid and his wonderful “Lingofest” event. Here is a presentation by Supriya Kulkarni in which she explains a human-centered approach to addressing the ethical concerns raised by the adoption of Voice First assistants. Supriya introduces “The Ethical Conversation Design Toolkit” — a guidance tool that helps teams in the Voice First industry navigate their ethical design journey.

July 21, 2021

The ABCs of Explainable VUI Design

Hat tip to Ahmed Bouzid and his wonderful “Lingofest” event. Here is a presentation by Dr. Maria Aretoulaki in which she explains the Why, What and How of Explainable VUI Design and shows with specific examples how to use Linguistic knowledge and Speech Recognition limitations to design effective and affable voice and conversational interfaces.

May 25, 2021

Analyzing Customer Interactions to Glean Customer Preferences

Here’s a teaser from the “Rain” agency about their weekly note:

Millions of calls are answered in call centers per day, generating conversations rife with insights into customer behaviors and preferences. This week, we take a look into how companies are analyzing conversations to enhance the customer experience. Voice technology companies like Observe.AI and CallMiner are deploying tools that analyze the interactions (including sentiment and even silences) between customers and call center representatives, providing recommendations on how these employees can improve their service.

With information on what a customer is searching for, brands like Spotify and Amazon are hoping to personalize content in real time — setting the stage for how conversation analysis might be used in phone calls, voice experiences, and more to elevate marketing.

May 11, 2021

Google Assistant Helps Completes Your Tasks

Here’s a note from the “Rain” agency:

In the last few months, Google has rolled out several features to position Google Assistant as your go-to for quickly completing tasks on mobile devices. Memory, which is in testing with employees, allows Android users to use voice commands to save anything from pictures and links to screenshots and reminders. April’s Assistant updates let users find their phones with their Nest speaker or smart displays, as well as automatically fill out payment information on the Google Android app for food pickup. Up until now, most of these voice experiences require users to invoke the wake word “Hey Google.”

But this week, the company has been testing a new feature where mobile users can manage alarms and timers without using a wake word — functionality that Google smart display owners have already been enjoying. By eliminating the traditional wake word in these instances, tech companies do open the door to questions about just how many phrases their assistants are passively listening for, and under what circumstances.

May 5, 2021

Custom Voice On the Rise With Spotify’s New Assistant

Here’s the news from the “RAIN” agency:

With the momentum behind hands-free music streaming on smart speakers, brands like Pandora and Spotify are elevating their voice strategies through custom assistants tailored to their apps and users. Voice Mode, Pandora’s mobile voice assistant capability, was introduced in 2019 for listeners to control their music with commands.

Now this week, Spotify is officially rolling out its voice assistant within its app, along with developing a voice-activated hardware device for the car. As these two platforms’ assistants evolve, not only are advanced music platform interaction and recommendations made possible, but advertising and emotional sentiment capabilities are on the horizon. As a result, we see voice tech becoming more than just a tool to choose your favorite song with a simple command, but a way to enable personalized experiences, changing the way people use streaming services.

April 28, 2021

Alexa Enables Song Sharing: Social Functionality!

This voicebot.ai article talks about something awesome! Leveraging Alexa as a social tool to connect with family & friends by sharing songs. Wild.

Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Alexa users listening to a song on an Echo smart speaker or their smartphone can ask the voice assistant to share the music with any contact who owns an Echo or has the Alexa mobile app. The recipient will get a notification, and Alexa will ask if they want to hear the song and what device they want to play the song on and allowing them to send a reaction back to the sender.

The music will play on the recipient’s default music streaming service if the song is available there, or use another streaming service if not. Alexa can tap an enormous playlist across Amazon Music, Apple Music, iheartradio, TuneIn, and Radio.com, but in case none of those have the song being shared, Alexa will offer to play a music station that might be relevant to the song title or artist.