The Future is Voice Activated
For this past Father’s Day my 10-year-old daughter Ori made me an amazing breakfast: scrambled eggs, sliced cucumber, toasted bagel…I loved it. My 13-year-old daughter Sadie, however, figured out how to program Alexa to create an interactive Father’s Day message.
I was pretty blown away. The content was amazing. But more than that, I was impressed that a 13-year-old was able to program and create a personalized, interactive experience for a smart speaker.
In the US, 47.3 million adults (20% of the population) have a smart speaker. This is up from nearly zero just two years ago. As a point of comparison, it took thirteen years for TVs to gain an audience of 50 million users.
If your house is like mine, asking Alexa to play music, forecast the weather or look up information online is now pretty commonplace. I use my smart speakers to set timers, reminders and more. (Although I’m a pretty big Apple fan, in my opinion, Siri is no match for Alexa; I also have not extensively used any of the Google voice products.)
Of course, I’ve taken it to another level. I’ve enabled a number of skills, so I can:
- Control the thermostat (“Please set the thermostat to 72 degrees.”)
- Turn on or off lights (“Please turn on the bedroom lights.”)
- Water the lawn (“Please water the backyard.”)
- Play Music throughout the house on multiple speakers (“Please play Taylor Swift EVERYWHERE.”)
- Add items to my shopping list (“Please add toothpaste to my shopping list.”)
I still feel like I’ve stepped into the starship Enterprise every time I ask Alexa to turn on and off the lights with my voice. If you’re a Trekkie, try asking Alexa for “Earl Grey Tea, Hot” and see what she says about the replicator.
Smart Speakers…eCommerce & Beyond
For businesses, smart speakers represent a large market opportunity. According to Forbes, 22% of smart speaker owners already shop by voice. Another study by comScore found that smart speakers and voice technology (which was very rare two even two years ago) are fundamentally shaping the way owners choose the products they buy.
When I was at the Magento Imagine conference in April, Amazon’s Alexa team presented a how-to tech session for enabling eCommerce and payments via voice. Right now, I’m working on a first project in the space – I’ll let you know when it’s live and ready for you to test it out.
Beyond eCommerce, Alexa skills can help connect a customer to businesses. Listening hours of operation, menu specials and more. For example, you could create a game based on your products.
This is one of the next things my 13-year-old did, teach her 10-year-old sister how to program Alexa to create an interactive game. In this case, they provided a list of fruits and vegetables, and used an Alexa blueprint to create a quiz-show style game…and I have to say, it was fun.
Is Your Business Voice-Enabled?
Now, smart speakers are not perfect. Sometimes Alexa doesn’t understand what I’m asking her to do. There are privacy and security implications. Which is exactly why I don’t have it hooked up to my front door lock.
Smart speakers have also become a great way for my kids can prank each other. The other day, my 10-year-old told Alexa to start playing “Let It Go” from the Frozen movie soundtrack, mostly to annoy her older sister. (I thought that was funny and pretty clever.)
Want to voice-enable your business? Let me know. Call and talk to a member of our strategy team today at: 303-473-4400. We’d love to help.
About Jeff Finkelstein
Jeff Finkelstein is the founder of Boulder, Colorado based Customer Paradigm, an interactive marketing firm that helps clients achieve their goals through Search Engine Optimization, eCommerce, Web Design and various other marketing strategies. An expert on Internet Privacy and Web Marketing, Jeff evangelizes the customer experience and helps businesses design sequenced interactions that lead to loyal, delighted customers.