At the time of this post, only about 15% of US households have a smart speaker.  Since this isn’t a huge number, the question naturally arises is the voice revolution – hype or real?

The answer to this is important for all businesses, but especially local businesses because it determines how to prepare for the future.

Let’s first understand the bigger picture.  We are all – businesses and customers alike – the beneficiaries of (some would say victims of) – Artificial Intelligence, which was driven by a huge increase in data and computing power in recent years.   In simple terms, AI has enabled machines to learn – just like humans.  And that ability has enabled accurate facial recognition technologies, the ability of machines to read and interpret text, and machines that understand voice commands.

Amazon has the biggest share of the smart speaker market, with Google’s excellent assistant gaining quickly.  But it’s clear that noone has figured out the best way to market and sell products and services from this platform.  But you can bet they’re working on it, and it will likely, drastically change the way we do business.

Here are some thoughts from a recent Forbes article:

We’re also talking to our devices, using voice searches via Siri and the like. Estimates suggest that, by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches, and around 30 percent will involve no screen whatsoever. As a result, all kinds of businesses are gradually integrating their products with the likes of Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. For example, Alexa is being integrated into BMWs from 2018.

www.forbes.com

And here’s a 1 minute video of expert interviews that provides additional perspective on where we’re headed with AI and voice technologies:

 

Smart speakers are now the fastest growing tech product since the smartphone.

The global smart speaker market size is expected to reach revenues of around $19 billion by 2023, growing at an impressive CAGR of approximately 31% during 2018-2023.

The global smart speaker market is driven by the development of futurist inventions in the mainstream voice-first and complementary technologies. The introduction of Echo Dot by Amazon, Home Mini by Google, Mi AI Speaker Mini by Xiaomi, and Tmall Genie by Alibaba Group will revolutionize the global market.

www.sectorpublishingintelligence.co.uk

So How Does This Affect Your Business?

Voice and AI technologies are already changing things.  As an example, 35% of Google searches are now by voice.  So businesses are facing the challenge of optimizing their content for voice search.

It’s also clear that right now is a great time to get involved.  Amazon, in particular, has made it easier for businesses to create content that is accessible to anyone on their Alexa voice assistant platform.  We built two Skills (a Skill is Amazon’s name for the voice app), using Storyline. a platform that takes a lot of the Javascript programming out of building a skill.

One of those skills called “5 Star Business” gives tips, quotes, and ideas on creating a business with a

high Google review ranking.  Since we are experts at reputation marketing, I see this Skill as a branding booster, and a way to be one of the first to claim this space on Alexa’s Skill Ecosystem.

But it’s more than that.  We wanted to use this to build a relationship with potential clients by giving away practical, useful advice for the user.  And I believe this is key.  If you want to get started early, jump in and build skills that are useful like:

  • Solving a problem
  • Providing useful information, tips, and ideas (e.g. industry news of the day, recipes)
  • Branding information (the story of how your products and services help solve problems
  • Games and  entertainment
  • Education and training
  • Daily briefings
  • Grabbing interesting Skill titles

We built our skills to learn how the system works, to create a new branding channel, and to position ourselves to serve our clients in the future.  It’s pretty cool when you get one out there.

So jump in and build one.  The Amazon developer site and Get Storyline are two places to go to build yours.  Keep your eye on how these voice platforms evolve as marketing and sales tools. If you’ve built a Skill, you’ll be in good position to understand this new world and take advantage of it.

In Part II, we’ll show examples of some cool skills and how you might use them in your business.

Photo By susie2778


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