Yesterday morning, B&T attended Versa Agency’s Voice sessions, where we heard about some of the biggest ideas in voice, conversational experience and AI.
Versa is Australia’s first voice experience agency who earlier this week expanded their operations into Sydney. Founder & CEO Kath Blackham was joined by Microsoft’s Dean Corcoran, Zip Co Ltd’s John Batistich, Nova’s Fayed Tohme, Amazon Alexa’s Ben Rolleston and Samsung Australia’s Mark Hodgson to share their thoughts on voice beyond the smart speaker.
Dean Corcoran from Microsoft opened the conversation.
He said: “Let’s be honest. From a consumer point of view, there is Google, Amazon and Daylight.
“The Matrix is no longer Keanu Reeve’s depiction in ’99’s blockbuster. It’s now rich media, video content, images providing the ability to create meaningful actions.
“Voice still has major expansions, but we are yet to fully capture areas such as cars, business, hospitality.
“The idea of voice is not to eradicate current technologies but to compliment them by bringing brands to life through faster quicker simpler actions.”
He gave the example of Virgin Australia and how customers are able to check-in via voice.
“One of the shining light examples is from Virgin Australia that allows the consumer to check in to a flight via voice – you can be rushing around the house doing last minute packing whilst your device does the complex stages of checking in,” he said.
He also gave other examples of how voice is evolving day to day life, including ‘Seeing AI’. ‘Seeing AI’ is an integrated app that pairs with glasses and aids the vision impaired with ‘sight’.
With the press of a button, the glasses scan what is in sight, determines what the surroundings are, and relays what the user is looking at.
Corcoran said: “For example, the app would tell me that right now, there is a group of people in a room sitting on chairs.”
The burning question of the morning, however, was about privacy and myth-busting AI’s eavesdropping abilities.
As an example, Corcoran relayed to the audience a meme he saw on Facebook.
“A wife asks her husband why he was whispering. He replied ‘Mark Zuckerberg might be listening.’ She laughed, Siri laughed, and Alexa laughed.”
Amazon Alexa’s Ben Rolleston was quick to assure the audience that Alexa is user-initiated, and not listening to our every word.