Saturday, February 16, 2019

Takeaways from the 2019 Alexa Conference, Chattanooga, TN January 15-17

Most older adults need help and support in setting up Alexa and managing skills-an observation borne out in my aging tech classes here in Tampa Bay.

Alexa may have 20,000 skills, but we have yet to see a "killer app." And, most people abandon their skills after a very short time.

Voice biomarkers will likely be used to detect dementia or stroke -  probing information buried in human voice.  Check out Sonde Health's focus on biomarkers.

HIPAA Discussions: Law passed in 1996 and no updates since then. Amazon's Alexa was launched in 2014 and Google Assistant in 2016. No adoption to emerging technologies. Few, if any players are willing to defy HIPAA. Projections that Amazon and Google will be HIPAA compliant by the end of 2019.

Voice wars among the Big 5 (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon). Prediction that no start-up will come to dominate the market.

Front Porch has made major research contributions to the post acute care community. They have done studies of voice, telehealth, hearing loss and video games.

How about a voice activated smart car that would monitor your vital signs and direct you to the nearest hospital in the event of a significantly abnormal finding?

Orbita, the Boston based voice platform, likens itself to a "word press" for healthcare - software used to create website, blog, or app/skill.

Vision offered by Teri Fisher? Sick bay in the home. No MD intervention. Voice first serving as a triage nurse. Daily reminders for aging in place. Ordering scripts via Alexa, and delivery to the home by drone.

Melissa Campbell talk on "Why Parents Should be Wary of Echo Dot Kids" was a remarkable counterpoint to general upbeat nature of the conference. Here  are some of her comments. Anyway you slice it it, Alexa is a market device. Great for data collection and revenues, but not for kids. Not made for kids, but made to appeal to kids. It's all for Amazon. (See New York Times' article on Co-Parenting with Alexa)

Keynote address by Kesha Willaims, Software Engineering Manager, Chick-fil-A Corporate, was awesome-one of the best speeches I have ever heard!

With voice, the user controls the technology. Before, had to access technology by typing, touch, or coding. First time tech is adjusting to us!! (Brad Metrock, Conference Organizer)

Health Care entities will be the biggest users of Voice. 

Will take 5 years for Voice to mainstream, then Voice will be everywhere/pervasive

Geico and Progressive (Flo) should have synthetic voices specific to their brand-they don’t now

All in all, a remarkable experience! I am already booked for Alexa 2020!

1 comment:

Laura Thyberg said...

Really enjoyed reading through the details of your Alexa conference experience. Sounded like there was a wealth of high-caliber content and extraordinary presenters. To read that Kesha Williams' speech was one of the best you've ever heard is really saying something; she must've been phenomenal!