Getting to the Alexa Conference

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I was really lucky to be part of the Alexa Conference two weeks ago in Chattanooga. I sat on a panel with others working in voice to discuss privacy in ambient voice-first devices. The event had some great speakers and it was fantastic to get perspective on building skills, developing voice applications, and some of the tools that people are using to test out voice interactions.

Getting there was harrowing and revealed some weaknesses in our transportation systems (especially when flying through Atlanta):

  • Road conditions in Atlanta after a snowfall left the airport short staffed
  • Flights were delayed and delayed and then cancelled
  • Rental car companies confirmed rentals without inventory
  • Uber took two attempts to get a middle-of-the-night two hour ride
  • Being forced to check a carry on meant picking it up on my travel back

Some positives:

  • People made the difference. Delta staff took it in stride.
  • Text messages were plentiful from the airlines
  • The conference was well worth the difficulty in getting there!

Fortunately, voice technologies aren’t as burdened by physical infrastructure so we’re likely see improvements happen much faster than with travel.

Thanks Bradley and team for putting on a very interesting program.

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