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“I’m running late. I’ll be there in 20 minutes” barked out of the speaker in my kitchen. My daughter’s babysitter was stunned and didn’t know how to respond. She responded to the speaker “uh… OK”. The speaker couldn’t hear her — it was just a push notification that played out.

That was park of our experimentation around what we called UbiSPEAK — an app that could push announcements to the Ubi and have them play out. Five years on and there is no equivalent to this. Even with Echos and Homes, the ability to push notification is still limited. The most you can get from these devices with Skills is either a light chime or a yellow ring when a notification is received.

There is still a market for a push-only device. A few years ago, Ring launched a doorbell chime speaker called… Chime… and I marvelled at the possibility of adding push capabilities to it. Perhaps the market wasn’t ready for it then but now there definitely is so much more that could be done with this type of device.

Kevin Kelly advocates trying to give away ideas and only trying to execute if no one will take it on.I’m hoping someone will run with this. If not, I’ll just have to build it!

Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at

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