Voice at Web Summit 2016

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This past week, I had the chance to attend Web Summit in Lisbon. It’s a different show that a few of the others I’ve been to over the past few months. A combination of very old and established companies, like McKinsey, Facebook, Microsoft and the likes, and very early stage companies.

There were a few instances of voice being mentioned and there were definitely many hardware companies looking to add voice.

Sentient Technologies’s CEO, Antoine Blondeau, gave a talk about how new machine learning tools are going to make voice search and assistants much more useful, especially around shopping. Loic Lemeur interviewed Facebook’s David Marcus talked about the 33,000 developers creating 44,000 bots. AI assistants and platforms — they said that Messenger plays in both.

Hansen Robotics brought out their creepy animatronic robot again. But probably the coolest item related to voice was the speech synthesis and facial animation by BabyX.

All the home automation companies at the show were talking about integration with Alexa.

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Of the SaaS, one had setup an Alexa Skill that allowed you to ask about your sales numbers.

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While Google is just released Home, I can imagine it will be part of this next year. One of the limiting factors for voice adoption at an event like this is the lack of availability of voice devices in Europe (Echo just being shipping in Germany and UK). This won’t be the case for long.

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