There have been some huge advances and shake ups in voice over the past three months.
This evening, we held our second meet up of the Toronto chapter of the Ubiquitous Voice Society and the topic was new opportunities in voice for developers, hackers, and makers. The event was generously hosted by Connected Lab, a company that works on cool custom projects (and is growing).
The time has never been riper to start developing voice interaction. Over the next year, this revolution will be similar to the apps revolution spurred by the iPhone. Developers can now develop for Alexa Skills, create Bots, integrate new services into hardware devices — more easily than they ever could before.
Here are the highlights:
New types of devices
There have been many releases of new voice interactive devices. These include devices that are now shipping with Alexa Voice Services. Nucleus and Triby are amongst these. CoWatch, DTS, and several other speaker makers announced that they were releasing new products with AVS enabled. Even big players like LG announced integration with AVS. Among these new devices is Alexa access through our Lexa App (shameless plug).
Apple EarPods offer a new way to interact with Siri. Sony’s Xperia Assistant is also a new headset
There have been a slew of home automation devices that can now be controlled through voice, as well as new services. The number of Alexa Skills has nearly tripled from just over 1,000 in June to now over 3,000. The number of bots on Facebook is now well over 11,000. Amazon is making a concerted effort to attract major brands and has started to advertise different skills.
The price of an Echo Dot has come down to $41 if you but a 12-pack. You can also get access to Alexa for free through browser (Echosim) or Android (again, shameless plug of Lexa).
Acquisitions and investments
Amazon, Google, and Apple have both acquired and invested in many companies. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on NLU acquisitions or investments from Alexa Fund / Google Ventures.
The next three months….
Some predictions between now and the end of the 2016:
- We may see over 6,000 Alexa Skills by the end of the year
- Google Home will come out
- There will be a Black Friday sale for a voice device that could go as low as $30
- There will likely be some new APIs around voice that will be major disrupters
We’ll be announcing tomorrow morning a contest. More to come.