Notes from Voice Summit 2019

I spent some of this past week at the massive Voice Summit 2019.  Thousands attended to learn and share their experience in the Voice space.  Attendees and speakers were all from a broad set of backgrounds. A lot of the Summit’s speakers and workshops were given by the companies that provide smart speakers and digital Assistants, like Amazon with Alexa and Google.  In addition to helping to market the event, Amazon Alexa staffed a lot of Workshops and Breakout sessions, most of which were aimed at helping developers hone their skills in the voice space. Never used AWS services to boost your skills feature set? They held sessions to walk attendees through exactly what to do.  Samsung's Bixby and Microsoft’s Cortana also made appearances at the summit, by also hosting workshops and announcing new feature releases on the big stage.

It appears that the major Voice Platforms are going about their devices differently. However, one big takeaway from the event is the area that all the platforms seem to agree on. These devices require serious computing services.  Between storage, compute power, scalability, etc. the main platforms agree, you need a strong back-end to make a powerful voice application. Amazon, through their AWS services, Google through its “Cloud Computing” and Microsoft through Azure, all offer options to support an amazing voice experience.  It became a major theme of the Summit. Voice is able to work because of a culmination of technology. Great 4G or WiFi allows the voice devices to communicate with servers in the cloud to quickly give the user helpful information. It is the expertise of all these things that make the most compelling voice applications. This was one side of the conference, the other was all about making great dialog.

The consensus seemed to be, in order to make a compelling voice application, you need great computing, and you need great dialog. Voice applications are easy enough to make and implement; they are hard to make helpful and sticky.  On Alexa alone, a massive amount (over 90%) of skills are used once by a user, and they never return. The emphasis was put on the computing, you need useful information and tasks for a compelling skill, but more than that, you need to get the user in a compelling way.  The voice interaction needs to be quick and to the point.

Alexa and other devices allow for you to change the native assistant’s voice and replace it with actual human voice overs. The number of voice actors at the Summit was quite astonishing.  I counted at least 5 sessions that were focused on voice acting for the voice assistant age. Speakers talked about how the use of human voice differentiated their voice application and made it feel more natural.  

Many other speakers talked about how they use context to help speed up their voice experiences.  By remembering users, skills can quickly repeat actions without re-entering data. Every time I check the weather, I shouldn’t need to tell Alexa where I am.  Voice applications, that take advantage of this have succeeded. Voice applications even allow for third party integration. Want to know the balance of your bank account? Use your username and password once, then get the answer quickly every time you ask.  Similar to other Applications driven by User Experience, voice applications that are able to reduce customer friction have found the most success to date. Just because its called Conversational UI doesn’t mean you have to architect a half hour gab session just to get some basic information from your device.  Interactions designed for efficiency are getting the most utilization.

Find out more about how Voice could help you by reaching out to our team Alexa Subject Matter Experts, VUI designers and Developers:

https://www.bluefintechnologypartners.com/voice-interface-development

6 Favs for our 6th Birthday

6 Favs for our 6th Birthday

Today, July 15th, 2019 Bluefin has officially turned 6 years old. If the next 6 are going to be anything like the first 6, it will be another emotional and glorious endeavor — No doubt about it. In honor of this little fish aging before our eyes, we thought we’d recap some of our 6 Favs @ Bluefin. Some work, some play, some in combo, none in any particular order.

Cloud Safety, First!

You probably don’t realize it, but you use the cloud almost daily. From sending emails to streaming movies, you are using the cloud when you use those services.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is defined as: “the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user.”

There are a few types of cloud computer: public, private, and hybrid.

  • A public cloud means they are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider.

  • A private cloud is a physical cloud that can be located on the company’s on-site datacenter in which resources are used solely by a single business or organization.

  • Now, a hybrid cloud combines both a private and public cloud. This means that data and applications can be shared between them.

Additionally, they can also be broken down into 3 types of services:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): The most commonly used. Examples include Dropbox or Google Drive.

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Developers use this service more often. This is to host an application.

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This is where users subscribe and access software over the internet through a provider’s APIs. Examples include Amazon Web Service (AWS) and vCloud.

The cloud is something that people used to fear, but now it is used daily. It was even estimated that about 50% of business around the world will adopt at least one cloud service by the end of last year. We upload business files, emails, photos, and other important information in the cloud.

Why is the Cloud Beneficial?

How does cloud computing help your business? Here are a few ways the cloud can build business value:

  • Cost reduction

  • Risk reduction

  • Flexibility

  • Efficiency

  • Strategic value

  • Improved mobility

The impact the cloud has on business is enormous and significant. A study from the market research company, Vanson Bourne, wrote a report - The Business Impact of the Cloud. They summarized drivers of cloud adoption and even recommendations for improvement.

In their research they found:

  • Companies that have adopted the cloud have found that more than 26% of improvement in their time to market.

  • The cloud has helped about a 16% reduction in operational costs.

  • Over 19% of companies have seen an increase in company growth due to their adoption of the cloud.

  • The cloud reduces about 16% of IT maintenance costs.

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Source: Vanson Bourne

However, we all must be careful and protect ourselves and our business when we use the cloud. That is where cyber security becomes vital.


Cyber Security

Now, let’s talk about security. According to the Cloud Security Alliance, about 73% of companies confirm that the security of data is the top concern in cloud projects. Cyber security is one of the most important trends in technology now. Huge cyber attacks, like the ones that have hit Target and Yahoo, have caused much panic and have exposed millions of people.

How Can We Protect Ourselves in the Cloud?

Here are a few tips about keeping yourself safe in the cloud.

  • Read through the contracts and license and service agreements for your cloud service. Make sure you know the legal and regulatory requirements for protecting data.

  • Protect your machine by installing anti-virus/malware and anti-spyware software. Your data should always be encrypted with sensitive information.

  • Data encryption is important.

  • Firewalls

  • Having strong passwords and two-factor authentication

Keeping You Safe

At Bluefin, we know the importance of keeping you safe on the cloud. Is your company looking to launch to the cloud? We’re here to help and keep you safe! Give us a call now and let’s get you set up on the cloud.

Redesigning Shady Tree Landscaping

Redesigning Shady Tree Landscaping

The Bluefin team worked with Shady Tree Landscaping, a top New England landscaping service business with over 30 years of experience. With a need to update their outdated website, Shady Tree called the Bluefin team to help them redesign their website and optimize their marketing strategies with SEO and blogging content. Bluefin redesigned their website while updating their content, making the website tablet and mobile friendly, and improving their SEO and Google Analytics.

Wait, What... its Y.O.T.E.

Year of the Ear


We are really excited to announce that Bluefin has partnered with Cecilia.FM to offer an in-depth workshop on the magic and mystic of what’s going on in the soundscape of Smart Speakers, Podcasts, and custom branded playlists and content.

The workshop, led by Cecilia’s Susan Stone, provides meaningful insights and bare truths about how audio and strategies to penetrate the headphones of consumers are so tightly integrated to pop-culture and influencing buyers. If you’ve debated the value of building an Alexa Skill, Podcasting, or curating audio content for branding purposes — you need to book a slot or attend one of the national events (dates coming soon).

Having worked closely with Susan and Rob at Cecilia on a number of projects including the launch of Johnson & Johnson’s Aveeno - Me Timer on Alexa - their experience and deep understanding of how to scale your brand through sound is game-changing. Their influence on our own sound strategies at Bluefin has helped us drive new innovation and create unique experiences for our customers.

If you haven’t yet, take a review of the Y.O.T.E Website - if you have questions or interested in a custom workshop - ring us up. We’re here to listen.

Cheers-


Jay

The Radius App

What can a mobile Application for ophthalmologists do?

The Bluefin team recently teamed up with Radius by Turf Health, LLC to develop a robust mobile application for ophthalmologists. Through an Agile development process, we delivered a mobile application that helps manage the relationships with and around ophthalmologists.

Learn more about our process below!


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The Client: Radius by Turf Health, LLC

Turf Health, LLC is changing how ophthalmologists connect and collaborate with referring doctors.

Radius by Turf Health, LLC is the first and only software program built specifically for the referral outreach function of the ophthalmology practice.  This is powerful software to fuel your growth and build deeper relationships


The Opportunity

The Turf Health team has an existing web application for their sales team to help manage the relationships with and around ophthalmologists. Since teams mainly work out in the field, accessing and capturing critical relationship and sales process information in real time was paramount to their day to day activity.   

The existing Radius web application did not provide an optimal experience on mobile devices and curbed the efficiency of their staff when developing and extending the business relationships in the field.


The Process

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The project spanned a rapid-four month discover, design, develop, and deploy process.

The scope of activities included but were not limited to:

  • Existing application tear down

  • UI/UX mobile design refactoring

  • Service layer design and definition

  • Application prototyping

  • Production code development

  • Unit and integration test scripting

  • Release Management planning and execution

  • Alpha/Beta Testing

  • App Store Preparation and Deployment

  • Post-launch support


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The Results

The Bluefin team was able to work closely with Turf Radius to align quickly on the scope and goals of the project.  Leveraging an Agile development, build, and demo cadence the team lead the Radius product through an evolutionary transition from lo-fi mockups to a first-submission approval in the Apple App Store.


Want THE FULL CASE STUDY? Fill out your email below and we’ll send it to you!


Need a mobile app to launch your business to the next level? The Bluefin team is here to help! Give us a call or send us an email. We’re ready to digitally transform your business.

Let's Catch Up

Hey friends!

We can hardly believe we’re already in March! We’re celebrating our 6th year in business this year. A lot has changed throughout the years, but we’re still your favorite, creative disruptors and technology innovators from the Woo.

We take pride in helping so many companies throughout the years bring their businesses to the new age of technology. We recently redesigned our website and want you to take a look. Give it a look around and let us know what you think.

While I have you… does your business need a new way to integrate technology into your products or possibly bring your customers into the new Voice age? Looking for a brand a website refresh? Perhaps a cloud integration to more efficiently optimize your business? This is just some of what we’ve been helping companies achieve in the last year.  

From connected products to Voice Skills, we are here for you.  We are just getting started on an exciting year ahead of us. Let’s catch up soon and let us know what you are up to. Give us a call or send us a message. We’re always here to help.

Happy Spring!

- Jay

The 5 Alexa Skill Types Video

The 5 Alexa Skill Types

According to Voicebot, there are over 66.5M users in the US with smart speakers. In this video, we discuss different options and which strategy is right for your business to reach them.

Our Technical Project Manager, Conor, identified the 5 major Alexa Skill types in this video. Check it out below.

We’re happy to match, create, and customize an Alexa Skill for you. For a free demo, contact us for more information.

Cheers!

The Voice Age Realtor

Transforming Real Estate with Technology

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The real estate industry is the largest commodity in the world at an estimation of $217 trillion in valuation. Technology, such as voice products and AI, are growing rapidly and affecting many markets. Because of these new technologies, about 10’s of millions of dollars have been raised to speed up the process of getting feedback from tenants.

Further, realtors are using big data to solve client needs by finding trends and associations.

Current examples include mobile home-search apps based on buyer preferences. Now, AI can personalize customer interactions to aggregate data and figure out the clients’ needs and preferences. Virtual reality could also allow potential buyers to view the house virtually and customize a house virtually.

Well-known real estate companies, such as Zillow, Truilia, and Realtor, have created proprietary formulas to assist customers. For example, Zillow has a tool called Zestimate.This home valuation tool estimates the market value of a home using a computerized proprietary formula.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI will aggregate the data from customer interactions and tailor messaging based on successful interactions with similar past clients. Many now have chatbots on websites, which can be implemented as a voice feature.

Moreover, AI can create CRM systems, manage property management systems by monitoring vital metrics to predict when maintenance errors may occur. In addition, AI monitors geographic areas for property price fluctuations and other trends.

Voice Technology

Now with innovative voice technology, it is time for the real estate industry to start to adopt these new technological advances. Voice products can help realtors in a number of areas - from generating new prospects to setting home showings. Below are just a few features and questions prospects can use when they start their home-buying search.

Types of features for a real estate skill:

  • Search for houses in your area

  • Connect with local real estate agents

  • Hear daily home listings

  • Review weekly real estate market information

  • Track valuation of a home

  • Email results of your searches

Questions to ask:

  • How much is my home worth?

  • How many homes have sold in my ZIP code?

  • Where do I find an agent in my city?

  • Who are my local realtors?

The Future of Voice Technology in Real Estate

Right now, voice assistants are following up through text messages and emails. Soon, they will be able to follow-up with leads over the phone and through smart speakers.

Your prospects will soon be using virtual assistants primarily to find a home or an agent. It is important to make sure you’re business is connected to these voice searches or you’ll miss the opportunity.

Are you ready to bring your agency to the voice age? Close your next deal with the help of a voice product. Contact us now for a free demo!