Solving Pain Points for Newcomers Could Set You Apart

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More and more, it seems that speech technology and AI go hand in hand. They’re becoming increasingly inseparable, which means that as AI and machine learning capabilities advance, the list of things speech technologies are capable of become more impressive. But in the Spring issue of the magazine, we explore some of the pain points of this rapidly developing industry.

From ethics to monetization, companies that are embracing speech and all the things AI enables are struggling to keep up. Imagine, for a moment, that you’re a digital publisher. You keep hearing how important it is to embrace the voice revolution as more people turn to Siri and Alexa for answers. Maybe you focus on making your content findable, or maybe you develop a skill for Alexa. Either way, you’re probably left wondering how you’re supposed to monetize this part of your audience (a struggle that every publisher is constantly confronting). You’ve put money into keeping up with the voice revolution, but it’s not quite paying dividends yet.

Advertising is still a big factor when it comes to monetizing content, and that will prove to be true with voice content as well. Think about your favorite podcasts and the ads you hear every time you pop in your earbuds. If you’re listening to the same podcasts as me, you’ve probably navigated your way to the Rothy’s website, looked into Blue Apron, and checked out ThirdLove. But if you’re just asking for a quick weather update from Alexa, you probably don’t want to have to suffer through a commercial first.

Meanwhile, the very thing that has made digital marketing so successful for so many brands—data—is under attack. Yes, people and governments are finally waking up to the digital data trails that people leave in their wake on the web—and they’re trying to do something about it. And the speech tech biz is going to be caught up in the consequences. Whether you’re in the business of analyzing call data, developing Alexa skills for brands, or are a voice biometrics vendor, data security—and the privacy issues that come along with dealing with real people—has to be top of mind.

These pain points will ease as the newcomers figure out how to make the technology work for them. But it won’t be smooth. The skills gap is wide, and competition for the best and brightest is fierce. Smart vendors will think beyond the AI and algorithms and find ways to solve business problems—like monetization and privacy—for potential customers. This will make you the easiest entry point for brands eager to get into the voice game, and it will put you ahead of the competition.

Theresa Cramer is the editor of Speech Technology. She can be reached at theresa.cramer@infotoday.com.

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