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Future Ear Daily Update 3-14-19

“Alexa IS the killer app” – Dave Isbitski

I’m a huge fan of Twitter, which I’m sure is obvious to the people who know me and follow @Oaktree_Dave on there. The reason I’m such a fan is because it’s like you get this front row seat to this marketplace of idea exchange, and if you know where to look, there’s some fascinating ideas and threads of discussion taking place. Dave Isbitski, the chief evangelist of Alexa at Amazon, had a real thought-provoking thread the other day that I wanted to highlight here.

It started here, with Techmeme claiming that across the 80,000 Alexa skills that have been developed, there’s no “killer app.”


Dave’s response:

Killer App

To which Marie Lescaille triggered this thread from Dave:


This has been a re-occurring theme among some of the brightest thinkers in the Voice First space – this idea that we’re moving away from a world that revolves around apps. Instead, Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri are aspiring to be the interface to everything. One example would be the interface to pertinent information we’re seeking.

I’ve written about this through the framework of jobs-to-be-done and how voice represents this opportunity to break down all our apps into bits and pieces, so that our smart assistants can go and piece together any combination of the “jobs” that our apps represent.

“Alexa, help me book a vacation,” which sends Alexa off to start researching every consideration that goes into that query. This includes the best times to take off work based on my work calendar, airfare, AirBnB options, where my favorite bands are touring, temperatures in each possible destination, places my friends went and enjoyed, top restaurants, etc. All of that information is currently isolated in various apps, so by breaking everything down and allowing Alexa to parse through it all and quickly weave it together into something actionable is really compelling.

That’s just the informational aspect to the potential of voice. Consider what Dave said around communication between businesses and their customers. “A real conversation, with their customers, every day, in the moment.” Smart speakers and voice assistants aren’t just marketing tools. This is all something entirely different and way more profound and while it might be fair to say that there’s not really a “killer application” with smart assistants yet, it misses the point that the assistant itself will ultimately be the killer application. An application that’s actually an interface for us to interact with the internet, businesses, and each other.

-Thanks for Reading-


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