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Amazon Skill Vs. Google Action: Which Voice App is Best for Your Company?

Are you considering building a voice app for your customers in 2019? To put Voice in perspective, the first three years of Amazon Echo and Google Home sales have outpaced Apple iPhone sales in their first three years. The next wave of consumer connection is by speaking to a virtual assistant named Alexa or Google.  So what makes the two different? Here are some important factors to consider:

 

Adoption:

Currently, 1 in 4 homes in the United States already have a smart speaker….as of this writing, there have been 50 million devices sold, and climbing rapidly. Businesses are racing to connect to this new consumer  engagement model by developing applications for their brand. There are currently 50,000 Voice Apps available to consumers today. Another important factor to note, especially for brands considering a Voice App, is that international language support for Google is currently at 30 languages, where Amazon’s Alexa currently supports only 6 languages.

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Market Share:

Amazon Alexa enabled devices are estimated to represent roughly 62% of the voice market. Google Assistant is at 27% of the voice market. Clearly, the current landscape is heavily saturated with Alexa powered devices, but this is largely due to first mover status. Google’s ability for a user to trigger the same voice command on their mobile device as well as their Smart Speaker could end up being a winning strategy for brands.

Voice App Development:

Your voice app can integrate seamlessly to your company’s existing technology–whether it’s a mobile app or web platform. For example, asking Alexa to “place an order” on your voice app can post directly to your existing e-commerce platform, keeping all inventory in sync. This integration might be the biggest part of the development scope when considering a voice app.

If you are connecting your voice app to an existing application, the overall speed to develop increases with Google. This is driven by Google’s decision to let developers like T R I M define multiple webhooks while the Alexa platform sends all requests to a single webhook. The Google SDK also works on external web servers, where Alexa’s platform would require creation of additional response objects instead of using the SDK. These are the two main factors associated with speed and cost to develop.

Conversely, simple Alexa Skills that do not need to connect to other applications can be built faster on the Amazon platform. Amazon has provided a turn key environment in AWS Lambda, and it’s clear that this was a decision to get the first wave of developers to build apps quickly.

Lastly, Google Actions go well beyond the smart speaker. When you build a voice app with the Google SDK, your voice app will be available to over 500 million devices that run on Android. This is a compelling consideration as it relates to how you define your touchpoint with your customers.

 

Building Voice Apps with T R I M

T R I M supports you throughout the development process, from Design, to Build, to Testing and Publishing. Our team has consulted small businesses to multi-billion dollar organizations, and we can even work directly with your existing technology team…on-site or from our studio.

Custom Conversations. Our product design team understands the potent nuance of conversational user interfaces (VUI / VUX)—we’ll help design the right conversation with your user that is both on brand and frictionless.

Don’t sweat the approval process. We’re comfortable with the submission and approval process for both Google and Amazon, and that is an integral part of working with us.

Seamless. We can integrate into your existing application–whether that is by working alongside your team, or taking the lead. Our experienced team is entirely in house; We do not contract out any work, and we do not work with offshore or nearshore developers.

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Is your company ready for a Voice App? Let’s Talk:

Which platform are you interested in?

We’re Hiring: Content Marketer

We are looking to hire a Content Marketer to tell our story to the world. 

The ideal Content Marketer will be a self-starter who is comfortable moving fast, and unafraid to try new content strategies and tactics to growth hack our outreach efforts. They can uncover and convey a story line through blogs in short and long format, will produce winning content for our Social Channels, and has a genuine enthusiasm for tech startups and community building.

TRIM is an agile Startup Studio. Most of our clients are in their first few years (or months!) of operation, so you’ll be challenged to execute in various cycles of business (validate, build, or grow). Our culture is fostered through instituting the importance of the 8 TLC’s (Exercise, Diet, Nature, Service, Relationships, Recreation, Relaxation / Stress Management, and Spiritual Health). We are also the creators of General Provision, the “Coolest Office in South Florida” as named by South Florida Business Journal, and home to Broward’s first coding bootcamp. You can find us in FATvillage, Fort Lauderdale, but our clients and their communities are all over the country.

 

Here are some things you might do:

  • Create branded content of all kinds, including social media, blogs, landing pages, and email campaigns primarily for T R I M and General Provision Coworking, but might cross-over to other Portfolio companies. 
  • Build creative for marketing campaigns in Facebook, Instagram, and the other channels.
  • Act as our in-house journalist and media team.
  • Promote the content you create far and wide, by identifying and engaging with key influencers and  partners, both online and offline. 
  • Establish and maintain a consistent brand, voice, and messaging strategy across all channels.
  • Monitor digital trends to stay up-to-date on how to develop our media capabilities and new ways to optimize our marketing decisions.

Requirements:

  • 2-3 years experience in creating digital content: Writing skills are a must, graphics, photo, and video production are an awesome bonus. 
  • Deep passion and knowledge of digital media management as it supports a company’s growth and business impact.
  • Excellent writing and grammar skills and the ability to adjust the voice and tone of your content to the appropriate audience
  • Attention to detail for efficient and effective communication, externally and internally
  • An entrepreneurial attitude where no job is too small and no task too daunting.
  • We are a startup that builds startups; high energy and a positive outlook fit our culture best.

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Evernote to Blog Post

Today I learned how to publish our TIL posts directly to our blog, straight from my favorite text tool, Evernote .

We are simply making the connection with one of our go-to’s, Zapier . The concern with this integration is that our zap is searching for new notes every 15 minutes, so you would need to be aware of this as it relates to how you draft your content. For example, if you create a new post, and need to go back and edit this note beyond a 15 minute time frame, you run the risk of posting a partial blog post (depending on your Evernote sync settings). Therefore, we still have some tweaking to do to establish versioning workflow. For the time being, I will likely draft in my main notebook, and dump in my TIL notebook when ready to ship. Future versions will also need to handle images, as these are not included on my zap yet.

Additionally, we will need to handle code better in the future. Evernote has released a beta feature of a “Code Block,” which has to be manually be turned on in order to use, however, the zap is not pulling this in to the blog post. You can access it in the preferences: http://take.ms/6e0up

Overall, this is massively helpful in meeting our goal of using TIL as a repo, not a marketing tool.

Here is a random code snippet:

<div class="ipsType_normal ipsType_richText ipsContained" data-role="commentContent" data-controller="core.front.core.lightboxedImages">
<div class="ipsQuote_citation ipsQuote_open">  <a href="#" data-action="toggleQuote"> </a>     <i class="fa fa-share"></i>    On 2/19/2016 at 10:16 AM,   <a href="//discussion.evernote.com/?app=core&amp;module=members&amp;controller=profile&amp;id=102218" data-ipshover="" data-ipshover-target="//discussion.evernote.com/?app=core&amp;module=members&amp;controller=profile&amp;id=102218&amp;do=hovercard">bootislands</a> said:</div></blockquote>
</div>

The Power of 3 [micro team edition]

Today I learned that we need to keep doing something that we have found really works: At Trim, we believe that a lean, cross-functional team of three can build a product. To us, that team of three is made up of one product design lead, one product development lead, and one product strategist. We call this a micro team, and each team member’s role is required.

We have [all] seen how greatly velocity can be impacted when teams invest too much human capital on a project. It is business law that your output does not grow at the same multiplier of “personnel” on a project. At some point, often said to be over 6 people on any team, you begin to see clear diminishing return as more and more team members contribute to one single business unit. On any given sprint, we will augment a team with more resources only if necessary, as we try to keep our efficiency as high as possible.

Our formula is to hire consultants that embody the skill and the empathy to make decisions in their domain and align with the value and core mission of the product owner’s feature set. Our developers need to flag designs that will double the scope versus an alternative solution, our designers need to flag a work-flow that strategy has over-complicated, and we all need to be able to assemble as often as needed to align with those pivots.

What is Demo Day? What is a blocker?

Today I learned that we need to establish some critical structure, largely that we hope is going to come with the addition of a dedicated scrum master at Team Trim. As we all grow to becoming ‘agilelists,’ we have identified the need to define two critical functions of our sprint activity:

1. We need a Demo Day structure so that each of our team members and micro teams are covering the same material, tooling, nomenclature, and process with our product owners.

2. We need to continually define and celebrate “the blocker.” The blocker is not a bad word, and we aim to grown comfortable with identifying problems that other team members can solve. We fully understand that sometimes, there is someone on the team that is blocking another team member, but this is what we hope to grow comfortable in talking through.