You can't stop people from calling you on your Amazon Echo

Posted May 13, 2017

Alexa recently made some big strides when Amazon announced the Echo Look, your personal digital stylist. 63% of heavy radio listeners say they use the Radioplayer "skill" to listen, while 53% say they use the default TuneIn interface.

AmEx card holders who enable the skill will be able to access information about their American Express Card account by saying "Alexa, open Amex".

The messages last between six and 15 seconds to "naturally lead a consumer into an experience or converse with the consumer as they exit".

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As of now, Amazon devices with the Alexa virtual assistant are only available in three countries, including the U.S. That's because varying conventions of speech, from place to place, present a unique challenge for natural language processing, as Kintan Brahmbhatt, Amazon Music's director of product, explained during the Upstream Music Fest + Summit in Seattle on Thursday.

"With 10,000 Skills, how are you going to tell if someone starts advertising?" developer Joseph Jaquinta asked TechCrunch in April. It'll set you back a mere $229.99.

Voice Labs believes that their technology and ideology are both first-of-its-kind and some brands are already on board to explore the voice-first advertising opportunities. Compare those comments to how Frankel felt immediately after scoring the Series A investment, according to Business Insider: "They've really been fantastic partners and just good people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do anything possible".

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Seen as a pioneering way to deliver brand messages, VoiceLabs' Sponsored Messages has been in the testing phase for the past few months with millions of consumer tests, yielding positive consumer feedback and brand engagement lift. The developers provided free support for their skills as they grew in popularity among users. They can choose to answer only via voice. I can say, for example, "Alexa, call Jeff Butts". Building on Amazon Alexa has been a labor of love, but essentially grew into a part-time job as my skills became popular.

Further, the official blog post also goes on to mention that the Sponsored Messages is opt-in for the developers. You'll hear a ringing sound, or feel a vibration from your iPhone.

CEO and co-founder of Nucleus, Jonathan Franke, includes Amazon's Alexa voice assistant in its system intercom that costs $249. Its guidelines state that adverts can only be placed in music/radio streaming or flash briefing skills, along with a barrier on conversations with it. If this works out, maybe Amazon will acquire it and integrate it into the platform itself. Thus, the scope of Voice Labs' platform could be restricted even though it is surely an upgrade over being handed out nothing.

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