Amazon VOICE Conference 2018 (Day 1)

The Amazon VOICE conference (the largest voice tech event of the year), sponsored by, opened the day right when employee #1 of Amazon Alexa, now the Chief Evangelist Dave Isbitski, termed his presentation “Learning to Talk Again in a Voice-FirstWorld.”




With 2405 registrants, the world is eager to learn about why conversations matter now more than ever, and why VOICE is the new platform of 2018 – known as

VUI (Voice User Interface).

In a breakout session, one of the Amazon speakers shared this quote, “Conversational Platforms will drive the next big paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world.”  To be honest, all this stuff makes me think about biblical predictions, and people “speaking in tongues” because now whether you speak Spanish, Russian, or Greek, it can all be translated into a “common language”.  One gentleman at my table said his company is studying the trends and one question he’s trying to answer – is it all baselined to English, or some other common language?



Natural Language Understanding (NLU) – An important development in artificial intelligence as it relates to conversational platforms is the concept of NLU – Natural Language Understanding.  The example given was the phrase “Forty times”, it could be understood as For Tee Times, For Tea Times, or Forty Times.  What role does accent play?  What about intent and context?



Next Up: John Rome, Deputy CIO at Arizona State University talks about “Alexa goes to College”. (I ran into John in the lunch line right before his talk – nice guy.  He actually attended the ASU vs. Nebraska game in the 90’s when ASU won 19-0!  So did I!)

In 2016, ASU was to bring in 1,500 Amazon Echo devices on campus for the freshman class, then legal got involved! Thanks for ASU’s President, he over-rode legal, and ASU was allowed to bring Echo on campus.


  1. What happens if students are named Alexa? ANSWER: Change the name of the Alexa app to another name.
  2. Questions the ASU app answered: tell me about events? How late is the library open?
  3. They also hid some “easter eggs” out there – example, what is “A Mountain” – the ASU app talked about the mountain with the A on it.
  4. 92% Satisfaction rate of the students.  What used for? Playing music, setting alarms, weather forecast.
  5. 90%+ made purchases using the Echo dot.
  6. Favorite questions – “Do you love me?”, “Can you rap”, “will you marry me”?
  7. 19 Students published a skill including Carter, his app became one of the most popular.
  8. Alexa captured feedback from students!  And they wanted personalized skills–not just communal skills, but move towards personal skills. (Example: How am I doing on my Fitbit? or What is my class schedule today?)
  9. Biggest demand – they want to be able to have Alexa create quiz and test questions, to study with.
  10. Why take so long? Amazon keeps coming out with new devices.


The long and the short of day one of the inaugural VOICE conference – the skills are getting better every day.  The ability for Alexa to decipher intent, and the like, wow.

At the end of the day, as employee #1 of Alexa said, “bots can’t replace human empathy”…. at least not yet!








Why did ScaleX sponsor the inaugural Amazon VOICE conference in Newark, New Jersey?

ANSWER: “Conversational Platforms will drive the next big paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world.” At ScaleX, we believe that Sales Acceleration as a Service, Powered by Artificial Intelligence, will continue to advance these conversation platforms and prove to companies big and small how AI can impact the sales professionals ability to sell more effectively.




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