Amazon unveiled a new Echo device, some exciting new features for Alexa, a flying home security drone and more in their fall Alexa devices event. Let’s dive into the announcements made last week.
1. The New Spherical Amazon Echo
The totally redesigned version of Amazon’s classic smart speaker has some awesome new features. It’s equipped with “adaptive sound” from Dolby, has Zigbee support, and functions as an Amazon Sidewalk bridge, which means it can connect with the upcoming Amazon Sidewalk network that connects all your devices together (and can even connect with your neighbors’ devices!) for added security and convenience.
2. The Echo Show 10: With Screen That Moves to Look At You
The new Echo Show 10 is fixed to a base that can move the screen to look at you. It moves to make sure you can still see, even as you walk around the room. There’s no exact release date for the new device yet, but preorders have already begun (see the link above).
3. Amazon Reveals a New Microchip to Make Alexa’s Responses Faster
It’s called the AZ1 Neural Edge, and developed with a company called MediaTek, the new microprocessor is designed to make Alexa lightning-fast. It will do this by allowing Alexa to process more commands on the device itself. The new chip will ship inside the new generation of Echo devices.
4. Alexa Can Talk to Multiple People at Once
She can even ask clarifying questions. Amazon staged a demo of the new functionality showing two people using Alexa to order a pizza. Alexa was able to understand when the two people were talking to her and when they were talking to each other. Pretty cool, huh?
5. Ring Launches A Flying Home Security Drone
It is what it sounds (and looks) like: A camera attached to a drone that flies around inside your house. Called the Always Home Cam, it gives you a look into any room in your house whenever you want. When it’s done, it will fly itself back to its dock and charge up its batteries.
6. Amazon Announces A Cloud Gaming Service Called Luna (With Its Own Controller)
Apparently this has been in the works for some time, and will initially be available for PC, Mac, Fire TV, iPhone and iPad, with an Android version due out a bit later. You can request early access if you’re in the US. Players who pay the $5.99/month introductory price will get access to over 100 titles from some of the top game makers, including Ubisoft.
7. The New Echo Show Gets Netflix
If you have an Echo Show already, you already have access to Amazon Prime and Hulu. But now you’ll be able to watch your favorite shows on Netflix, too.
A crisis can trigger new changes, or accelerate changes that were already underway. This crisis is doing both.
I don’t have to tell you how much the world has changed and will continue to. What I want to discuss today is exactly what changes have already begun, and what you can do about them. How you can position yourself to succeed in the world right around the corner.
We are about to dive into the deep end on how exactly the world is changing before our very eyes—so you can be ready for it.
We’ll look at how businesses, behavior, whole industries, and the workplace itself are changing. We’ll also include a BONUS section at the end full of great business ideas to start that will help you ride the wave of re-opening back up, so read to the end to find out.
Healthcare: All about telehealth, data, wearables, and VR
Telehealth adoption has gone WAY up since the start of the pandemic.
Once the pandemic hit, traditional ways to access healthcare were over-burdened and risky. It became a no-brainer to seek help via an app or website. Expect strong growth here to continue. The same holds true for remote therapy, by the way!
If health professionals can’t be there with you, expect health wearables to skyrocket as well. How else will they be able to “Track & Trace” data effectively of whole populations?
Don’t forget about virtual fitness. Gyms are terrible places to go when there’s a virus on the loose. When lockdown started, over 350,000 fitness instructors in the US alone were forced to move online.
Connected equipment, workout apps, and new at-home fitness tech has seen a huge boost in the past few months.
Finally, aging and senior care has been forced to enter the digital age as a result of the pandemic.
Companies like Umbrella, a services marketplace aimed at seniors, and VitalCare, a telehealth company, have stepped up to fill the sudden demand for safe and contactless services for this particularly vulnerable group.
Work: Remote work accelerates adoption of digital infrastructure
All companies not deemed “essential” were forced to go remote when the pandemic struck. And now that they’ve tasted that sweet, sweet work-from-home life, many workers will be very reluctant to go back.
Faced with a fully distributed workforce for the first time, many companies leaned heavily on some of the big communication and work management tools. For instance, Microsoft Teams and its competitor, Slack, have exploded in user adoption.
Zoom has been one of the big winners here, with its share price rocketing 72% from December 2019 to April 2020.
Expect enterprise virtual reality to become a reality as well. Already expected to become a $12.6B market by 2025, the current crisis has pulled that timeline forward. Many companies are using VR to facilitate safe medical training, run real estate visits, and more.
Education: The age of the online classroom
All of us with kids have dealt firsthand with the challenges and opportunities of suddenly switching to an all-remote classroom. With K-12 and secondary schools adopting online learning infrastructure simply in order to keep operating, many won’t go back.
And it’s not just education infrastructure for K-12 and secondary. Online learning at all levels is seeing a massive boost.
Manufacturing: Automation and 3D printing
With companies trying to take more measures to keep workers safe and still keep up output, it’s no surprise that automation is in: Machines can get as close together as they want, and they still won’t get sick.
So too, 3D printing has gotten a huge boost as companies still need to pump out products while trying to limit human contact as much as possible.
The upshot from this is that the manufacturing industry as a whole is getting more flexible and agile all at once. It will be much more able, now and in the future, to respond on a dime to changes in demand.
Retail: Shopping is going online and not coming back
One of the biggest changes in retail has been the shift to doing grocery shopping online. It’s created massive growth for companies like Amazon, Instacart and Freshdirect, and created lots of jobs.
Traditional ecommerce has taken off in new directions, too. Fashion companies are doing virtual catwalks; brands are doing livestreams; and home improvement companies have taken to VR with a vengeance in a bid to help people test out products virtually.
Customer Service: The rise of the bots
With call centers shutting down for physical distancing purposes, companies have also seen an increase in customer calls. They’ve responded to this by calling in the conversational AI bots.
Banking, healthcare, retail, and even food service and delivery are all adopting conversational bots at a rapid clip. From simple messenger bots to Amazon Alexa’s advanced AI, companies are turning to these tools to relieve their overburdened teams and infrastructure.
“Cloud call centers” have also become a thing as companies needed an alternative to packing reps into physical call centers. Will companies go back once they realize the cost savings they’ll get from these? I think not.
Finance: Contactless is the name of the game
Contactless payments have seen a surge since the pandemic hit, and you can expect that surge to continue. This has resulted in increased adoption of new digital payment methods that might have taken much longer.
Another casualty of COVID has been the bank retail branch. Estimates show that traditional brick-and-mortar banks could lose up to 40% of revenue to their digital competition. Now more than ever, if your bank’s digital presence sucks, you really feel it. Those new digital neo-banks have never looked more attractive for many consumers.
What may gain from the pandemic is a niche insurance product known as “parametric insurance”, whereby you get an insurance payout if some “parameter”, or condition, happens. For instance, when the Wimbledon tennis tournament had to be canceled earlier this year, they were OK—they had paid for a pandemic insurance policy every year since the SARS outbreak in 2003, so they expect a payout of around $142M as a result.
Cybersecurity: Everyone and everything is online, so let’s secure it
Nothing has illustrated the need for investments in cybersecurity in recent months like the case of the Zoom-bombers, hackers who found their way into private Zoom calls (in some cases, Zoom classrooms) to cause mayhem.
Another thing we may see is invasive surveillance technology becoming more acceptable to people in exchange for heightened security. For instance, Google, Apple, Facebook, and other tech giants have pulled their resources together to track people’s movements in order to track the spread of the virus.
With so many companies and schools doing their work remotely, it’s become paramount to secure files and environments from outside tampering. There have also been increases in cyberattacks. Cybersecurity is set to become a $350B industry when the dust settles.
Entertainment: Everything is virtual
Noticing a trend? Yep, just about every industry is going virtual as a result of the pandemic, and entertainment is no exception.
Online games are getting a huge boost. Can’t go out on the weekends? People are playing online games together instead. People are even going on dates virtually, via their favorite video games.
Expect esports to get a huge boost as well, as popular in-person sports like soccer, NASCAR, and Formula-1 explore ways take their experiences online.
All events and conferences are going virtual, too. Expect that to continue.
Food Service: Take-out and delivery or bust
Restaurants were forced to make a choice, when all this started: Either shut down and lay off your staff, or go all-delivery or all-take-out.
Food delivery apps such as UberEats and Deliveroo have seen huge numbers of new restaurants and patrons, as they try to find the tools to continue business.
“Cloud kitchens” have also gotten a big boost. Think of these like kitchens that serve multiple restaurants, tailored especially for delivery apps. If you go on UberEats, chances are some of the restaurants you see don’t actually have a physical location. They just have a brand and menu on the delivery app, and all their food is prepared for delivery only in a cloud kitchen.
As reopening starts in parts of the world, we expect to see a resurgence of physical restaurants, albeit with some restrictions. This might be the same for in-person events, as people look to get what small bit of human contact they can.
How to thrive in the post-COVID world
Now you know how the world is changing… What do you plan to do about it?
It’s no surprise that smart speaker usage has gone way up as well. If you want to make a big impact in the post-COVID world, you need to be where your people are. And right now, chances are many of them are interacting with a smart speaker like Amazon Alexa. You’re going to want to be there when they ask for your services or products.
Shoutworks makes that easy. One click, and Alexa has instant access to just the right information about your business. It’s almost like she’s your personal sales rep, right in your customer’s living room!
Shoutworks is the world’s first one-click way to build an audience and drive leads through Amazon Alexa. It’s a WordPress plugin that turns your web content into an Alexa skill in one click, making it easy to recruit 200+ million Alexa devices as your personal chatbots in people’s living rooms, kitchens, and cars.
Those 200+ million Alexas are now your personal AI robot army. What will you do with them?
The magic isn’t that Shoutworks lets you automatically create and publish an Alexa presence in one click, right from the WordPress admin panel. The magic is that you can use your existing web content combined with a set of skill templates optimized to drive intentful leads through Alexa. No one has ever made it so easy and so worthwhile to create a voice presence.
People are using Shoutworks to broadcast their latest news, inspire people through daily quotes, drive sales through daily deals, improve accessibility and engagement by reading out blog posts, and interact with people directly through Shoutworks’ in-built support features.
By building for Alexa, the US market leader, and WordPress, which powers 35% of the internet, Shoutworks is poised to rapidly accelerate the adoption of voice in our everyday lives.
Helping people take advantage of a big trend
One side effect of the current global pandemic is that many people are spending more time than ever at home with their smart speakers. Shoutworks has hit the market just in time to allow businesses and individuals to take advantage of this trend and engage their audiences interactively, using the over 200 million Alexa devices. That’s not to mention the over 4 billion Alexa-enabled devices, which include smartphones and laptops where the Alexa app can be downloaded.
Now almost anyone can leverage the platform long monopolized by big companies like the BBC, which gets between 1.5 and 2 million engagements per week through voice. You used to have to pay a developer hundreds or thousands of dollars to have a voice presence. Shoutworks changes that.
Shoutworks is about to launch its Free Tier, which means anyone can create their Alexa skill automatically, for free. If you want to go pro for more features, it’s a 30 day free trial then $9.99 / month and $4.99 / month for nonprofits.
Until June 22nd the company is running a new user promotion in which we are offering every new user $1,050 in discounts for popular services like logo design, custom swag, digital marketing help, and more. We know it takes an investment to try something new, but we put this package together so it’s clear that in more ways than one, people can’t afford not to have a voice presence.
Why care about Shoutworks?
Now that anyone can create an Alexa skill automatically straight from WordPress, there are endless possibilities. Here are a few of the implications:
Shoutworks is the first time a company other than Amazon has successfully automated the full process of creating and publishing an Alexa skill, no Amazon account sign-in required.
Have news to share? Create a flash briefing that tells people about it.
Got discounts? Share a “deal of the day” to get the word out.
There’s even a Support feature that lets people send you an email through Alexa using just their voice.
Shoutworks automatically updates your Alexa skill whenever you update your content in WordPress, so you have full control.
Shoutworks is running a new user promotion in which they’re offering every new user $1,050 in discounts for popular services like logo design, custom swag, digital marketing help, and more.
And much, much more… the possibilities are endless!
The platform has seen a positive initial response, with more than 30 skills published and over 100 in development since its beta launch in the beginning of April, and growing fast.
Who is behind Shoutworks?
Christian, from New York, and Buddhika, from Sri Lanka, met in 2017 in a startup program for international founders in Paris, France, and there started a technical consulting and recruiting company together. After meeting Victor, American technology industry veteran and current Shoutworks chairman, they began to explore the possibilities of voice as a computing interface and haven’t looked back.
Interested in learning more? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you look at these numbers, it’s no surprise that the BBC is investing heavily in voice. Voice has become the preferred way for millions of people to consume BBC content.
How do they do it?
They reuse content they already have. They’re broadcasting the news, shows, and series that everyone knows and loves in a more convenient medium.
They make it simple. The skills we publish through Shoutworks are designed to be best-in-market out of the box, so our users can get a BBC-like experience without the investment.
They keep it fresh. The key to growing voice engagement is to keep the content up-to-the minute, so people can tune in for the latest from Alexa.
And it’s not just BBC content they’re consuming.
The BBC is huge, and as a voice trailblazer they’ve shown the way. They’ve paid the price for amassing such an audience on these platforms, spending thousands upon thousands to professional voice developers to create their voice experiences.
But here’s something the expensive voice developers don’t want you to know…
Anyone can now create an Alexa skill in about 5 minutes. With Shoutworks, your new skill can use your existing website content, so there’s no extra work involved.
Give it a try for FREE today and you’ll also receive $1,050 in discounts on essential services for your business like graphic design, a virtual assistant, custom swag, and more.
It’s time to take some of the attention the BBC is getting for yourself.
After months of hard work from our team, Shoutworks is finally ready for the world to see. It’s definitely not perfect, so please tell us what you think should be improved by writing to our team at email@example.com.
We wanted to build something that would allow many more people to take advantage of the voice revolution that has slowly taken over our lives. There’s a voice tidal wave coming, and we’re distributing surfboards!