Month: September 2018

Conversational CRM at enterprise scale

Every big company is jumping into voice technology.

Yesterday from a tweet Say hello to Einstein Voice. Now anyone can talk to Salesforce.

In the video of the announcement  we can see the use automatic speech recognition as the user speaks with queries like Change the close date to November. It’s clear Dreamforce is coming up. Salesforce is joining the VoiceFirst wagon. It’s probably going to accelerate the adoption of voice technology by the more of 100 000 companies that use the CRM application. The company had previously released Violet, an open source framework for voice applications for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

With Einstein, though, Salesforce is releasing a voice assistant for the enterprise, a platform that that enables sales managers to dictate memos and navigate cloud services hands-free. Parker Harris, the CTO of the company quoted in an article with the announcement by VentureBeat that “We’re in the midst of an incredible technological shift, where the power of voice is fundamentally changing the way we work. The platform will allow users to update Salesforce records and create tasks.

The company also announced Einstein Voice Bots, meant to be consumer facing to be released in 2019.

 Chuck Ganapathi the CEO of reported in an article the prediction that every major CRM vendor will announce a voice offering by the end of the year.

Other CRMs already offering conversational features are Zoho with Zia and But Salesforce is the market leader and has a big platform in Dreamforce this year to be listened by companies and show the voice capabilities of Einstein Voice Assistant navigating the CRM platform with voice.

VoiceFirst Weekly we’ll be on the look for more details of Einstein during next week conference.

Is the time for voice in the enterprise.

Voice Control Becomes a Concern for Broadcasters

As we have been hearing over the last months, Amazon Alexa is being added to every device possible. According to Amazon European general manager for Alexa, Fabrice Rousseau, the TV is the most important device in the house, and they are set to conquer it. With the Fire TV Cube and the TV stick you can experience a hands-free TV experience and sip that wine without worrying about the remote controller.

Broadcasters might be happy about the wine, but are not that happy about the rest. The chief consumer and strategy officer for Channel 4 in Europe has said that “As a content provider we have no control over this service,”. “We have to actively defend ourselves.”

Let’s explore the reasons behind this:

One of the concerns highlighted by the Channel 4 Strategy Officer, is the fear that voice won’t allow them as content providers to deliver the diversity of content they do today and a guarantee that it won’t be taken away. Including niche content that might be surfaced on a home page and get lost. The channel is dabbling with voice, but its first experiments are with Google Assistant. Basically, they are afraid of Amazon removing content in favor of Amazon Prime Video service. Thus the Assistant becomes the first option that do not pose that problem.

That’s one of the backslash Amazon have been encountering with Alexa for different devices, as companies are showing their concerns with Amazon’s tentacles that extend to their streaming service as well as a threat to broadcasters.

We learned recently that Amazon is on more than 20 000 devices and just yesterday they announced that they are planning to release at least 8 new Alexa-powered devices, including a microwave, an amplifier, and an in-car gadget.

Channel 4 Strategy Officer urged her peers to work together in a voice interfaces standard for their metadata with the goal to not confuse the consumer. And asked Amazon to share data on how consumers use their services through Alexa.

Fundamentally, that’s the key point I want you take away from this episode: voice platforms and in this case Alexa, are becoming the owner of the consumer. Everyone wants in. Because we find ourselves at a unique inflection point where everything is about to change.

Amazon European general manager for Alexa, Fabrice Rousseau insisted that there were no plans to prioritize Amazon Prime over that of other content providers with a caveat “as of yet”.

Companies that fail to see through this change are going to stay suffer in their bottom line, and companies that capitalize in voice are going to be rewarded. Is that simple. These reactions from broadcasters show the stage is set in for the shift voice is bound to make for brands.

Thank you for listening. Remember to subscribe, like, comment and share this episodes. My name is Mari, and you can find me on Twitter as voicefirstlabs and on Instagram @voicefirstweekly.  Thank you for listening and you have a great day!

The most human like chatbot

Mitsuku has taken home the Loebner prize 4th times, the international contest for the most human like chatbot. After being asked for his overnight success Mitsuku creator and developer Steve Worswick stated on Twitter that he has been working on it for 13 years! Do we need 13 years to create a human like chatbot? Hopefully no. Mitsuku is developed in  Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML), an XML dialect for creating natural language software agents. Note that there is no notion of machine or deep learning in Mitsuku, which has been stressed by the author: I say the best bots are rule based. Following a long twitter discussion on the matter that I found intriguing coming from two developers of chatbots and I recommend you read if you are building bots or a decision making person for a chatbot project.

Anne Currie from Coed Ethics said on Twitter that the most fascinating thing about Mitsuku is that is AIML is not ML.

Mitsuku is written. She is like an extraordinarily sophisticated next gen novel – a new form of human creativity. ML, data-generated, chatbots can’t touch her.

According to Venture Beat, companies like Amazon are dumping AI-powered (machine learning powered) in favor of dumb bots that bots that make customer service smarter. That’s because rules-based chatbots are cheaper, easy to implement, 99-percent effective, and solve issues fast. With AI-based chatbots, customers often feel frustrated.

Many people treat Mitsuku as a friend and companion. I see a day where instead of lonely people having a television or a pet cat to talk to, they talk to chatbots instead. Many people who are socially isolated enjoy talking to Mitsuku, Steve said recently in a Tweet.

Should you next chatbot be rules based or machine learning based? Apparently if you are a bot, the best way to appear human-like right now is to be quote and quote “dumb”.

Thank you for listening. Remember to subscribe, like, comment and share this episodes. My name is Mari, and you can find me on Twitter as voicefirstlabs and on Instagram @voicefirstweekly.  Thank you for listening and you have a great day!

Voice apps contests that you can participate right now

The best thing about contest in the voice first world is the exposure your work gets from the press that the companies will give to your app. Ask any winner of the previous contests Amazon has released like PretzelVoice with KidsCourts and Oscar Merry and Jess Williams with PandaRescue.

So here is a list of contests you can participate now and give voice to your ideas!


Amazon announced last Friday the Echo Buttons US Game Skills Contest, the newest Amazon Alexa Gaming challenge for developers in the United States with To compete, you need to build a game skill for Echo Buttons – gaming-friendly gadgets that connect to compatible Echo devices – through the Alexa Developer Console. You will need to submit the skill to the contest page after publication for a chance to win.

According to their announcement, a great contest submission will tell a great story, have a target audience in mind, and make people smile. The prizes are $25,000 worth in total!

The first 150 people to publish skills to both the Alexa Skill Store and the Hackster contest page will receive a 2-pack of Echo Buttons – with a special bonus prize of $100 Amazon Gift Cards* for the first 25 developers. (Skill must be published between the contest start and end dates).

If you are not US based, there is another contest for or developers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, and Austria. The Alexa Skills Challenge: Games with BeMyApp is an opportunity for you to create game skills for Alexa and compete for cash prizes.

All you need to do is publish an Alexa skill within the Games, Trivia, and Accessories category in the Alexa Skills Store on or Your skill can be published in German or English. You can also publish it to both stores and increase your chances of winning one of the grand prizes or a bonus prize. 


Bixby, the smart assistant presented by this year’s Samsung Unpacked event has also a private invitation-only (but you can sign up here) contest for developers of the first capsules. You can win some solid cash including $500 if you are one of the first 50 developers to submit. This is what the email we got said:

You’ll be among the earliest crop of developers to try out the platform. As part of a new release of Bixby, we’re rolling out great rewards to those who try out the Bixby beta platform. Any of our first group of devs that submit a capsule will get guaranteed cash rewards. Also, top applicants will be flown to San Francisco to demo at Samsung Developers Conference on November 7th – 8th and receive more cash rewards.


Google has a competition in collaboration with Systers organization for Grace Hopper in which if you build an Action and share it using the hashtags  #AoGDevs and #AoGatGHC before 9/30 and additionally set the project name to ‘systers-[your-action-name]’ . @systers_org will send you a Rosie the Riveter Android! It does looks cutie. But it’s hard far from cash prizes Amazon or Samsung are offering frequently now.

Thank you for listening. Remember to subscribe, like, comment and share this episodes. My name is Mari, and you can find me on Twitter as voicefirstlabs and on Instagram @voicefirstweekly.  Thank you for listening and you have a great day!

VoiceFirst Weekly mashup: branding in voice

Happy Saturday to you all!

Today’s episode, I did a compilation of some of the content we have on the show about branding in voice. Enjoy!

Thank you for listening. Remember to subscribe, like, comment and share this episodes. My name is Mari, and you can find me on Twitter as voicefirstlabs and on Instagram @voicefirstweekly.  Thank you for listening and you have a great day!