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200 Ways to Use Alexa with Bradley Metrock and Katherine Prescott

Ep. 100

In this episode, Teri welcomes Bradley Metrock of Score Publishing and Katherine Prescott of VoiceBrew, to talk about their incredible work in the voice space.

 

Welcome, Bradley and Katherine!

Bradley is the CEO of Score Publishing and the VoiceFirst.FM network while Katherine is the Founder/Editor of VoiceBrew.


Bradley recently wrote a book about some of the things that we can do with our Echo devices, and Katherine wrote the forward for the book. Their work in the voicefirst world is geared towards helping regular non-techie people learn how to use Alexa and voice technology.

VoiceBrew

  • It’s a daily email newsletter that helps people get the most out of Alexa. They also publish comprehensive guides on their website covering almost all of Alexa’s key features.
  • They now have over 25,000 email subscribers.

Brad’s Alexa Book

  • Brad wanted to write an Alexa instruction manual because he saw a need for it, and it eventually morphed into the book called “More Than Just Weather and Music: 200 Ways to Use Alexa”
  • The book showcases the breadth of use for Alexa covering areas like healthcare, coronary, banking, publishing, and automotive.
  • The way most people use voice technology today is similar to how most people used the internet in the 90s. They are only asking Alexa what the weather is or to play some music. This is because they don’t know what skills or commands to use.

Narrowing Down to 200 Ways to Use Alexa

  • Narrowing the list down for Bradley and his team was tough. He had skills developers asking him where their skill was in the book if he hadn’t put it among the 200.
  • They focused more on the quality of the skills and only included those that had positive reviews (based on their quality) in the skills store. They mainly looked at whether the recent reviews were good, but also checked if the recent bad reviews were based on the quality of the skill, if not, the skill would qualify for the list.
  • Brad also wanted to include skills that are good but haven’t gained visibility among users. They include Daddy Saturday which compliments a book titled “Daddy Saturday”, Where the Beef? and The Reuters flash briefing.
  • The 200 ways to use Alexa include 175 Alexa skills and 25 Alexa built in functions.
  • Katherine’s favorite kids’ skills were included in the list. They include Kids Court, Chompers, and Choose Your Own Adventure.
  • Brad asked Katherine to write the forward for the book because VoiceBrew’s brand orientation is aligned with what the book is about.

The Need for Skills Discoverability

  • When Brad got into publishing, he discovered the iBooks software by Apple which people were using to create interactive content. A lot of people were creating incredible multimedia, driven and interactive content, but they were having a huge discoverability problem.
  • Eventually the whole ecosystem died because post-Jobs Apple didn’t know what to do with it. Brad sees a lot of parallels with Alexa in that regard, and therefor believes it’s very necessary to create the Alexa skills lists for enhanced discoverability.
  • Katherine believes discoverability is challenging for voicefirst experiences because with voice, content is pulled by users as opposed to how content is pushed to them by social media platforms. She advises that Alexa skills creators should think about what distribution strategies they will use in order to ensure that their skills are highly discoverable.

List of resources mentioned in this episode

Other useful resources:

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3/24/2020

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5 Ways Voice Technology Can Help with COVID-19

Ep. 118
In this episode, Teri will talk about what’s going in the world, and specifically about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and how voice technology could be used to help in the fight against it.Let's Do This!With the epidemic leading to people being told to practice social distancing, Teri has been considering how voice technology can lessen the problems people are facing with that. He will share the five different ways that he thinks voice technology can have a profound impact on what we are experiencing today with the epidemic. Some of the solutions are futuristic but they have a lot of potential going forward.And the Five Ways Are:#1 - Voice Enabling Diverse GadgetsThis is voice enabling gadgets that we touch every day including kiosks, ATMs, elevator controls, and others. This is already being done today and it definitely helps with curbing the spread of the coronavirus.#2 - A Coronavirus Flash BriefingThis would be very beneficial in delivering accurate information about what is happening with the virus globally. Teri is launching the Coronavirus tips to keep people informed, up-to-date, and current with evidence-based, proven and good information.#3 - General Information SkillTeri has already created a skill that provides general information about COVID-19 and it’s called “Coronavirus Doc” and it’s on the Alexa Skill Store. He is also working on launching it on Samsung Bixby. The skill covers information such as general info about the Coronavirus, how it’s transmitted, some of the symptoms, how to avoid contracting it, and other things.#4 - Voice DoctorThis is futuristic but we are already seeing hints of it. In this case, a voice assistant would act a little bit like a doctor and would ask the user questions like, “Do you have a fever? Do you have a cough? Do you have trouble breathing? Have you been exposed to someone who has the virus?”, and those sorts of questions. Then based on the responses, the voice assistant will use its algorithm to determine your risk level of having the Coronavirus. The voice assistant would then order a home test kit for you if the risk is high enough, so you could test yourself at home, and you could discuss the results with the voice assistant in such a way that you will start to obtain your medical information and care at home.#5 - Epidemic ManagementTeri believes that voice technology could help with the management of an epidemic like Coronavirus in the future through voice assistants serving as home-based healthcare providers. A great scenario is if one was diagnosed with the Coronavirus and they had a skill that would monitor how they are doing, ask them to rate their symptoms, look for patterns, and other things.List of resources mentioned in this episode:Flash Briefing FormulaCoronavirus Tips Flash BriefingVoiceFirstHealth.com/LiveTeri's TEDx TalkOther useful resources:Voice in Canada: The Flash BriefingComplete List of Alexa CommandsAlexa-Enabled and Controlled Devices in CanadaTeri Fisher on TwitterAlexa in Canada on TwitterAlexa in Canada Facebook PageAlexa in Canada Community Group on FacebookAlexa in Canada on InstagramPlease leave a review on iTunesShopping on Amazon.ca
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Ep. 117
In this episode, Teri is welcomed by Nick Myers on the Artificial Podcast to talk about flash briefings and healthcare.Enjoy the Conversation!Teri is a sports exercise physician and clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He is the founder of Voice First Health, the leading podcast about the intersection of voice first technology and healthcare. He is also the founder of Alexa in Canada, the leading Amazon Alexa resource for Canadians. He is an award winning TEDx and keynote speaker, Amazon Alexa champion, educator, consultant, podcaster and briefcaster who loves sharing his excitement for artificial intelligence and voice first technology. He is the host of both his podcasts, and the daily Voice in Canada flash briefing, which is the number one rated Amazon Alex flash briefing and new skill in Canada.Early InspirationTeri had an interest in voice tech from a young age when he used to play with radio control cards.He had an interest in digital photography, video editing, audio, and music.He was very much involved in the creative space as he was growing up. His mother is a music therapist and she trained as a professional musician.She made sure Teri learned how to play the violin from age three all the way to high school. He also developed an interest in percussion instruments somewhere along the way and has been a drummer and percussionist for many years.As he was listening to podcasts, he heard about Amazon Alexa and he discovered that it was not in Canada.He started researching online for information on voice technology, but couldn’t find anything on the technology’s presence in Canada. 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It has screenshots and explainer videos.Strategies and Tips for Starting a Flash BriefingTeri advices that if one is going to do it, then they must commit to it and be consistent.Lack of consistency damages a brand and confuses the listener. It sends the message that one is unreliable.One has to define a specific consistency for their flash briefing. It could be daily or weekly, but one must stick to whatever schedule they’ve come up with.Another important thing to consider is what problem one can solve for someone with the flash briefing. People find that valuable and it helps with listener engagement.The Impact of AI and Voice on HealthcareTeri feels AI and voice will impact healthcare in every single way we can imagine.People are no longer going to be tied down to a physical device. They will have an ambient computing device that will listen to them.It will be easy for patients to interact with the technology to get help with their health, for example, the technology will act as a physician and ask someone about their symptoms so it can diagnose their issue.Personalized medical care using AI and voice technology will become a reality in future.Teri is currently working on a Corona Virus skill (Corona Virus Doc) that will give people the information they need to help guide them on everything about the virus.Leveraging Voice TechPeople should get a presence on voice either for their passion projects, businesses, or organizations.Teri believes that the easiest way to do that is a flash briefing.List of resources mentioned in this episodeVocal IDLearn How to Create Your Own Flash BriefingThe Alexa in Canada PodcastThe Voice First Health PodcastVoiceFirstHealth.com/LiveTeri on LinkedinThe Voice Technology in Healthcare BookOther useful resources:Voice in Canada: The Flash BriefingComplete List of Alexa CommandsAlexa-Enabled and Controlled Devices in CanadaTeri Fisher on TwitterAlexa in Canada on TwitterAlexa in Canada Facebook PageAlexa in Canada Community Group on FacebookAlexa in Canada on InstagramPlease leave a review on iTunesShopping on Amazon.ca