Voice-Activated Tech: Should Your Small Business Listen or Join the Conversation for Growth?
HomePod at Apple #WWDC 2017
June 6, 2017
Can Voice Activated Speakers Improve the Bottom Line of your Small Business?
And the Trending Tuesday Topic is…
HomePod, bringing Siri into your home at Apple #WWDC 2017
Will these be primarily Entertainment Pods or Business Efficiency and Marketing Opportunities?
As I discussed in a previous blog article (What Can Small Business Learn from Apple), Apple finds a way to get publicity on their new products. Often with new products or product improvements at their annual #WWDC conference.
Yesterday, the company unveiled their long-awaited Siri speaker called HomePod, its most powerful Mac to date, and tons of new software upgrades across all the Apple platforms, from iPhones to the Apple Watch. Today they are having the former First Lady speak at the conference, but the topic I want to discuss is the advancement of Siri for the Home with the new HomePod. Apple’s entry into the market to compete against Amazon Echo and Google Home.
FYI, The HomePod is about 7 inches, comes with seven tweeters and runs on an Apple A8 chip. It has a six-microphone array in the middle to make it easy for Siri to hear you. The main focus seems to be on Music including Beats 1 Radio but it will also be able to deliver the weather, set timers, and control your HomeKit devices similar to the competitors. The HomePod will not ship until December 2017 and the starting price is $350. (Way above the price of its competitors, as usual)
What does this have to do with small business and entrepreneurship you ask?
Technology is changing the future of business (and the future is coming quickly). You have probably seen the commercials where Alexa (Amazon Echo) can order you a pizza lickety-split.
From what I can tell Amazon is the one primarily focused on creating a community and encouraging development of Apps and skills that can help promote business. (Of course, they make it easy to order from Amazon, which is good for those small businesses that offer their products through Amazon in the first place.) There have been over 10,000 third party apps developed for Amazon Echo and the low-priced Echo dot opens up this technology to everyone.
Google Home was promoted as an entertainment hub, allowing you to control your TV with a Chromecast streamer and launching Netflix and YouTube on your TV, etc.
This avenue of technology is brand new and the market will determine where the real progress will be made, similar to smart devices for your wrist. The big push initially on smart watches was the phone feature, being able to make and receive calls through your watch was supposed to be the next big thing. It turns out that the primary usage became the fitness tracker portion (at least to this point in time.)
Will Apple be right in that people want it primarily for voice activated music with the best quality speaker?
Will Amazon be proved right that having the largest range of skills for improved efficiency will be the most popular feature?
Will people get rid of their remote controls and use Google Home for their home entertainment?
Usually one theory wins out in the end and the others adapt as best they can depending on how far behind the popularity trend they are.
In technology, it is not always the first one in the market that succeeds in the end, but in my opinion Amazon has set themselves up for long term success on this trend. By opening their platform and encouraging 3rd Party developers to extend the functionality, they have embraced the modern age where democracy in business wins. Similar to how the marketing trend is these days, often consumer-driven with Social Media taking center stage.
While business has always been driven by demand of consumers, more than ever the consumers are interactively communicating their demands through social media. This translates well for Amazon in that developers and even lay people are deciding what skills to write and what skills to enable on the Echo so that Alexa can improve their lives (mostly hands free).
Yes, people love to be entertained, but decent speakers aren’t expensive and cable companies are adding voice controls to their remote controls. I am not a fortune teller so please don’t place any wagers or adjust your stock portfolio based on this article, but I would suggest exploring the options for improved productivity for your business and home.
One way I have found to tap into this new technology trend to market my business is with a skill you may have read about in my blog articles previously “Marketing Rich Tips” where you can enable the skill on your Echo and say, “Alexa ask Marketing Rich for a marketing tip”. (See my article on this topic…)
Explore the lists of skills developed for the Amazon Echo and see which ones may be able to improve your efficiency. You can manage your calendar, add to your to-do list, listen to podcasts and audio books to keep your business skills sharp, among many other options.
What are the skills that can make your business more efficient? If someone hasn’t developed it yet, maybe you want to develop something and add it to your own personal Echo? The possibilities at this point are improving daily and the future is bright.
While change is often a little scary there are a lot of improved efficiency options that can help you reduce your costs or reach more people to add to your bottom line. I encourage you to take a deep breath and dive into the future of technology.