Voice19 Summit: How I Spent My Week in Newark, NJ

Day 1: Pre-Conference Executive Sessions

I joined in on a workshop run by Google’s Head of Conversational Design, Wally Brill.

He organized a room of about 150 people (CEOs, Designers, Coders, and Techies) into groups of 10, Our job was to brainstorm a “Voice Experience” for an imaginary brand, (ours was “Spacelines” a travel company with trips to the International Space Station).

We started, naturally, by trying to understand both the user and the brand based on criterion we were given. 

We were tasked with creating a Voice offering in 3 hours based on this information.

We chose to create a program that offered tours of your adventure and sold you tickets.

It was good👍

Day 2: Official Opening


  • I saw Amazon’s Alexa Evangelist, Dave Ibitski, announce “Skill Flow Builder” – a tool to create interactive Voice Experiences.
  • Founder of Siri and Change.org, Adam Cheyer (now VP/R&D, Samsung), said: “As important as the web and mobile, will be the conversational assistant”. He then announced the downloadable Bixby Developer Studio to make capsule creation easier with distribution through the new “Bixby Marketplace.”
  • Noelle LaCharite, Principal Manager, Microsoft Search, Assistant, and Intelligence, says, “Ask more questions, create a more diverse environment” in Voice development. He then announced “Intelligent Technology” for developers to create skills across all devices.

Words to remember:

  • Amazon=Skills
  • Samsung=Capsules
  • Google=Actions

Day 3

I participated in a great panel on How “Entertainment, Media and Publishing take on Voice” with Mark Mezrich of Viacom, Joan Solsman of Cnet, Neala Gollump of Comcast, Kourtney Bitterly of the New York Times, and Steve Keller from Pandora.

I also explored the Amazon Connected house on the Expo floor. It demonstrated how voice can control everything in the home.

Day 4

I moderated a panel on “Voice and Media: How can that work?”

Thanks to Holger Wiebe Of ZEIT on-line, Dan Sanchez of The New York Times, Dominik Meissner of 169 Labs, and Joan Solsman Of CBS Digital/CNET for insight into strategies for media companies in the field of voice.

All in all, it was a very fulsome week in Newark and I made a bunch of new friends in this exciting emerging tech space.

What did we learn?

Voice will not…cannot…be an afterthought in your strategy.