Consumers are flocking to voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home but few brands are ready to provide consumers with an on-brand audio expression. The implication is clear: brands need a strategic approach to their use of audio. This goes deeper than simply using sound as a touch point. It requires the intentional use of sound, designed to align brand intent with consumer perception.

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Last week at Build 2017, Microsoft announced its Cortana Skills Kit as well as a list of partners who are currently working with them to build Cortana skills. XAPPmedia was pleased to be named as a partner and is the only company as of today to be a selected partner for Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

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XAPPmedia pioneered voice interactive ad monetization for radio on mobile and is now working with VoiceLabs to bring that same value to radio stations with Alexa skills. Radio stations can offer their listeners an ad-free experience or they can take advantage of XAPP Ads on Alexa and develop a new source of revenue.

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I was joined by Jeff Gibb of Amazon and James Derby from Federated Media for a roundtable discussion on Voice Interactive Radio at the NAB show last week. The most common question was about how to get Alexa, the voice assistant on Amazon Echo, to recognize a station name.

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The Voice Interactive Radio presentation given by XAPPmedia, Amazon and Federated Media was one the most popular at NAB this week. Drawing a large crowd, the 45 minute session was primarily a Q&A between radio station executives, Jeff Gibb of Amazon, James Derby of Federated Media and XAPP’s Pat Higbie.

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The XAPP team has worked with several brands and media companies this year to develop custom Alexa skills to give them a presence on the Amazon Echo. Today, we have published a new report highlighting 10 Best Practices for Putting Radio on Amazon Echo.

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Inside Radio recently interviewed CEO Pat Higbie to discuss the impact that voice integrations and smart speakers will have for broadcast radio. His assessment? It’s all good news for radio broadcasters.

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In recent interviews, I have said many times that Amazon Echo is bringing radio back into the home. Over 10 million homes have introduced Amazon Echo and Google Home into their kitchens and living rooms. Another 20 million are expected to add these devices in 2017. Gartner estimates that 75% of U.S. households will have a smart speaker by 2020 according to Inside Radio.

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In a recent Digiday article, Max Willens discusses how voice will have a bigger impact on media in the next few years than other emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Why? Because “voice works.”

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XAPPmedia CEO Pat Higbie was honored to be a guest on the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Podcast earlier this week. Higbie joined host Josh Miely to demo the new Amazon Alexa skill that XAPP developed for Federated Media’s B100 radio station in Indiana. Miely calls it a “game changing technological opportunity” for radio broadcasters.

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