XAPPmedia, the leader in interactive voice engagement for brands and media, today announced that Kirk Owen has joined the company as Vice President of Business Development. Mr. Owen most recently served as a senior business development manager for Amazon on the Alexa team. While at Amazon, Kirk worked with developers to bring Alexa skills to market for gaming, finance, retail, and media. Prior to Amazon, Owen served as General Manager of TotalCast for Capitol Broadcasting Company, served as CEO of Zenph, was an Executive Producer for The Walt Disney Company’s gaming division Playdom, and was co-founder and CEO of Merscom. He earned an undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from Duke University.
Many people know that XAPP has launched more than 1,000 voice apps for big brands and media organizations. However, you may not know that XAPP’s work on behalf of the world’s largest automaker, Mattress Firm, National Geographic, Luxottica and many others were all the result of a collaboration with leading marketing and advertising agencies.
Earlier this month, XAPPmedia participated in a session at Advertising Week titled “How Media and Brands are Using Voice AI to Connect with Consumers” alongside representatives from Cumulus One, 360i and Spark Foundry. Forbes contributor, Lauren deLisa Coleman, covered the session, noting that the consumer adoption of voice assistants and smart speakers, creates a “situation where the stakes become quite interesting for the right brand to problem-solve for appropriate consumer questions and dilemmas, provide value and begin a relationship in a more intimate way than anything that television or mobile currently offers.”
During Monday’s Advertising Week Panel, Suzanne Grimes of Westwood One, along with XAPPmedia’s Pat Higbie announced a new partnership with XAPPmedia to bring voice activated marketing to the national advertising marketplace.
Voice is the next big digital channel for marketers. Consumers are there. What’s your plan? That is what XAPPmedia will be talking about on Day 1 of Advertising Week in the session “How Media and Brands are Using Voice AI to Connect with Consumers.” The panelists on stage for this session have collectively launched over 1,000 voice apps on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Alexa skills and Google Assistant Actions are growing like weeds. Now that more than 50 million consumers in the U.S. have access to smart speakers, 100 million worldwide are expected to use the devices by year end and about 1.5 billion devices have access to a voice assistant through smartphones and PCs, everyone wants access to the large and growing audience. That includes some of the world’s largest brands and media companies.
Smart speakers are showing up everywhere. Voice usage on smartphones is rising. Voice assistants have become an important digital channel with substantial reach seemingly overnight. This has brands thinking about how to best establish a presence in voice, how the new channel will impact their omnichannel strategies and what approach their voice app strategy should take. Voice apps are the skills or actions that brands can build to engage directly with consumers through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Of the more than 1,000 voice apps launched for brands and media companies by XAPPmedia, over 900 are Amazon Alexa skills. This experience is an order of magnitude larger than even the most prolific Alexa skill developers. The breadth and depth of experience has taught us a few things about what makes a good Alexa skill and what doesn’t.