0

Why Businesses Should Start Thinking About Voice Strategies

Last week we spoke about using voice technology to increase productivity in the workplace, but how can we use it to leverage the attention we receive outside the office. Right now, in 2018, many successful businesses in the world are very invested in their social media strategy, as they should be. It was recorded in 2017 that 71% of internet users have a social media profile. It is very clear that voice technology is becoming more and more prominent in our lives whether it be using it to search or control IoT devices. It has been predicted that within the next decade, having a voice strategy will just be as crucial as having a social media strategy. Does your business have a voice strategy yet?  Let’s explore what that means.

Home Assistants and The Competition for Attention

Let’s say for example you own a chinese restaurant in London and you are currently killing it on various social media platforms. What is going to happen when Joe Bloggs is sitting in his house in 2022, and he says:

“Alexa, what is the best chinese restaurant in London”.

Alexa responds with #1 result.

“Alexa, book me a table for 24 people”.

Is your restaurant going to be Alexa’s response because you have 18,000 social media followers and have an established brand? No – it will return whoever’s business has took advantage of rising to the top of alexa’s rankings. It’s a competition for attention. Think of it like being the number one search result on Google. So as well as having a social media and an SEO strategy, now is a really great time to start looking into a voice strategy as this is very ahead of the curve. Whoever is closest to the customer – wins.

shutterstock_520499128

The Value of Podcasts

One of the things people value most is time. Podcasts are a great way for people to listen to interesting topics and discussions while multitasking and doing other things. Sure, blog posts are great for engaging with social platforms and increasing SEO rankings but this “sound” space is also a great place to be in right now. Home assistants such as Alexa and Google Home are giving podcasts a great platform to be played on more than ever. Spotify and iTunes are our best recommendation of getting your podcast out there as these are compatible with home assistants and are widely used on smartphones.

Perhaps create a podcast around your weekly blog posts going into further detail and bringing on guests to discuss.

There are several ways podcasts can be valuable to your business. Firstly growing a weekly base of listeners means you can put small adverts into the start or end of you podcast such as “check out our latest book on amazon” or whatever you wish to promote. Moreover it goes without saying that having a podcast will also create brand awareness and can attract a whole new type of audience.

Wouldn’t it be great to say to customers, “We are in the top 100 tech podcasts in the world”, for example. This demonstrates the value your business has in your industry. Moreover other more established podcasters may want you on their show as a guest where you can talk about your business to their podcast subscribers giving you low cost advertising.

“Alexa, play a podcast about technology.”

 

If you want some more information on how voice strategies can improve your business, get in touch! At Lawlor Technologies specialise in building Alexa skills for businesses and for the consumer.

0

Using Alexa in Your Workplace

Over past few years, voice technologies have grown into home assistants. How will this tie into the way that we work? Will home assistants soon become work assistants? The answer is – they already have. In November 2017, Amazon announced ‘Alexa for Business’. This is a service that allows businesses to bring Alexa into the workplace at scale.

Voice and Visual

When home assistants were initially released, it was only about voice. Since then, new devices have been launched such as the Amazon Echo Show. The Echo Show has everything you get with the other echo devices in terms of Alexa, but with an added screen. In the workplace, such a device would be great for multitasking and video calls. The ability to ask Alexa a question and it displaying Google search results on a screen at your desk is particularly useful if you have no hands free. Depending on how fast you type, some may argue it would be quicker to use your keyboard.

jarvis-tony

There are two device types Alexa for Business uses:

  1. Shared Devices
  2. Personal Devices
Shared Devices

These are the devices you would commonly find in a meeting room, lunch room or shared space area. This would be useful for joining a meeting via a video conference by saying “Alexa, start meeting”. This will turn on appropriate equipment such as microphones, webcams aswell as joining the conference call. Moreover, custom skills can be created to allow employees to ask Alexa which meeting rooms are available.

Personal Devices

Imagine you are in work, it’s Monday morning and you have one million and one things to do. Wouldn’t it be great to have your own personal assistant to pick up some of these tasks? Personal devices can make calls for you, check your schedule, send messages on your behalf and many other useful tricks.

Voice will be a huge part of the workplace in the not so distant future.

At Lawlor Technologies we specialise in building custom Alexa Skills for innovative businesses looking to increase the productivity of workplace tasks, through voice. Contact us if such a service interests you and we will provide more info.

0

The Future of Jobs & AI

You may have seen Artificial Intelligence portrayed on the big screen over the past decade, in films such as iRobot, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Transendence and it always ends up with them trying to take over the world, but is this really our future? One of the main concerns we have as a society is machines replacing us in our day-to-day jobs.

In recent news, an AI robot named Sophie has been granted citizenship and wants to have a family and a career:

TalkativeIckyBorzoi-max-1mb

 

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Humans and animals have Natural Intelligence (NI) as we have biological neural networks in our brains – this is what makes us “intelligent beings”. On the other hand, machines are able to have “Artificial Intelligence” (AI), with the ability to make decisions.  Machines have various advantages over humans in terms of ability, these include:

  • Works 24/7 – no need to sleep
  • Accuracy – machines are very accurate with no human error
  • Speed – a doctor is able to diagnose a patient one at a time, AI would be able to diagnose millions at the same time

With this being said, humans also have advantages over machines. The ability to be creative and innovative cannot be determined by algorithms. Break throughs such as the invention of hip hop require our creative and out of the box thinking.

The reality is, it comes down to what is more cost efficient for businesses.

Universal Basic Income

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, is backing the idea of Universal Basic Income. Due to the vast wealth that will be created by artificial intelligence, Universal Basic income would mean splitting this wealth amongst the public providing a safety net incase of job loss. As a result everyone will receive monthly income. Not only would this provide a fair solution, it also provides hope for those in poverty.

We at Lawlor Technologies support this idea.

Adapt to Survive

It is predicted that in 2060, artificial intelligence will have surpassed human intelligence which is a scary thought. There has been much debate about the creation of AI and the dangers that will come with it.

Elon Musk, the man who is taking humans to Mars and is trying to save the environment through his electric car company Tesla, has a new venture. His latest company Neuralink has been created to prevent machines surpassing human intelligence, by upgrading the human brain through the use of technology.

elon-musk-neuralink610

Elon believes that future of humanity depends on us merging with technology.

Applying for a Job and AI

On the other side of the coin, the application process for jobs will also change in the dawn of AI in the workplace. As Artificial Intelligence gets better, employers may wish to choose AI to short-list potential candidates by examining CVs. For example, if a job is available and 1,000 people apply, rather than someone going through each application, AI will review candidate resumé’s and rule out those unsuccessful, only selecting the best for the interview process.

Will my job be replaced with Artificial Intelligence?

No time soon! Artificial Intelligence still has a bit to go before it is replacing us in the workplace and is very expensive to build artificial systems at the moment.  Eventually Artificial Intelligence will be more accessible to businesses and only then will businesses see a cost effective solution. Moreover, there are some jobs in the world that may never be replaced with AI. These include health care, looking after the elderly, law enforcement and management.

 

While we should be cautious of how AI may affect us, it’s important to note the huge benefits it will provide to the human race as surpassing human intelligence will mean major breakthroughs in science and medicine.

Do you believe Artificial Intelligence is a good thing or a bad thing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

0

How a Mobile App Can Grow Your Business

Mobile apps have been around for many years now and they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. As of 2018, there has been a recorded 2.8 billion people worldwide who have a smartphone and 180 billion apps have been downloaded on the Apple App Store alone. These numbers are continuing to grow with no signs of slowing down, with an expected 352.9 billion app downloads by 2021.

There are two approaches a business can take when it comes to mobile apps. The first approach is to have a mobile app that employees of the company use to increase efficiency such as easily recording data or a tool that allows employees to complete day-to-day tasks. This is an enterprise application. The second approach falls into the scenario where the business wants the app to be downloaded by customers such as a booking or ecommerce app. This is a consumer application. These different approaches are taken depending on what the business needs are.

Reducing Costs with an Enterprise Application

Over the past decade, many businesses worldwide have made the transition into going paperless through the use of technology. Tasks that require an employee to fill out a form as part of a daily task can be made much more efficient by doing it on an app. Two factors that come into play here are the reduction of printer costs and the ability to automate tasks.  Carrying out tasks such as sending the data to the appropriate person or database and producing a report, can all be done behind the scenes on the application thus giving the employee more time to concentrate on other tasks.

shutterstock_645747736

Such mobile apps work particularly well for a business when an employee has to leave the office to go on-site to carry out their work. Having a tool on your phone that sends data back to your main office instantly is one of the great advantages of mobile apps for remote use.

Brand Growth and Sales using a Consumer Application

There are many ways to expand your brand on the internet and a mobile app changes your marketing game through the use of the words “download our app”. Within the app users could be able to send their friends referral links, increasing both app downloads and brand awareness.

Whether you sell products or a service, a mobile app can be a great way to manage that. Perhaps you already have a website that deals with it, but you plan on taking it into current technology trends with a mobile app. Although the result may be an increase in sale growth, the most important aspect is gathering data from users. Being able to track how many users are searching or buying a particular product can allow you to adjust your sales strategies around this.

At Lawlor Technologies we specialise in designing and developing mobile apps for businesses whether it be consumer or enterprise based. Get in touch if you plan on taking a step into the mobile app world in 2018 and we will take it from there.

0

Future Talk: Voice Recognition

On The Right Path

Voice recognition has been here for many years, but only recently have we begun seeing huge improvements to this technology through Alexa, Google and Siri. These assistants are helping out with a range of tasks such as controlling smart home devices and telling us how long it will take to get to work based on current traffic. Moreover they link into search engines to answer questions you may have.

shutterstock_387656557

Buying With Voice

When you want to buy something from Amazon, you can say “Alexa, buy shampoo”, and it will return “amazon’s choice” of shampoo. Not the least expensive shampoo, not necessarily the best shampoo, but “amazon’s choice”. It is essentially making the purchasing decision for you which is very interesting because whoever supplies this product, has a competitive gain over other brands. If you work in the industry of selling products on Amazon, now would be a great time to look into how amazon uses Alexa to order products.

Although this is currently not our main method of shopping, it may be how we do all our shopping in the future as home assistant devices get more and more popular.

Goodbye Physical Keyboard

Physical keyboards will phase out as voice recognition evolves and gets better at understanding us. We have already seen the physical keyboard phase out in mobile phones, replaced with the touch screen keyboard.

With this being said, just because we can take notes on our smart phone, doesn’t mean we have stopped using written notes, it can depend on what works better for different tasks. An example of a use for keyboards at the peak of voice technology would be computer programming. Programming can contain complex code with various styling, not so easy to convey using voice alone, but as technology evolves so will how we program.

As well as keyboards, television remotes will no longer be needed and in time televisions will phase out with the rise of virtual reality.

Talking to Our Cars

With companies like Tesla and Google creating self-driving cars, we can expect voice recognition integrated within them from day one. You will get in your car, tell the car where you want to go and it will take you there. Your car will essentially be your own personal taxi. Want to change route?  … “take the next right”. This also allows us to stay in control of the car incase of emergency.

shutterstock_631212983

 

The future is bright with the rise of voice technologies and will add value to our lives, increasing productivity in our day-to-day lives.

0

Using Technology to Help Tackle Youth Unemployment

In today’s society, it is a well known fact that it is difficult for young adults to gain employment, especially when they don’t have a lot of work experience. Statistics from the House of Commons states that in the UK, 587,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in August-October 2016. This is an improvement from 2015, with a decrease of 38,000 but there are still a huge number of young adults going without employment. The frustraition of not having the oppertunity to aquire this experience is a huge problem many people face. This is where career help services can offer help and guide these young adults on the correct path to employment, whether that is improving their experience through volunteer work or simply connecting them to the right contacts. Although this is a step in the right direction in reducing youth unemployment, it is worthwhile to note that it can sometimes be a lengthy process. During this transition into the workplace, many young adults get knocked back interview after interview and this can affect one’s confidence while tearing down the motivation needed to keep pushing forward. It was announced in December 2016 that half of Glasgow’s job centres are set to close in 2017 due to cut backs, which reflects that there is need for a cost effective solution.

shutterstock_378771547

Reaching out to a young generation through the use of technology is key in such a scenario. Working closely with a career’s help service in Scotland, we have came up with a solution that helps these young adults transition into the workplace smoother and also supply a cost efficient solution for the employment help services. Using motivational techniques within the app such as gamification allows users to remain encouraged and feel rewarded by unlocking various achievements. Not only does the achievements offer an uplift to the user but are only unlocked when a user progresses such as identifying their skills and interests, thus building great CV content in the process. Moreover I truely believe that we can accomplish more if we are having fun and as a result lowering the probability of giving up in the search for employment. Watch the explainer video below for more information:

‘Yep’ will be rolled out towards the end of 2017 and will be made available for career help services to use.