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Giving VOICE to the Community

Modev’s purpose is all about community and fostering a culture of belonging. Through the many events it organizes each year, it brings people with a common purpose together to learn, share, and network - to make meaningful connections that propel the voice tech industry forward. It’s a good fit when you consider that voice tech itself is all about making connections with people, services, and brands.

VOICE 2021, Modev's latest event, wrapped up on December 8. While it was hybrid, taking place  both virtually and in-person, it was the first time in nearly two years that the voice community could come together, face-to-face, to share ideas without being proxied by a screen. And it's fair to say that for all those present, the sense of community was stronger than ever - and that felt really good.

We are fortunate that some of our community members took the time to summarize their experience at VOICE and I felt it important to share. Let’s hope 2022 brings more opportunities to reconnect in person despite a tough start to the year in that regard. 

Community reflections: 

Blutag founder and CEO Shilp Agarwal joined us at VOICE to discuss the future of voice commerce and to provide insights on how ambient computing is increasingly becoming a reality for individuals and businesses. And it was an eye-opening and engaging talk, indeed. Many cutting-edge voice tech innovations were discussed at the event: text-to-speech, voice cloning, speech synthesis, chatbots, vocal assistants, as well as the industry's growth as a whole.

Despite how valuable that is, Shilp's main takeaway from the event was how it brought people together - and just how valuable that is. There's just no substitute for direct, person-to-person connections and the dynamics it creates. And the value of direct interaction isn't just about sharing ideas. It's also about inspiration and making emotional connections.

As Shilp says, "Bringing together people from across the voice technology industry is a powerful way to drive progress and growth that enriches all the many stakeholders connected to the growth of voice AI and conversational commerce."

Megan Burns, director of Azafran Catalyst, a company that assesses organizations' market timing, product traction, and team - Catalyst 3T's - attended this year's VOICE summit. Azafran Catalyst's business model is based on customer trust, which hinges on forming and maintaining strong and meaningful relationships.

As Megan shares, VOICE was a key event to attend as it brought together the industry's top technology creators, thought leaders, and executives from around the world who all have at least one thing in common: a passion for voice technology. As she says, "As we nurture these relationships, we also look to build new ones. Attending industry events is a key component in our strategy to connect with new strategics, subject matter experts, and partners."

Megan's key moment at the event was tech entrepreneur and futurist Ian Utile's talk. The critical takeaway from his talk was to embrace the technology opportunity that we're presented with while understanding the value of what the voice community is building for humanity - new ways to connect and engage with others and the world around us.

Sanjeev Sharma, head of platform engineering at Truist Financial and author of The DevOps Adoption Playbook and DevOps For Dummies (IBM Edition), also shared his experience  at VOICE. For Sanjeev, the real value in the event resides in the connection the audience can make with the different speakers. The sharing of knowledge and insights from so many experienced players in the tech industry was tremendously thought-provoking for him. 

Those back-to-back expert talks that can only happen at an event like VOICE got Sanjeev thinking about some of the serious challenges that remain in the industry, despite all of its growth. The challenges he sees are focused on four key areas of the voice experience: identity, data loss prevention, regulations and standards, and ethics.

Without delving into all of these complex issues (you can view the VOICE 2021 talks on-demand), let's just say that Sanjeev came up with some critical questions relative to voice tech in those four key areas. 

Questions like, how reliable is voice as a single or multi-factor identity mechanism? How do we prevent personal information from leaking out into the environment around us when using voice interfaces? Who owns voice data? And finally, who gets the Grammy for a song sung by a synth?

These are intriguing questions, to be sure. And they illustrate the power of community insofar as questions, insights, and the sharing of experience are most potent when you bring like-minded experts together. And that's what VOICE is all about - giving a voice to the voice community. 

Take a look at this short video from VOICE 2021, featuring Pete Erickson, founder, and CEO of Modev, which the Amazon Alexa team put together. It’ll give you a taste of what you missed (if you missed it).

Of all the events we’ve produced in the past decade this was perhaps the most memorable and possibly the most important.  While we moved the voice-tech industry forward, perhaps we did something more important in connecting the humans that are making it all happen. We hope you'll join us and be part of this special community at next year's VOICE, taking place October 10 - 13, 2022, in Arlington, Va.

VOICE Summit