Meet Witlingo’s Ahmed Bouzid - Audio Entrepreneur
Ahmed Bouzid is an audio entrepreneur involved with Amazon in the early stages of Alexa development. He has since moved away from Amazon and Alexa to build his platform and his own company, called Witlingo. Ahmed joined us at VOICE Global 2021 to discuss the adoption of voice tech and interactive advertising, along with some of Witlingo's recent initiatives.
Adopting Voice Takes Time & Learning
Wondering how voice adoption is progressing? Well, surprisingly, Ahmed states that they're much lower than analysts' predictions just a few years ago. However, he doesn't see that as a failure of the voice tech industry. For him, the development of voice interfaces was a shift, an adaptation from touch interfaces, and the industry needed time to adapt and learn. It's a paradigm shift. And that also meant that it needed time to attempt different things and make mistakes. And now, we're starting to see the results of that learning process.
As Bouzid tells us, "Voice has always been a challenging interface. It's just hard to deliver a great experience, and so I think the community is just in the process of learning. We made a lot of mistakes in terms of building interfaces that were not really usable. But there's been a lot of learning in the last four years. You can now see many places that teach you how to do voice user interface design are emerging, and really solid stuff is going on out there. We've been going through a lot of learning, and I think we will yield the fruits of that learning period soon."
Combining Visual & Voice for New Experiences
One example of emerging voice tech that benefited from this learning period is Witlingo's audio stations. Audio stations can be embedded within websites, and visitors to the site can use them to record testimonials, which could then be listened to by other users as they view the website's content. It provides new marketing opportunities as organizations could ask their users for testimonials through instant messaging and email campaigns - upping its user count and providing added value at the same time.
"You're able to listen to testimonials as you're looking at the webpage, as opposed to video or text testimonials where people are reading. Here, you're listening, and you're going up and down the page, and you're able to do those two things at the same time. And then there's also voice, you're hearing the person's character and emotions, and when somebody expresses their appreciation of you using their voice, that's sort of more compelling than text only. And it's less heavy of an ask than a video," says Bouzid.
Creating Interactive Advertising
The above ties into another topic that was touched upon: interactive advertising - advertising with which you can interact with your voice. Ahmed stresses how important it is to get it right in terms of the experience for the user. And he sees two critical factors in creating a successful interactive advertising campaign: context and conversational flow. Context relates to knowing your customers, their interests, their tastes, etc. And the flow of the conversation, you don't want your users getting stuck, getting frustrated, or feeling inadequate during the interactions. It isn't easy to pull off well.
"For this to take off, it needs to be done well... And it's hard. It's hard to do it well, but I think all the elements are there for this to be done well - that means context, where they are, what they're doing. Hopefully, you have a history of what they like and what they don't like. And so it's all about doing it in a way that isn't going to be a backlash, not resulting in a backlash. What makes me nervous here is if somebody goes and tries to do it and does it in the wrong way, and then the whole thing gets contaminated by that experience," Bouzid continued.
Missed VOICE Global live? Watch Ahmed Bouzid provide insights into the development of voice tech and some of the innovations coming out of voice tech that we can expect to see soon at VOICE Global on-demand here. View the VOICE Global speaker lineup to see what other engaging speakers joined us across various industries.