Beyond Alexa is an information service focusing on speech-enabled information access. The shift from desktop computers to mobile devices opened the door to voice-centric interfaces. The effort to eliminate the keyboard, which has dominated computing for decades, relies on a wide range of interesting and fast-moving technologies. Artificial intelligence (what we call smart software), machine learning, real-time translation, and other innovations.
The Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, and Echo Dot were developed by Amazon and the company’s initial collection of Alexa-enabled products have been incredibly successful and have created an entirely new product category. But our interests are not anchored to Amazon’s products. We will explore the rapidly-shifting vector of products and services that is pointing far beyond Alexa.
Companies from lock makers like Schlage to car manufacturers like Volkswagen to consumer electronics leaders like Yamaha are pushing Amazon’s technology in new directions. And competitors are massing their forces. Apple is working to improve and expand Siri while Google is enhancing its Home line of products and racing to move demonstration software into commercial applications. Outside the US, Athom.com has introduced the Homey. Similar innovations are underway at Naver in South Korea and in many other countries.
As a result, Apple is working to add steroids to Siri’s diet of discount corn flakes. Google’s engineers are enhancing the Home line of products and racing to move demonstration software into commercial applications. Outside the US, Athom.com has introduced the Homey. Similar innovations are underway at Naver in South Korea and in many other countries.
Beyond Alexa will include curated summaries and pointers to articles from a range of sources related to voice-centric products and services. In addition, we will introduce inclusions which present a product description / review from developers and companies creating voice-centric products. We also will prepare a series called Beyond Alexa Tip Sheets or BATS. These will be four to eight-page industry reports which describe in plain English some of the trends Beyond Alexa identifies. Initially, these will be offered as Kindle Singles and priced starting at $1.99.
Beyond Alexa will also include short videos. These will feature contributors to Beyond Alexa, innovators responsible for products and services we find interesting, and informal conversations with the authors of the individual Beyond Alexa Tip Sheets. We will make the Beyond Alexa videos available via Facebook and YouTube.
Beyond Alexa will include opportunities for community engagement and topic discussion via the Beyond Alexa Facebook page.
Stephen E Arnold, March 6, 2017
The Beyond Alexa Team
Constance Ard. Constance Ard is a professional librarian with 20 years of experience. After a 12 year career in law libraries, Constance began her own consulting company, Answer Maven. With this work she has created custom information solutions for organizations seeking to get the most value from their richest resources: employees and information. Projects include serving as operations manager for Augmentext, co-editor of Pinhawk’s Law Librarian Digest and a myriad of engagements with organizations seeking to improve information and research services. She is the author of three studies on corporate libraries, including Corproate Libraries: Basic Principles in a Changing Landscape (2014).
Stephen E Arnold. Stephen E. Arnold began his work career at Halliburton Nuclear Utility Services in 1973. He then worked at Booz, Allen & Hamilton on a range of projects until 1981. He became a vice president of the Courier Journal & Louisville Times and began work on full text information systems. He and his team developed The Point Internet Service which was sold to Lycos and then in 1999 the Xoom online video service sold to General Electric NBC two years later. In Year 2000 he worked on the initial index of the US government. After 9-11, he and his team built the online system for the Threat Open Intelligence Gateway (TOSIG). He is the author of The Google Legacy (2005), Google Version 2 (2007), and Google: The Digital Gutenberg (2009). In 2015, he published CyberOSINT: Next Generation Information Access. In 2017, his Dark Web Notebook: A Guide for Law Enforcement and Intelligence Professionals will be published in April 2017. He is a Summa cum laude graduate of Bradley University and he has completed work on his PhD at the University of Illinois. He has worked as an expert witness and has provided advisory services to a wide range of government and commercial organizations over the last 30 years.
Ric Manning. Ric Manning is a former reporter, editor, columnist and website manager for The Courier-Journal newspaper and technology writer for the Gannett News Service. He was a co-founder of Plumb, a news service that covered computer bulletin boards, and his work has appeared in a variety of computer-interest publications including PC Week, Boardwatch Magazine and The Whole Earth Software Catalog. He writes the personal technology blog GizmoEditor.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whitney Grace. Whitney Grace is a professional writer, researcher, and animation historian. She specializes in both non-fiction and fiction writing and enjoys writing about fact as much as does her imagination. McFarland Books published her first book Lotte Reinger: Pioneer of Film Animation about Lotte Reiniger and the oldest surviving animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed. She is also under contract with Golden Bell Studios to write a young adult fantasy series and a children’s book. Whitney also hosts the Toon-In Talk Podcast for Fanboynation.com and writes comic book and manga reviews for them as well. When not reading comic books or watching cartoons, she’s head deep in research for Arnold IT about Alexa, search, and the Dark Web. Visit Whitney at FanboyNation or Toon-In Talk.
Stuart Schram IV. Stuart Schram was one of the original technical team members for The Point search and Web profiling system. He is an accomplished systems professional with work experience on large scale projects for a wide range of companies, including next generation search systems. He has worked on a range of Arnold Information Technology projects including the Threat Open Source Intelligence System, the indexing of US government content, and similar high-impact projects.
Shawn Livingston. Shawn Livingston is an academic librarian of 20 plus years’ experience at the University of Kentucky. Shawn specializes in public services, user interface interaction, and learning spaces. He also provides expert information seeking for United States Government Information and information concerning the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations. Over the years he has instructed numerous undergraduate and graduate students as well as university faculty in the effective use of search and in information selection. He has also investigated vendor supplied search interfaces for effective use in the academic market.
Contributors to the Beyond Alexa information service include:
The Beyond Alexa team provides a range of consulting and technical services. These include:
- Writing specifications for Alexa “skills” and Google Home applications
- Business analyses related to voice-enabled innovation
- Product and service testing and analyses
- Competitive intelligence related to products, services, and companies
- Acquisition target identification and analysis
- Advisory services related to the markets in which voice-enabled interfaces will migrate; for example, elder care, education, machine-to-person counseling, home automation, voice control of industrial equipment, etc.
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