It was the second holiday season the Amazon Echo devices were available for purchase, and the sales of their family of Alexa products went up ninefold since the previous season. Amazon’s press release tells us some seemingly innocuous facts from the holidays about some of the most requested Alexa calls (Most requested movies via Alexa were “Elf” and “Home Alone”). But they are really pointing to a much larger fact: Many of us have welcomed a powerful listener into the home, with many more to follow.
With an increasing popularity of these devices, there is much for technologists to learn about and from others who’ve been working with the technology. And what better way to bring them together than with a conference, an Alexa conference, to be exact? Yes, the first-ever Alexa Conference is coming, and it’s being held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 19-21.
Score Publishing, the company behind the iBooks Author Conference, is behind this newest event. “Our company has the mission of helping people become better interactive content creators. While our primary tool has been Apple’s iBooks Author, we have seen Alexa (and IoT in general) become an important consideration for all sorts of content creators, both individuals and organizations,” says Bradley Metrock, CEO of Score Publishing. “So that was the angle we approached getting involved with Alexa, which has a clear head start over other voice-enabled technologies, and has opened a new world for us.”
The programming for this three-day conference is almost complete, but their pick of keynote speaker has been getting quite a buzz. Metrock says that Alexa is so new as an emerging technology that there aren’t many clear-cut stories of Alexa development that would be great to highlight as a keynote of an event like the Alexa Conference. But he managed to snag someone many might recognize: Brian Kane, a UX/UI educator out of Rhode Island, who went viral for hacking Alexa into the Billy Bass fish. “Even more interesting is why he did it – to demonstrate that Alexa is flexible and robust enough to integrate into various pre-existing robotics schemes. He’s going to be a very interesting person to listen to and we’re grateful to have him join us.”
由 Brian Kane 发布于 2016年10月27日
In addition to speaker sessions, there is also an Alexathon, a hackathon focused on Alexa. “We want to provide an Alexa Conference experience that allows people to meet each other and form relationships, beyond just learning new aspects of the technology itself,” says Metrock. “We’re testing it with the Alexathon, which allows teams of four to work together to produce an Alexa skill within 24 hours and perhaps win a prize.” And Metrock says there is still spots available to attend the Alexathon, as well as the entire conference.
Metrock and Score Publishing team are looking forward to learning from not just the speakers at the Alexa Conference, but the attendees as well, and they plan to build this conference into a long-term event for Nashville and this thriving community.