“Alexa, what’s the news?”
“Alexa, dim the living room lights.”
“Alexa, ask Hoover Robot to start mission.”
Cyborgs have been dreaming about voice activated interactions with their technology since watching Captain Picard and the Star Trek: Next Generation crew access a plethora of information by simply starting off a sentence with “Computer…”
Amazon has delivered the hottest customer delight platform of the moment. Getting your news or controlling your home devices with a simple phrase while you stroll from room to room is the ultimate in convenience.
(Is it a little creepy that your technology is always listening to your conversations? Well, that’s a conversation for a different article!)
With Alexa running on 68% of smart speakers (according to data from Strategy Analytics), any brand that is looking to stay on trend will focus their efforts on developing Skills for the platform.
But a key question developers have is:
“Alexa, can I get paid for that?”
ALEXA’S VOICE COMMAND PLATFORM CURRENTLY LACKS A BUSINESS MODEL
Amazon has put its focus on creating a top notched experience for its users. Individual companies shoulder the cost of development and maintenance of the Skills while the content is free for users to consume.
But developers currently lack a viable way of recouping their investment in the platform. Amazon adjusted its policy to prevent advertising within Skills or on the skills home page, essentially shutting down a budding interactive ad network service from VoiceLabs back in June 2017.
Companies with a retail model currently have the possibility of profiting from its’ Alexa skill. For example, I can easily order a pie from one of my favorite spots, Jet City Pizza. But with only rudimentary analytics provided by Amazon, it can be challenging for them to accurately tally the percentage of orders that are coming through the platform or assess the total value of maintaining their Skill.
Amazon has tried to address the concern by beginning to give out cash rewards to top performing Skills but that leaves a lot of content creators uncompensated. Recently, Jeopardy! became the first Skill maker to receive access to create content for premium subscribers.
It’s hard to know when others will be given that opportunity, what revenue could potentially look like, or how consumers will respond to having to pay for more. Essentially, it will be a little while longer before developers can predict their income from this channel.
IS IT WORTH IT TO DEVELOP FOR THE ALEXA PLATFORM?
Without a clear path to calculating ROI, brands are right to closely examine whether or not to invest in developing Skills for Alexa, or other voice activated platforms such as Google Home, or Apple’s HomePod. Small and micro businesses in particular may see the opportunity as cost prohibitive for them to compete in this area.
But for companies looking to increase their market saturation with cyborg customers, it is important to be everywhere their audience is. Today’s consumers expect their favorite brands to be accessible to them everywhere they are and on every device they own.
Developing for this platform is best suited for companies for whom innovation is a core value. For those who thrive on creating customer delight and meeting consumer expectations before they even ask for it.
If you are considering your options for creating customer delight on web, mobile, trending, and emerging platforms, talk to us here at Cyborg Mobile. We are here to help you be everywhere your customers are in ways that benefits your bottom line.