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2019 Alexa Conference Program

Tuesday, January 15

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM, Ballroom Prefunction

Registration / Networking Continental Breakfast

8:30 AM, Ballroom


Bradley Metrock (Producer, VoiceFirst Events; Host, This Week In Voice)

8:40 AM - 9:25 AM, Ballroom

Session # 102


What the Data Say:

Trends Shaping Phase 2 of Global Voice Assistant Adoption

Bret Kinsella (Editor, Voicebot.AI)

Voice assistant adoption has entered a new phase. In this session, Bret Kinsella reviews the consumer voice usage data from 2017-18, show how it indicates an end to the first phase of voice assistant adoption, how it presages the second phase, and how companies need to adjust. Market size, consumer use cases, and patterns of use (and non-use) will be presented.

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM, Ballroom

Session # 103

Bringing Voice To Healthcare With Alexa

Sandhya Pruthi, M.D. (General Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic)

Voice is transforming the ways we can reach patients and healthcare consumers, impact their lives, improve compliance, reduce hospitalization, and more! It’s an exciting time to be a part of changing the care continuum, leveraging advances in technology and engagement platforms. Join us for a perspective from one of the world’s leading academic medical centers to get a glimpse into the future of voice and healthcare.

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM, Exhibit Hall C

The Alexa World Fair (exhibit hall) Opens, Presented By VoiceFirst.FM

Review of Exhibits

10:10 AM - 10:40 AM

Session # 104CS, The Alexa Conference Theatre, within the Exhibit Hall

Privakey Case Study:

"Alexa, Transfer $10,000" -

Enabling Higher-Value Skills with Strong Authorization

Brian Ross (Vice President, Products & Services, Privakey)

We’ll be sharing a case study on how our client, SEI Investments, is securing high value/high risk Alexa interactions that include PII, financial information, personal data, and transactions. We’ll demo our technology that enables secure ways for their clients to interact with Alexa and expand what they were able to offer through voice, without compromising experience. If you’re not in financial services, don’t worry – our solutions work across industries for a variety of B2B and B2C interactions.

10:45 AM - 12:30 PM


An  insightful collection of best practices, cutting-edge insights, insider tips, and useful tools. The four areas of focus include Alexa in Storytelling, Healthcare, Consumer Marketing, and Smart Home. [Breakout sessions continue after lunch, from 2:45-3:30pm]

Alexa + Storytelling, Presented By Magic + Co.:

10:45 AM - 11:30 AM, Meeting Room 12

Session # 112

Connected Play with Alexa

Val Vacante (Managing Partner, Collabsco)

With an anticipated growth of 200% in the next five years, connected play is more than fun and games. In this session, Valerie Vacante shares her perspective on the connected play landscape: what it is, how it has evolved, emerging tech trends, and voice experiences leading the way in creating new ways for a new generation to play, learn, and explore the world.

11:30 AM - 11:45 AM, Exhibit Hall C

Coffee and Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM, Meeting Room 12

Session # 122

Capturing Attention: Using Alexa To Tell Stories

Amy Stapleton (Co-Founder, Tellables)

Is Alexa just a smart radio? Or can writers and brands leverage voice assistants to engage audiences in completely new ways? This session examines strategies for transforming voice assistants into conversational storytellers, and what that transformation means for the future of stories.

Alexa + Healthcare, Presented By The Intelligent Health Association:

10:45 AM - 11:30 AM, Meeting Room 13

Session # 113


Aging In Place with Voice Technology

Matt Cybulsky, Ph.D. (Founder and Chief Consultant, IONIA Behavioral Insights)

Kari Olson (Chief Innovation & Technology Officer, Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing)

Laurie Orlov (Principal Analyst, Aging in Place Technology Watch)

Stuart Patterson (CEO, Lifepod Solutions)

Moderator: David Metcalf, Ph.D.  (Director, METIL, UCF Institute for Simulation and Training)

Voice technology, or more properly, voice-first technology, is already deeply impacting several areas of modern healthcare. One of these is how we, as a society, manage our aging populations. This panel as part of The Alexa Conference will highlight best practices within this specific realm of healthcare, as well as some of the challenges still confronting its implementation.

11:30 AM - 11:45 AM, Exhibit Hall C

Coffee and Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM, Meeting Room 13

Session # 123


VoiceFirst Health -

How Voice Assistants Are Reshaping Healthcare

Carrie Liken (Head of Industry, Healthcare, Yext)

David Metcalf, Ph.D.  (Director, METIL, UCF Institute for Simulation and Training)

Harry P. Pappas (Founder, Intelligent Health Association)

Nate Treloar (President, Orbita)

Moderator: Teri Fisher, M.D. (Founder, VoiceFirst Health and Alexa in Canada)

Voicefirst technology is already starting to impact healthcare delivery in multiple locations, from the home to the clinic, from the emergency room to the operating room. During this panel, we will discuss how the technology is disrupting healthcare delivery in many different areas, and provide some examples of the technology that will impact patients in profound ways. 

Alexa + Consumer Marketing:

10:45 AM - 11:30 AM, Meeting Room 14

Session # 114

Keys to Solving the Top Problems of Voice Testing

Emerson Sklar (Technical Evangelist, Applause)

Voice is the new mobile, and skills and actions are the new killer apps. Every consumer-facing brand should be ready to jump on board with voice; but first, these brands must ensure they are providing the best user experience possible. Find out how you can deliver unique and seamless voice experiences that are relevant and functionally sound for real users everywhere – regardless of location, language, dialect, or device.


11:30 AM - 11:45 AM, Exhibit Hall C

Coffee and Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM

Session # 124, Meeting Room 14

How to Crawl into Your Customer's Ear

Emily Binder (Voice Marketing Strategist, Beetle Moment Marketing)

Voice technology is in its infancy today. Just as cell phones went from simple bricks to powerful pocket screens, smart speakers and the voice assistants that power them will advance and change the way we compute, learn, and buy all over again. For brands and marketers, understanding the importance of voice search is one step, but providing value and differentiation sonically will be the way to win.

Alexa + Smart Home:

10:45 AM - 11:30 AM, Meeting Room 15

Session # 115

PANEL: Voice-First Tools Of The Trade

Milkana Brace (CEO, Jargon)

Jonathon Myers (CEO, Earplay)

Abhishek Suthan (CEO, Pulse Labs)

Moderator: Bradley Metrock (Producer, VoiceFirst Events; Host, This Week In Voice)

Creating your own Alexa skill, whether for yourself, or your company? What types of tools, processes, and workflows are involved in creating high quality voice-first experiences? This panel will discuss how some of the greatest Alexa skills are conceived, executed, and refined, and the growing ecosystem of companies that are supporting developers and creators in this journey.

11:30 AM - 11:45 AM, Exhibit Hall C

Coffee and Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM, Meeting Room 15

Session # 125

PANEL: How Alexa Makes a Smart Home Smarter

Obaid Ahmed (Founder, Botmock)

Stuart Crane (Founder/CEO, Voice Metrics)

Patrick Kelly (Chief Revenue Officer, Privakey)

Moderator: Bradley Metrock (Producer, VoiceFirst Events; Host, This Week In Voice)

One of the most useful aspects of any voice assistant, including Amazon's Alexa, is the ability to conversationally engage with technology around the home. This panel, consisting of experts from across the world, will discuss best practices we've seen with regard to Alexa driving smart home innovation, some of the challenges that remain, and the overall outlook for smart home development throughout 2019.

12:30 PM - 1:35 PM, Ballroom

Luncheon, sponsored by EPB

Session # 126

Luncheon Keynote Presentation:

Welcome to Chattanooga!

The Honorable Andy Berke, Mayor of the City of Chattanooga

Hogden Mainda, Vice President, Community Development, EPB

1:35 PM - 2:45 PM, Exhibit Hall C

Review of exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

1:40 PM - 2:10 PM

Session # 128CS, The Alexa Conference Theatre, within the Exhibit Hall

Voicify Case Study:

Support for Pet Parents - On the Right Voice Devices!

Nick Laidlaw (Chief Technology Officer, Voicify)

Amy Starnes (Director, Digital Engagement, Best Friends Animal Society)

Learn how Best Friends Animal Society is leveraging Voicify to bring pet support to voice and virtual assistants. You’ll see how Best Friends worked through what and how their voice engagement could be, choosing a path to bring voice to market and considerations in the process itself.

2:15 PM - 2:40 PM

Session # 129CS, The Alexa Conference Theatre, within the Exhibit Hall

Building Engaging Voice Apps with Microsoft AI and

Pre-Built Machine Learning Models

Noelle LaCharite

In this session you’ll learn how to take a simple Alexa skill and add some of Microsoft’s pre-built machine learning models to create engaging and delightful experiences for Alexa. We’ll show you how to create FAQ skills in minutes, leverage text analytics, sentiment analysis, cognitive search, and even respond with Neural TTS for an even more natural-sounding response. 



Alexa + Storytelling, Presented By Magic + Co.:

2:45 PM - 3:30 PM, Meeting Room 12

Session # 132

PANEL: Podcasting, in the Age of Alexa

Steven Goldstein (CEO, Amplifi Media)

Gal Klein (Co-Founder and CTO, Audioburst)

Mari Lescaille (Producer, VoiceFirst Weekly)

Wilson Standish (Director of Voice, Gimlet Media)

Moderator: Bradley Metrock (Producer, VoiceFirst Events; Host, This Week In Voice)

Podcasting, as a medium, is surging. More and more people are discovering podcasts as a fantastic way to enjoy new stories and take in new information. The rise of voice assistants and smart speakers has made podcasts even more accessible, providing more listeners with more opportunities to immerse themselves in these audio experiences. What are the best practices in the marketplace for how voice-first technology is integrated with podcasts? What should podcasters, and any person or company getting into podcasting as a marketing device, be thinking about with these young voice ecosystems? How will podcasts merge with AI-based assistants, like Amazon's Alexa, over time? This panel will explore these issues, and several others.

Alexa + Healthcare, Presented By The Intelligent Health Association:

2:45 PM - 3:30 PM, Meeting Room 13

Session # 133

Alexa in Healthcare:

6 Real Applications from the Past, Present, and Future

Nate Treloar (President & COO, Orbita)

Since Alexa launched in late 2014, interest in the voice assistant for healthcare applications has been on a high simmer, with only the lack of HIPAA-compliance preventing it from being a full-on roiling boil. In this session, you’ll hear about the progress that has been made in bringing voice into the world of healthcare, through the perspective of six specific example applications that range from the mundane to the far-out. Prepare yourself for an engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking foray into the world of voice-powered virtual healthcare.  

Alexa + Consumer Marketing:

2:45 PM - 3:30 PM, Meeting Room 14

Session # 134

The Art of Creating Alexa Skills for Brands

Doug Robinson (CEO, Fresh Digital Group)

Brands have been slow to launch voice applications to date, but in 2019, they may not have a choice.  As we enter phase two of voice, brands must take the medium seriously. Brand loyalty, and awareness challenges are everywhere, and the use cases in voice are still being developed at a time where 50% of consumers are engaging with devices daily looking for utility, time hacks and new ways to get through the day. In this session, we'll look why brands must act, identify low hanging fruit for them to attract audiences to their voice applications, how to show direct ROI and how to gain advantage over their competitors.

Alexa + Smart Home:

2:45 PM - 3:30 PM, Meeting Room 15

Session # 135

PANEL: Disrupting And Re-defining The American Home With Voice

Judy Mod (Founder & CEO, Innovations Domain)

It wasn’t too long ago (well, actually 57 years ago) that the original concept of what a “Smart Home” could be – was defined by the TV show “The Jetsons.” Now it’s no longer foreign to us to have video phones, microwaves for automatic food preparation, or robots to do our vacuuming. But talking to our home – that’s the next frontier. This session will review some of the new and exciting innovations in voice that are already finding their way into our homes – focusing on their acceleration + application + adoption – looking at this from both the consumer and corporation’s point-of-view. Are you ready? 

3:30 PM - 4:05 PM, Exhibit Hall C

Coffee and Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

3:35 PM - 4:00 PM

Session # 136CS, The Alexa Conference Theatre, within the Exhibit Hall

Front Porch Case Study:

Voice First: A Platform to Enable Older Adult Engagement

Davis Park (Executive Director, Front Porch Center for Innovation & Wellbeing)

This case study will provide an overview of the impact of Voice First and how it transformed the lives of older adults and the community they live in. This pilot project helped set the stage for the expansion of Voice First technologies in senior living communities and its adoption among older adults.

4:05 PM - 4:40 PM, Ballroom

Session # 141

Voice, a Year of Emerging Opportunities, and the Connected Car

Katie McMahon (VP and GM, SoundHound Inc.)

This session will explore what opportunities have emerged strongly for Voice in the past year and then focus on the new paradigm for Voice in cars. As the auto industry becomes reimagined with cloud-connected vehicles, the in-car voice experience can shape mass market behavior and user experience norms, elevating the expectation for natural, conversational interfaces that perform consistently and also enable brand differentiation.

4:45 PM - 5:15 PM, Ballroom

Session # 142

What If?

Brian Roemmele (Editor, Founder & CEO, Multiplex Magazine)

Renowned Silicon Valley technologist Brian Roemmele, who coined the term "voice-first" and has developed voice-first technology over the last thirty years, will lead a special Alexa Conference-exclusive talk that you will not want to miss.

5:20 PM - 5:55 PM, Ballroom

Session # 143

Alexa and Entertainment:  Alexa's Groundbreaking Opportunity

Nolan Bushnell (CEO, X2 Games)

Zai Ortiz (President, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, X2 Games)

Legendary entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell (Atari, Chuck E. Cheese) and prolific Hollywood visual designer Zai Ortiz (Iron Man, Mission Impossible, Tron: Legacy) have joined forces to produce games ... for Alexa. Find out how they view the emergence of voice technology, and how they plan on developing unforgettable interactive experiences for the platform.

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Exhibit Hall C


Food, drink, and a selection of The Alexa Awards announced! (The rest will be published Wednesday evening on this website as well as via press release.)

Wednesday, January 16

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM, Ballroom Prefunction

Registration / Networking Continental Breakfast

8:30 AM

Breakout tracks begin; exhibit hall opens

Alexa + Storytelling, Presented By Magic + Co.:

8:30 AM - 9:15 AM, Meeting Room 12

Session # 202

PANEL: The Art of Creating a Powerful Voice Experience

Jason Fields (Chief Strategy Officer, Voicify)

Neha Javalagi (VUI Designer, Witlingo)

Amanda Scherker (Head of VUI Design, Magic + Co.)

Moderator: Bradley Metrock (Producer, VoiceFirst Events; Host, This Week In Voice)

The art of creating a value-added, memorable voice experience that compels the user to return to it multiple times is not well understood. This panel, consisting of some of the leading minds in the industry today, will share their thoughts on designing for voice assistants, best practices they've seen implemented by others, and what the future holds as this market rapidly develops over 2019.

9:15 AM -10:00 AM, Meeting Room 12

Session # 212

Novel Effect: Using Voice To Re-Write The Rules Of Storytelling And Publishing

Matt Hammersley (CEO and Co-Founder, Novel Effect)

In an era where content is king, voice provides an entirely new avenue for development, innovation and growth. Join Novel Effect’s CEO Matthew Hammersley as he explores the opportunities for enhanced storytelling in our increasingly voice-driven world, walking through the creative process, as well as going beyond the book to discuss applications for voice technology in story-driven entertainment categories such as interactive video and games.

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM, Exhibit Hall C

Coffee and Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

10:30 AM - 11:15 AM, Meeting Room 12

Session # 222

Creating Experiences That Stick:

Voice Experience Design in 2019

James Poulter (CEO, Vixen Labs)

In this session, James Poulter will talk through the key points to building “sticky” experiences in Voice that will keep consumers and business customers coming back. Sharing his experience from working at LEGO and the new principles Vixen is deploying for clients today, you’ll learn about what it looks like to build great Voice-first experiences that deliver of your goals for 2019.

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM, Meeting Room 12

Session # 232

How Gimlet Media Uses Voice To Create 21st-Century Narrative

Wilson Standish (Director of Voice, Gimlet Media)

As podcasts and voice continue their meteoric growth, the intersection of the two is inevitable. Hear from Gimlet Media's Director of Voice about the implications of podcasting products coming to Alexa and Google Home, and what new content types will be invented as a result of the new voice medium. Gimlet creates popular podcasts like "Replay All," "Crime Town" and "Science Vs." – and is developing new content specifically for smart speakers like the award-winning "Chompers" and interactive podcast extensions "Finding Dolores."


Alexa + Healthcare, Presented By The Intelligent Health Association:

8:30 AM - 9:15 AM, Meeting Room 13

Session # 203

The Role of Voice Assistance in Healthcare

David Box (Accounts & Business Development Director, US Healthcare, Macadamian Technologies)

Stuart Patterson (CEO, Lifepod Solutions)

This session features two insightful perspectives:

Increasing Patient Engagement & Improving Outcomes: Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Home have made speaking to our devices a part of everyday life. Join David Box as he delves into how voice is being integrated with Healthcare applications to increase patient engagement and improve outcomes. He will walk through use cases to demonstrate challenges, benefits; along with design, development and HIPAA compliance tips and tricks associated with voice interface-based solutions.


Turning Virtual Assistants into Virtual Caregivers shows how the addition of proactive-voice services under the control of caregivers will revolutionize the connected healthcare and elderly care markets. Stuart Patterson describes how micro-dialogs initiated by a smart speaker are solving the historical shortcomings of mobile device-based services by ensuring constant and frequent user engagement and enabling users to just speak naturally. Recent user stories will be used to illustrate how voice-first virtual caregiver services benefit elderly and chronically ill users in their homes while simultaneously providing valuable data and peace of mind to their remote caregivers.

9:15 AM - 10:00 AM, Meeting Room 13

Session # 213


Real-World Use Cases for Alexa in Healthcare

David Box (Accounts & Business Development Director, US Healthcare, Macadamian Technologies)

Michael Eakins (Creative Lead, METIL, UCF Institute for Simulation and Training)

Joyce Even (Vice Chair, Content Management & Delivery, Global Business Solutions, Mayo Clinic)

Ken Sakal (CEO, Vohesu)

Moderator: Harry P. Pappas (Founder, Intelligent Health Association)

How is Alexa changing patient care and safety? How is it affecting the patient experience in and out of the hospital? How is Alexa impacting on healthcare processes? This panel showcases the real-world experiences of thought leaders who are using Alexa in a clinical / medical setting. Hear first-hand how to leverage this technology in your facility. 

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM, Exhibit Hall C

Coffee and Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

10:30 AM - 11:15 AM, Meeting Room 13

Session # 223

Medical Voice Technology:

In Professional Settings and in Your Home

This session features two excellent perspectives:

Voice Technology in Professional Settings explores the exciting potential for voice technology combined with Robotics, Holographic CoPilots, and Advanced Medical Equipment. The waiting room, surgical suite, and even the airplane are changing because of advances in voice interaction and natural language processing. You’ll see examples from Orlando Health, Real View Imaging, Boeing, and Tesla that use voice to enhance other professional technologies.

David Metcalf, Ph.D. (Director, METIL, UCF Institute for Simulation and Training)

No Appointment Necessary: Your Healthcare Team Now Lives in your Home outlines how, for the first time ever, the power of artificial intelligence (AI) is allowing computers to understand the most natural form of communication: our voices. In the near future, each of us will speak with our own personal live-in AI healthcare teams that know our intimate medical details - chronic conditions, fitness levels, nutrition habits, medications, emotions, family histories, and more. Voice-enabled AI "healthcare teams” will move into our homes and provide us with 24/7/365 personalized medical care in our living spaces - our own on-demand personalized medical clinics.

Teri Fisher, M.D. (Founder, Voice First Health and Alexa in Canada)

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM, Meeting Room 13

Session # 233

Voice in Healthcare Innovations:

Intelligent Homes, Voice of the Patient, and More

Two insightful perspectives:

Voice in Healthcare Research: an overview of the innovative ways that voice technology is integrated into the research conducted at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation & Training, Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab (METIL). Use cases covered include intelligent homes, clinical settings, and mobile training environments.

Michael Eakins (Creative Lead, METIL, UCF Institute for Simulation and Training)

Voice of the Patient: Can You Hear Me Now? Voice technology provides a unique opportunity to finally “hear” the voice of your patients. However, it requires a new approach to solution delivery. Opportunities to hear your patient must be built into your solution during design. Also, once your voice application has “gone live,” you must invest the time and resources into "listening" to your patients. The uniqueness of voice applications is that they are conversational, and as with all communication, we must both talk and listen. Learn strategies for building Voice of Patient opportunities into your solution and how to

Ken Sakal (CEO, Vohesu)

Alexa + Consumer Marketing:

8:30 AM - 9:15 AM, Meeting Room 14

Session # 204

Alexa Skills And Government: How Mississippi Led The Way

Drew Levanway (Director of Operations, Mississippi Interactive)

Dana Wilson (General Manager, Mississippi Interactive)

Governments at all levels are embracing conversational technology as a means of making information about services more readily available to constituents. At the state level, Mississippi was an early adopter of Amazon Alexa, embracing the technology as far back as early 2016. This discussion will focus on lessons learned, the public’s reception, and the potential of voice assistants in the government space.  

9:15 AM - 10:00 AM, Meeting Room 14

Session # 214

Beyond The Slots: Voice Search on Alexa Skills

Dustin Coates (Voice Search Lead, Algolia)

This session will look at how to add search to your Alexa skills. Every skill that serves information up to users needs search to find the right information, for the right user, at the right time. Voice has unique opportunities, and unique challenges. We'll discuss lessons from the field to build search in your skill that users want to come back to.

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM, Exhibit Hall C

Coffee and Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

10:30 AM - 11:15 AM, Meeting Room 14

Session # 224

Alexa Skill Developer Tools: Build Better Skills Faster

Paul Cutsinger (Head of Alexa Voice Design Education, Amazon)

Dylan Zwick (Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Pulse Labs)

In this session, learn about the suite of developer tools offered by the Alexa Skills team and dive into how they can help you be more productive in coding, deploying, testing, debugging, and collaborating with others on your skill.

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM, Meeting Room 14

Session # 234

MyPetDoc: The Journey To Helping Pets and Pet Owners With Alexa

Cal Lai (Chairman and CEO, Vet24seven)

The veterinary industry has been slow to adopt technology and pet owners are frustrated. Today’s pet parents, especially millennials, are closer than ever to their pets and when they have a question or concern, they want answers immediately. Cal Lai started MyPetDoc with the goal of bringing veterinarians closer to their clients and to provide pet owners with expert pet health advice when and where they need it. We first created Ask.Vet, a successful direct messaging service connecting pet owners to veterinarians. Through Ask.Vet, we were able to collect data from 35,000+ engagements, providing the framework to build MyPetDoc – the world’s first voice-driven AI SmartVet.

With AI machine learning from those 35,000 interactions, MyPetDoc for Amazon Alexa is able to provide pet owners with natural language, two-way dialog about their pet health worry. The addition of voice enables unprecedented continuity of care to the life of a pet. In general, the clear outcome is a broad refocusing of the veterinary field to no longer be solely focused on the doctor, but to be engineered around what the pet and pet owner need to bolster: the Human-Animal Bond. Voice AI extends the level of access to veterinary expertise in an accurate and personalized manner – getting the help they need, right in their own home.

Alexa + Smart Home:

8:30 AM - 9:15 AM, Meeting Room 15

Session # 205

Off-Premise Operations: How Alexa Is Changing How We Order Food

Mo Asgari (President, Monkey Group)

Today’s technology stack for foodservice operators is evolving rapidly, and it is a critical priority to connect the dots to support on-demand multi-channel transactions. Whether those transactions are originating through online, mobile, or voice, operators need a technology stack comprised of best of breed tools to elevate their takeout, delivery, and catering service channels – a real-time experience for customers, foodservice operations, and distribution logistics. This session will provide guidance on building the technology stack which enables for seamless customer experiences, and provides operational efficiencies to manage a scalable off-premise program.

9:15 AM - 10:00 AM, Meeting Room 15

Session # 215

The Impact Of Repealing Net Neutrality On Alexa And IoT

Radhika Kanaskar (MIS Honors Student, University of Connecticut)

In this insightful session, Radhika Kanaskar will share the findings of her honors thesis research on Net Neutrality and its future implications on Internet of Things devices such as the Amazon Alexa. She will discuss the parallels between ISPs from the past and Technology Corporations of today. She will also discuss where the regulations of these technologies might possibly be heading in the future, and how it will potentially change how we interact with them. 

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM, Exhibit Hall C

Coffee and Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

10:30 AM - 11:15 AM, Meeting Room 15

Session # 225

A Skill for Super Smash Bros?

Making Domain-Specific Knowledge Available through Alexa

Lucas Wonderley (Senior Software Developer, SAP)

How can we use Alexa to access specific, real-world knowledge? To find out, Lucas Wonderley created a skill that helps you learn about Super Smash Bros. It targets the competitive Smash community and provides intuitive, convenient access to information – an edge that can be the difference between winning and losing. Lucas will share lessons on building a conversational interface for specialized knowledge to benefit experts and enthusiasts. These insights can help you deliver a rich voice experience and set your brand apart.

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM, Meeting Room 15

Session # 235

The Role Of Hearables In A Voice-First World

Dave Kemp (Business Development Manager, Oaktree Products)

This session explores the ongoing transformation that our ear-worn devices are experiencing as they transition from “dumb” devices into ear-worn computers (hearables). Headphone and hearing aid technology have progressed significantly across recent years, allowing for the devices to now support a host of new use cases, including biometric data monitoring, live-language translation, voice assistant integration, and programmatic adjustments based on machine learning. As we increasingly come to depend on our smart assistants and continue to offload more “jobs” from our smartphones and the app-economy to our smart assistants, it makes sense that we’ll want an always-available access point to our smart assistant(s). What better a place for that access point than our ear-worn computers that are simultaneously maturing in their own right?

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM, Ballroom


Session #241, Featured luncheon presentation:

What's New With Amazon Alexa

Paul Cutsinger (Head of Alexa Voice Design Education, Amazon)

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM, Exhibit Hall C

Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

1:20 PM - 1:50 PM

Session # 242CS, The Alexa Conference Theatre, within the Exhibit Hall

Case Study by Pound 250, America's Mobile Speed Dial:

You Want 100% Penetration, Don't You? We've Got It.

Dave Robinett (CMO, #250 - America's Mobile Speed Dial)

Remember when some mobile apps were only available on iPhone and not Android? Did you know 20-25% of mobile users still don’t (any may never) have smartphones (making your app useless)? Do you think a single Voice AI will be in every automobile in the US? (no) This is called fragmentation, which presents a challenge for brands to offer a consistent user interface for all consumers. Come learn how #250 provides a uniform voice interface to brands across the US and Canada today (no app required). It works on virtually all mobile phones in North America right now – and we can extend that reach to your Voice AI.

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM, Ballroom

Session # 251

Why Parents Should Be Wary of Echo Dot Kids

Melissa Campbell (Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood)

In May of 2018, Amazon released Echo Dot Kids, a smart speaker specifically designed for children. But does "designed for children" mean "good for children"? By exploring the intersections of play, corporate marketing, surveillance, and healthy child development, this talk offers a valuable critical perspective on Amazon and Alexa's role in the lives of children and families.

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM, Ballroom

Session # 252

Brands Are Making Money on Voice:

The Past, Present, and Future

Ben Fisher (Founder and CEO, Magic + Co.)

A brief history of brands' relationship to Alexa, from the perspective of voice consultancy Magic+ Co. Magic works as a strategic designer and executor on behalf of many different companies in many different industries, from the music industry, to top CPG brands, to energy utilities and hospitals. 


Ben Fisher talks about how brands can achieve their goals on voice within the context of a full marketing funnel that creates a great first impression and then a recurring loyalty experience, ultimately driving sales and building meaningful relationships between brands and customers. Also covered: future customer expectations for brands on the voice assistants, and about yet another wave of corporate disruption saying that the voice revolution is fundamentally different in both its origins and future impact to the digital transformation disruption of the last decade. 


3:00 PM - 3:40 PM, Exhibit Hall C

Coffee and Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

3:05 PM - 3:35 PM

Session # 253CS, The Alexa Conference Theatre, within the Exhibit Hall

Sermo Labs Case Study:

Learn the Secrets of Building Top-Trending Alexa Skills

Shanthan Kesharaju (Founder, Sermo Labs)

Building a successful Alexa skill requires a right blend of development, architecture, user experience, and marketing skills. In this case study, I will go over my journey of creating successful Alexa skills like 1-2-3 Math and World Mathematics League that made it to the Alexa Skills of the year 2018.

3:45 PM - 4:15 PM, Ballroom

Session # 254

PANEL: How The Alexa Accelerator Has Changed Voice Technology

Milkana Brace (Founder and CEO, Jargon)

Matt Hammersley (Co-Founder and CEO, Novel Effect)

Rodrigo Prudencio (Alexa Fund)

Dylan Zwick (Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Pulse Labs)

Moderator: Bradley Metrock (Producer, VoiceFirst Events; Host, This Week In Voice)

In July of 2017, Amazon partnered with Techstars to introduce the Alexa Accelerator, an exciting new program designed to identify young companies either working currently with Amazon's Alexa ecosystem, or that had the potential to positively impact Alexa over a short-term horizon. With two cohorts of the Accelerator completed, and the participating companies making waves all over the world, this panel will share some of the experiences gained since it began, and the magnitude of the impact it has already managed to achieve.

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM, Ballroom

Session # 255


Finding Your Voice (With Voice)

Kesha Williams (Software Engineering Manager, Chick-fil-A Corporate)

We have only scratched the surface in exploiting the true power of voice technology. The world needs more developers and innovators pushing the boundaries of what is thought to be possible through voice. However, before pushing boundaries, you have to first find your own voice and then use technology to amplify that voice. When you find your voice, you not only leave your mark on the world, you inspire others to do the same.

5:20 PM, Ballroom

Session # 256

5 Startups Get 5 Minutes

Judges: Patrick Givens (VaynerMedia), Judy Mod (Innovations Domain), Rodrigo Prudencio (Alexa Fund)

5 startups creating products or services involving Alexa get 5 minutes each to speak. No slides, and if you go over 5 minutes, you're disqualified! The winner gets $2,500!

Participating companies:


Voice First Tech

Virtual Concierge Service


Sonic Cloud

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM


Southside Social (1818 Chestnut Street, Chattanooga TN 37408)

Thursday, January 17

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM, Ballroom Prefunction


8:30 AM - 12:00 PM, Exhibit Hall C

Alexa World Fair (exhibit hall) opens, Presented By VoiceFirst.FM

Including opening to public

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM


8:30 AM - 9:30 AM, Meeting Room 12

Session # 312

Use Alexa Skills to Buy Digital Content: A Workshop for In-Skill Purchasing

Paul Cutsinger (Head of Alexa Voice Design Education, Amazon)

In this hands-on workshop, you walk through the process of integrating in-skill purchasing in your Alexa skill, writing code, deploying to AWS Lambda, using the Alexa SDK to save state in Amazon DynamoDB, and finally, enabling products to be purchased with a user's voice. Leave this workshop with a working skill that you can modify to make your own. Bring your laptop.

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM, Meeting Room 13

Session # 313

Building Alexa Skills Without Coding!

Tahsim Ahmed

Alexa is developing and expanding at a rapid pace. With so many tools out there, don't get left behind. Come learn how to build and prototype your Alexa skills without knowing how to code. We'll look at the platforms to build Alexa applications, plus pros and cons of tools and their functional uses. This session is an all-around bootcamp to scale fast in the Alexa landscape without worrying too much about technicals.

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM, Meeting Room 14

Session # 314

Creating An Unforgettable Interactive Experience With Alexa

Jonathon Myers (CEO, Earplay)

Kat Zdan (Conversation Designer, Xandra)

How do Earplay and Xandra, award-winning creators of interactive stories and games, approach the task of creating Alexa voice experiences you won't soon forget? Every organization has a story to tell, and so every organization needs to understand how best to leverage Alexa and IoT to communicate most effectively. Earplay's CEO and co-founder Jon Myers, and Xandra Conversation Designer Kat Zdan will walk through, in this workshop, how Earplay and Xandra approach interactive storytelling and share with you the philosophies that can help you create more compelling, more memorable voice experiences that ultimately lead to stronger customer relationships.

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM, Meeting Room 15

Session # 315

Personalized Voice Marketing with AI-Generated Synthetic Audio

Anup Gosavi (Co-Founder, Spext)

Marketing teams have long relied on personalized text and video ads/ messaging to emotionally connect with their users. Data tells us that personalization works, but personalization tools are largely absent for voice. But synthetic audio (algorithmically-generated audio ) is changing all that. With synthetic audio, we can create millions of personalized versions of a single marketing message. In this talk, we’ll see a demo and the potential of this breakthrough technology.

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM, Exhibit Hall C

Review of Exhibits in The Alexa World Fair

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM



10:30 AM - 12:00 PM, Meeting Room 13

Session # 323

Alexa Presentation Language (APL): Understanding It And Deploying It

Cami Williams (Senior Alexa Evangelist, Amazon)

Paul Cutsinger (Head of Alexa Voice Design Education, Amazon)

Learn how the new Alexa Presentation Language (APL) makes it easy to develop interactive voice and touch experiences that are portable to any Alexa enabled device with a screen—tablets, TVs, Echo Show, Echo Spot, and more. Bring your laptop for this hands-on workshop.

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM, Meeting Room 14

Session # 324

Naming Your Alexa Skill, And Designing It To Keep Users Coming Back

Neha Javalagi (VUI Designer, Witlingo)

Brielle Nickoloff (VUX Researcher and Design, Witlingo)

In this workshop, we use the analogy of “bad first dates” and “failed engagements” to highlight the common pitfalls designers must avoid to design voice experiences that people enjoy – and, mostly importantly, come back to. We will discuss why so many voice interactions don’t go beyond the “first date.” Using the intimate dating experience as a metaphor, we will explore how the conventions of human-human interactions help us outline guiding principles for designing delightful and meaningful interactions.


Like first impressions, invocation names cannot be altered once they’re set. The name of your voice app is the first opportunity to connect and start a conversation with your user. We’ll discuss the key selection criteria for choosing the perfect invocation name. Choosing a name for your voice app is a strategic and creative process and we’ll highlight three key perspectives: Brand identity, Platform Capability, and Usability. First, we’ll discuss how to find a name that captures the essence of your brand and uniquely identifies it, while still making it memorable and evocative. Secondly, we’ll review platform-specific naming requirements and how to include sounds that are more likely to be correctly recognised by ASR systems. Finally, we'll talk about usability considerations such as ease of pronunciation, discoverability, cultural appropriateness, and more.


10:30 AM - 12:00 PM, Meeting Room 15

Session # 325

The Prime Real Estate of Voice: How to Create a Flash Briefing

Teri Fisher, M.D. (Founder, Voice First Health & Alexa in Canada)

Ever wish you could go back in time and be one of the first people to snap up some prime real estate for a fraction of what it costs today? Now is the opportunity to do just that … but in voice! A flash briefing is one of the best ways to build an audience, grow your business, promote your non-profit, or share your passion. And with only a few thousand out there today, the land grab for the first-to-market briefcasts is on! We’ll talk about why you should start a flash briefing now, how to create it, what equipment and software you should use, where to host your audio, and how to market your show, and even lay the foundation for your own briefcast. Get ready to become a flash briefing real estate tycoon!

12:00 PM


Closing remarks; prize announcements

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