The Power of Voice

The Power of Voice

I clicked off the TV and immediately the family room was enveloped in complete darkness.

My husband and I giggled nervously at the anticipation of stubbed toes and bruised shins.

My son -- ever the show off -- was quick to help: "Ok Google, LUMOS."

Instantaneously, his cell phone lit up the room with a full-powered lamp.

Did he cast a magic spell (a la Harry Potter)?

Of course not. He simply used the power of his voice to control his smartphone.

And let's be clear: he didn't need to SEE his phone in order to make this work.

If you're like millions of consumer smartphone users, you too have come to love and rely on your ability to get help or information simply by asking your virtual assistant. Whether that's Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and/or Google. (Yes, some people have multiple devices!)

What once seemed like science fiction (or in my son's case, fantasy), is now a modern-day reality thanks to advances in artificial intelligence.

But what it is about our voices that make these advances so powerful? Let's take a look…

Our brains are wired to speak, not to write or type

In the past when I worked with clients who struggled to write content for their business websites, one of the questions I often started with was: Do you find it easier to talk through something with a friend or do you prefer to write down your thoughts in a journal?

Nine times out of ten, those who struggle to write told me they had no problem speaking their thoughts.

This is because the human brain has evolved over tens of thousands of years to communicate via speech.

About 100,000 years ago, our species developed the capacity for language. And any child, unless neurologically impaired or hearing impaired, will learn to talk. By the time a child is 10 months old, they've already learned how to recognize the speech sounds (or phonemes) of the language spoken by their caregivers; and by the time they're two, they're speaking simple sentences.

They do all of this mostly ON THEIR OWN. (We don't need to teach them how.)

Reading and writing on the other hand, require a teacher. And mastering the skill can take sometimes take a few decades.

In addition, a person who has trouble writing a grammatically correct sentence, may have zero trouble speaking that same sentence aloud. (And vice versa) This is because in the brain, writing and talking are independent systems, something discovered in 2015 by a team led by Johns Hopkins University cognitive scientist Brenda Rapp. 

We (usually) speak faster than we can type

Most humans average about 150 words per minute when talking. Veteran typists hover at just 90 words per minute. How fast can you type?

And while speed isn't necessarily more important than accuracy, we do know that on average, it takes less time to give information verbally than it does to power up a device, open an app, and type and send that same message.

Here at Skillsai, we did our own testing and found that speech saves 70% (or more!) of your time over using a desktop computer or your phone to access information.

We can (usually) speak and work with our hands at the same time

As long as the motor skill you want to use is something that doesn't require higher cognitive function, speaking while doing shouldn't be an issue.

Have you ever held a conversation with a passenger in your car while you were driving? Talked on the phone while cooking dinner? Had a discussion at work while taking notes or arranging papers?

Of course you have. We all do it. Some of us better than others...

What this means for your business

As we develop better and faster AI, our ability to use our voices to access and create information also becomes easier.

And with the trend toward Calm Technology -- where the aim is to create tech that doesn't intrude on or distract us from our work and lives -- our ability to interact with our surroundings sans screens and keyboards becomes ever closer to reality.

When technology becomes invisible, we're better able to focus on the task at hand. We don't have to learn how to use it, it just works. And it works because it's natural.

Those of us who love and use our virtual assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant daily understand how useful these voice interfaces can be. Already, more than 20% of queries to Google are done via voice.

Voice can also extend the power of computing to people who are unable, for one reason or another, to use screens and keyboards.

That's why we're so focused on our SalesTalk product, and bringing the power of voice to your workplace.

Just as you might ask an administrative assistant to get you the latest sales data, you'll soon be able to ask your virtual assistant to do the same.

Sound useful? Get an up-close-and-personal taste when you join our beta test group. You learn more here. 

IoT Security: Protect Yourself from Hackers

IoT Security Tips 

With the growth of IoT (Internet of Things) and connected devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, people are starting to wonder, “Do these devices make me vulnerable to a hacker?”

Security of our wi-fi connected devices is absolutely something that we need to think and talk about, but it isn’t something we should inherently fear.  

Think like a Chess Player: How to Analyze Your eCommerce Data and Strategize for Success

chess player strategy

Did you know that the rock band Rise Against wrote a song called "Kotov Syndrome"? 

Kotov Syndrome is a chess term coined by the grandmaster Alexander Kotov. It's what happens when a player thinks for an overly long time about a very complicated position; so much so that they forget that time is passing and then finally make a move that they'd hardly analyzed...which turns out to be a blunder. 

Love Alexa...Or Fear Her?

 love fear amazon alexLast week we were fortunate to have Téa Silvestre Godfrey (@TeaSilvestre) join Skillsai as Director of Marketing. A published author, award-winning blogger and all-round awesome woman, we know well how much creativity and small business expertise she brings to the company-we be so lucky!

Of course, every new person receives an Amazon Echo™ when they join our team, and she got hers delivered this week.

She quickly set it up and then headed to Facebook for more real world research. Being the amazing marketer she is, she posed a question to her (many) friends and followers about what they liked, or didn’t like, about Alexa. 

13 Best Alexa Skills for eCommerce and Small Business Owners

Best Business Skills

Busy business owners know that every second counts. 

Which is why using Amazon’s Alexa® in your office can help you cut up to 70% of the time you spend logging in to your accounts to access your business information or to perform biz-related tasks.

If you’ve ever wondered why you should put an Echo in your office, wonder no more. 

Skillsai Winter 2017 Giveaway

Amazon Echo™ Giveaway: Enter to Win!

amazon echo alexa giveawayBe among the first to try our SalesTalk virtual business assistant with audible (and visual) reporting. To learn more about the product and our company, please visit us at

Enter to win an Amazon Echo™, Amazon Echo Dot™, or TrackR™ device. Once logged into the entry form, you'll be able to enter four ways:

  1. Answer a question. (Tell us your biggest challenge around getting and using your business data.)
  2. Follow us on Twitter.
  3. Subscribe free to our SoundBytes eNewsletter.
  4. Like us on Facebook and comment on any of our posts there.

World's First Audible Business Information Product Seeks Beta Testers

SalesTalk, your Virtual Business Assistant, is here!

best test ear

Are you an eCommerce store owner looking to save time and money managing your business?

If you're using Stripe as your payment gateway or the WooCommerce platform to run your store, we would love to talk with you! We've launched an invitation-only Beta Program to kick off the world's first audible Business Intelligence solution.

With SalesTalk, you save more than 70% of the time it takes through traditional computing methods to get the data you need to run your business. And with reports like Cost-to-Ship or Order Conversion, you also save money.

How is all that possible? Through the Power of Voice

Return to Sender: Intelligent Customer Service Policies

elvis sings to a happy crowd

Your customer returns things for all kinds of reasons.

Maybe he thinks it wasn't what was pictured in your store. Perhaps it was all shook up and arrived broken or missing a part. Could be just because she's suffering from buyer's remorse, or any one of a dozen other reasons why she wants her money back. How do you respond? What is your policy for returns?

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Sound Bytes is where you'll find posts on a wide variety of topics. From news and info on the Amazon Echo™ to other areas we're interested in including Small Business, Education, Technology and Artificial Intelligence, Sound Bytes is an eclectic mix of content. We'll discuss our latest product releases, share our technical and business expertise, and tons of other cool stuff like our monthly giveaways! We hope you'll subscribe and share your thoughts with us as well.

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