Tapocketa live at London Book Fair

Trevor Young, Eleanor Long & Bee Kapitan

Fireside Podcast

We had the pleasure to be asked to guest on the popular podcast VoiceFirst hosted by Bradley Metrock.

We have done radio interviews before but this was our first podcast. Just to add to the mix, it was live and it was the first live podcast at the London Book Fair.

We knew it was going to be at the new Fireside Podcast Stage but for some reason we had not expected there to be a fireplace but, as you can see, there was! We felt we should have been wearing smoking jackets and sitting in tall backed Chesterfield armchairs.

Virtual Assistants

Bradley’s podcasts focus on the fast developing world of voice technology, focusing mainly, but not exclusively on virtual assistants such as Alexa.

Virtual assistant advancements have slipped under the radar for many publishers, unaware just how fast growing this technology has become and how extensively it is being used by their existing/potential customer base.

But ignore it at your peril, publishers! Smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo are a significant enough part of the home and the way people search for content that overlooking them is foolhardy.

Amazon Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show

Story Telling

For storytellers, it means also learning more about how virtual assistants can become additional consideration to the way stories are told. Of particular interest to us, as animators, is the development of the visual side of voice interaction. With smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo Show containing displays, our interest has been peaked by the possibilities that are now open to us.

Currently these small displays are largely used to display the graphical results of a search request, display album art whilst listening to a song, demonstrate how to cook up a particular recipe, or play your favourite TV series for instance. But the accessibility and immediacy of virtual assistant technology make it an attractive possibility for storytellers creating their own content. Add to this the ability to link the assistant to a separate speaker and lighting system in the home, and you can see the potential for creating atmospheric storytelling experiences is huge.

Future Hopes

The caveat is that the display is just not visually impressive enough at the moment. The Echo Show screen is small and still feels like a bit of an add-on. On the other end of the spectrum, smart TVs have the quality of display and the ability to accept voice commands but this is limited to the functionality of the TV itself and nowhere in the same league as smart speaker’s voice command technology.

It will be interesting to see the way technologies merge in the future to bring a truly smart audio-visual experience where visual storytelling can really fly.

Note: Smart speakers can be connected to your TV via your smart phone to control TV functions but this is not the same as using the tailored display you have on an Amazon Echo.

You can listen to the latest news in voice tech at VoiceFirst FM

Trevor Young

I am currently working through a part time illustration course, as well as working in the film industry as a freelance visual effects compositor (i.e. digitally combining all the elements to create a final effects shot in a feature film).