When Amazon first introduced the Echo, it was a bit of a novelty, the latest and greatest tech toy. Rapidly the company has increased what Alexa, the artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistant that powers the Amazon family of voice devices, can do. One of the ways that Amazon has scaled the breadth of skills for Alexa was by creating a community of developers who were passionate about the voice space, and how they could contribute to the expansion and awareness of the growing use cases for Alexa. Amazon took it one step farther by creating Alexa Champions, a recognition program designed to honor the most engaged developers and contributors in the community.
At VoiceXP, we are lucky enough to have two Alexa Champions on staff, Bob Stolzberg and Mark Tucker. VoiceXP customers get the advantage of leveraging Bob & Mark’s knowledge around how voice technology is changing how users interact, learn, and do business, and what that means to their brand strategy. VoiceXP creates and delivers unique, branded experiences that enables our clients to interact with customers in new and disruptive ways. Our team has a diverse skill set to help our clients positively impact sales, marketing, technology, and talent development.Meet the @VoiceXPInc #Alexa Champions! #voicefirst Click To Tweet
Meet the VoiceXP Alexa Champions
Bob Stolzberg, Founder/Chief Innovation Officer at VoiceXP
Bob is convinced voice technology will revolutionize the way we interact with information, and he says he has his kids to thank for that realization.
“The aha moment was watching how my kids interact with this technology,” Bob says. “It’s second nature to them. They’re going to be the generation that doesn’t have cell phones when they get older, because they’re going to have voice services.”
Bob has worked in a number of roles across the technology sector, from engineer to evangelist. He tells his clients voice technology is rapidly becoming the third pillar of marketing for businesses, joining websites and social media as a must-do for connecting with customers.
Bob hosts the Saint Louis Alexa Meetup group, and he encourages developers who are new to Alexa to seek out community. “You need to lurk on the Tuesday Office Hours call,” he says. Next steps: get to work—and don’t be afraid to share what you’ve built. “Put yourself out there and ask for feedback,” Bob says. “Don’t be afraid to develop skills and then share them with people.
“This technology will be everywhere,” Bob says. “It’s going to start by being in your home, in your kitchen. It’s going to be in your car, in your office. It’s going to be built into wearables. This technology has endless possibilities.”
Mark Tucker, Principal Engineer at VoiceXP
Mark is a full-stack developer who’s on a mission to help businesses reach millions of customers through devices with Alexa.
“Voice technology is on the cusp of revolutionizing the way people interact with information”, he says. “I see, in the future, a lot more of the everyday devices in your home having Alexa installed on them,” he says. “There are just going to be more and more voice-enabled devices.”
Mark founded the Phoenix Alexa Meetup, and he developed the open-source Alexa skill serverless starter template. He wants new Alexa developers to know that getting started is easy. Anyone can get up and running quickly using the tutorials in the Alexa Skills Kit.