Guest: Dave Copithorne - Director of Content at Hearing Tracker
Topic: Recapping Starkey's 2020 Expo
Dave C walks Dave K through the four day Starkey Expo held in Las Vegas this past week, highlighting some of the key themes, product developments and general takeaways from the expo held by the American hearing aid manufacturer.
The two begin by discussing Starkey's flagship hearing aid, LivioAI, and how Starkey is doubling down on the efforts to transform the hearing aid into a preventative health tool through new product announcements and the first ever hire of a Chief Health Officer. In addition, Starkey CTO Achin Bhowmik introduced LivioAI Edge, a new iteration of the Livio that incorporates a level of edge-computing, allowing for improvements in things like speech-in-noise by leveraging the on-device processing. According to Dave C, the commonality across all announcements was that Starkey is pushing the boundaries on what high-end wearables can do, particularly with the ways that it can capture data and generate actionable insights from said data, while simultaneously making hardware-specific improvements to accommodate these additional features without sacrificing the integrity of the quality of the device. In essence, Starkey is moving the ball forward with the re-imagining of the traditional hearing aid.
Guest: Anna Pugh - Longtime Audiologist, BSHAA Council Member, and Owner of Hearing Therapy Online
Topic: The Audiology Long Game
Anna and Dave chat about the, "Audiology Long Game," and how the hearing care professional can flourish in these changing times. The conversation spans a whole host of topics, including the state of the hearing care landscape in the UK, why hearing aid adoption rates are similar in the UK as the US (even though hearing aids are free in the UK through the NHS), and how the mass proliferation of consumer hearables (i.e. AirPods) is adding a new dynamic to the stigmatization of hearing aids.
The bulk of the conversation centers around the idea of hearing care providers needing to re-position their business models to become more service-based. The reason being is that as the market of options for folks to treat their hearing loss grows to include more online, automated and big box options, it creates more complexity and therefore, more demand for expertise. Hearing care professionals, with their years of education and expertise, own an asset that's defensible and tough to replicate, which is their knowledge and expertise. As Anna and Dave discuss, the providers that thrive in the, "Audiology Long Game" will be those who leverage their expertise most effectively to differentiate against traditional and new competitors via exceptional expertise and service.
Guest: Nick White, EVP of Patient Care Solutions at Orbita
Topic: OrbitaASSIST & Voice Applications for Healthcare
Dave and Nick talk about some of the ways that Orbita is pioneering and implementing voice technology into the healthcare setting. As a leader in the Voice + healthcare space, Orbita is at the forefront of what's becoming possible as voice is transfused into a wide variety of medical settings.
One area that Orbita is particularly interested in is at the patient's bedside in the hospital. OrbitaASSIST transforms the traditional call-button found in many hospitals, to provide a much more contextually-rich type of patient-to-nurse communication system.
The way that OrbitaASSIST works is that it allows for the patient to issue a request for a nurse to come see the patient, and can input via the assistant what exactly they need. Each request goes into a portal that the nurses attending to the patients tied to the portal, can get a breakdown of who needs want and better triage urgent requests. As Nick mentions to Dave, the current time it takes for a traditional call-button request to be attended to can range from a few minutes to over a half-hour. Teams that have begun to implement OrbitaAssist have reduced their time for urgent requests to 14 seconds. There are massive efficiency improvements being facilitated by this type of technology.
This conversation provides a glimpse into the innovative ways that voice technology is beginning to support medical professionals, patients and caregivers in many new ways.
Guest: Ryan Kraudel, VP Marketing - Valencell
Topic: Biometric Sensors + Hearables
Dave brings Ryan Kraudel on to talk about the type of biometric sensors that Valencell manufacturers and the various devices that these sensors are being embedded into. Valencell makes optical-based, PPG (photoplethysmogram) sensors that are capable of capturing and measuring a wide-range of biometric health data points. If you've ever seen the green blinking light on the underside of an Apple Watch, that's the PPG sensor capturing one's heart rate data.
As the two discuss during the episode, there's been a breakthrough recently with these type of sensors, both in the size of the sensors (allowing for them to be embedded on devices as small as a receiver-in-the-canal hearing aid) and the sophistication of the machine learning algorithms that are used to asses the data. Given the widespread of adoption of consumer wearables and the increasing amount of sensors that are being outfit on these devices, the two talk about how this will give rise to personalized, individual longitudinal health data sets.
The health baselines that can be established with consumer wearables and the ability for machine learning algorithms to detect deviations from the baselines, will usher in a much more proactive phase of healthcare. Rather than reacting to the symptoms of being sick, this new combination of technology will allow for Apple Watch, AirPods and other wearable users to be alerted to potential risks being discovered within their data. This is the era of preventative health and as Ryan mentions, we're only beginning to scratch the surface with the types of metrics that we can glean from the broad swath of health data being captured by Valencell's PPG sensors.
Guest: Tim McElreath, Director of Technology - Mobile & Emerging Technologies at Discovery
Topic: Food Network Kitchen
Dave and Tim discuss the recently launched application from Discovery, Food Network Kitchen. This new, interactive application is available on mobile devices, and specifically designed with Amazon's Fire TV and Echo Show smart displays in mind. The service includes a library of thousands of recipes, step-by-step on demand videos for many of the recipes, and 4-6 live-cooking classes with Food Network chefs. When using the application through a smart display, users can pause/rewind videos with their voice as well as ask questions pertinent to what's being cooked (how many pounds of chicken are needed?).
Throughout the conversation, Tim makes the case for why Food Network Kitchen might ultimately serve as a blueprint for how content-based companies can integrate their content through these new, voice-based modalities. It's easy to see how Discovery may even replicate this service for other segments of content it owns, such as HGTV with educational and entertaining videos of its own.
Guests: Scot & Susan Westwater
Topic: Pragmatic Voice Strategies
Dave chats with Scot and Susan Westwater about their two-person digital consultancy, Pragmatic Digital, and their new book, Voice Strategy: Creating Useful & Usable Voice Experiences.
Pragmatic Digital was created to help meet the growing demand that companies of all sizes need help getting started with a voice strategy. Scot and Susan take a pragmatic approach with voice, based on their long tenures in agencies and digital marketing firms, applying many of their key learnings from past paradigms to how businesses should think about voice. In the book, the two lay out a framework for companies to use to begin developing their voice strategies. This blueprint helps companies to see that rather than trying to hit a homerun, it's better to just find small things that can be implemented around voice, and start with a base hit.
Voice Strategy: Creating Useful & Usable Voice Experiences can be purchased here or on Amazon.
Guest: Hunter McKinley, CMO - YAC Chat
Topic: Apps for an AirPods-Oriented World
Dave and Hunter discuss YAC (Yelling Across Cubicles) and the apps they're building around two major trends: remote work and the emergence of AirPods (and other hearables). One of the apps that the YAC team has built is called BRB, which allows for 30 second voice messages to be relayed back and forth. BRB is designed with remote teams in mind, making it a hybrid of a walkie talkie and Slack.
The two discuss how messaging is evolving, citing emerging international markets and younger cohorts and the ways that these individuals prefer to message. This speaks to a broader trend, which is that many of the applications and use cases that we rely on our smartphones today are being unbundled.
Guest: Geoff Cooling, Hearing Aid Know
Topic: A Tsunami of Change Heading for Hearing Healthcare
Dave and Geoff talk about why we're poised to see more change in the hearing aid industry across the next 5 years compared to the past 50 years. The reason? A confluence of trends. The devices are transforming into hearables - ear-worn computers - which are giving rise to new use cases, allowing for the devices to perform far more tasks. In addition, new legislation like the over-the-counter hearing aid act opens the door for lower-cost options and new suppliers to enter the market.
The two talk about how hearing care professionals can position themselves now to adapt to the impending wave of change and embrace the disruption.
Guest: Bradley Metrock, CEO Score Publishing & VoiceFirst Events
Topic: Project Voice
Dave and Bradley talk about the genesis of Project Voice (formerly named the Alexa conference), how the conference has evolved, the growing voice enthusiast community that Bradley has helped to cultivate and what to expect at this year's Project Voice.
Along with the conference, Bradley also shares his take on whether we're in the midst of a, "trough of disillusionment," with voice technology.
Guest: Andy Bellavia
Topic: VoiceFirst Hearables Use Cases
After discussing the evolving hearables landscape in part one, Andy and Dave now move into some of the new use cases that voice-assistant enabled hearables will begin to offer. One area that seems ripe for some innovation is around audio content consumption and the ways in which we access said content. Perhaps this combination will offer new ways to curate and discover audio content specific to the user's interests.
GPS-based applications also represent a new avenue with lots of possibilities, which the two speak about in depth. The idea of having conversations with your voice assistant about loads of information that's already stored in the app ecosystem.
Guest: Andy Bellavia
Topic: Hearables Ubiquity
Andy and Dave provide a rundown of the recent movement that's occurred in the hearables space with the slew of new products being entering the market or due to enter the market soon. We'll soon have AirPods Pro, Beats Powerbeats Pro, Echo Buds, Galaxy Buds, Pixel Buds 2.0 and Surface Buds (maybe) all available on the market. The era of hearables has officially arrived, and Andy and Dave reflect back on this journey to 2020 and the challenges that were overcome, and new hearables-specific features that are beginning to go mainstream.
This convo sets the stage for part two of the conversation, which will cover various use cases that are beginning to emerge as the hearables user base grows and begins to serve as a home for voice assistants.
Guest: Katherine Prescott - Founder & Editor of Voicebrew
Topic: Multimodal Smart Speaker Growth
Building off their discussion in the previous episode, Katherine and Dave now begin to explore some of the unique use cases that multimodal smart speakers are enabling. They chat about The Food Network Kitchen, an on-demand service that will be deeply integrated into Alexa and really illustrate the evolution of smart speaker devices, as well as other unique use cases specific to multi-modal smart speakers.
Guest: Katherine Prescott - Founder & Editor of Voicebrew
Topic: Multimodal Smart Speaker Growth
Katherine and Dave highlight the recent Canalys report which stated that smart display shipment share crossed 20% of all devices shipped. The two discuss what it means now that the era of multimodal Voice First devices is officially here.
Follow Katherine on Twitter: @kbprescott