Forecast after forecast is projecting that voice is going to be a critical part of the future technology stack. Various analysts point out that at the rate voice search is growing, it is going to represent more than half of all Internet searches by the end of the decade. Our friends at Big Tech firms clearly see this coming. They’ve made massive investments in voice technology and are developing new voice products at a stunning rate.
What does that mean for the rest of us? It means that companies that want to have access to voice technology on favorable terms had better start making investments now. It also means there is a huge opportunity for the open player in the space – Mycroft AI – to make a real difference in the future of technology.
Mycroft’s opportunity is huge because the technology is important and investments from Big Tech are limiting competition in the commercial space. Jibo is the latest casualty of the quick pace and hypercompetitive pricing of Big Tech. With a reported $73M of investment Jibo was perfectly positioned to be the leader in the space, but this past week they laid off most of their staff. Why? Because Amazon and Google were able to deploy technology and features faster than the Jibo team could. The same is true of Ivee, Ubi and a host of other companies out there that were early innovators in this space.
This leaves the global technology community in need of viable alternatives and it is unlikely that some scrappy proprietary startup is going to meet their needs. They need a technology stack that is open, allows them to control the assistant at every level and, importantly, preserves the privacy and data independence of the end user.
But being open is only half the equation. Using an open voice resource that is shared offers insurmountable continuous innovation and financial benefit. A shared solution spreads the financial burden of development across a broad community of developers. At Mycroft we’ve got more than 1,500 developers who are actively engaged in our stack and tens of thousands of people globally who are using the technology and providing data for machine learning. That is an investment in resources that very few companies can match. We also have access to the innovation that these developers bring to the stack. We’re not monolithic. Developers can do anything they want with the technology from integrating it into video games via the Unreal Engine to teaching it to sing. Developers have total freedom and that enables innovation, something that old school companies struggle with.
In a couple of weeks, I’m going to bring this message to the VOICE Summit in New Jersey where innovators in the field of voice are gathering to share ideas. I’ll be working to recruit more developers into our community and demonstrate that they can deploy voice technology without going into orbit around the behemoths of Big Tech.
I’ll also be talking about the financial future of voice. Though big conglomerates like Google and Amazon may see significant financial benefits from voice, it isn’t possible to invest in their voice operations directly. There are also a ton of startups working on voice assistants of one type or another. We’ve seen voice companies spring up for everything from IoT hubs to automotive to elder care, but nearly all of those startups are privately funded by venture capital. That means the average person can’t invest. At Mycroft we’ve changed that too. Though we’ve accepted some institutional venture capital, most of our funding has come from our passionate community of backers and now – small investors. Find out more about how you can invest at https://startengine.com/mycroft-ai.
If you’re going to be at the VOICE conference, come out and learn more. I present Wednesday, July 25 at 2:30 PM EDT on the WEC HIGHLANDER stage. I’m looking forward to meeting you.
Mycroft’s First Officer, a serial entrepreneur and Air Force Officer, Joshua brings more than 15 years of leadership experience to the Mycroft team. He is a strong supporter of the open ethos, net neutrality and consumer privacy. Joshua lives in Holualoa, Hawaii with his wife and co-founder Kris Adair.