Executive Strategy

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Alexa Changes Things

Alexa Changes Things

Alexa Changes Things.jpg

You want more? Your pocket’s a little light and expectations are not met?

Well, Alexa changes things.

Let's build this story and start back in the early 2000. Skytel’s two-way pagers created the bridge from the pager to the messaging device. Then, we had the Blackberry – we could type, text and send emails. From the Sony Walkman to the Apple iPod, we had music on the go. We were all nerds with our Qualcomm pocket devices nicknamed PDAs.

There are always these changes in technology that advance the way we live. These innovations in the market shape what’s “modern”: Microsoft, high-speed internet, Netflix. Even things that are vastly different change the way we think. Remember Groupon? Have you tried ClassPass yet?

For years, we've been waiting for a voice response system. Siri came close. To be honest, for the price of the device and the work that what went into it, she is lacking. (I say “she” as a nod to the WestWorld fans out there.) Google is trying, but the noise canceling, voice recognition and access to the entire platform is just not there yet, it’s OK. Contrary to popular belief, there is a significant amount of data, programming, testing and hardware that goes into making any successful product. It takes years and a lot of patience, persistence and cash.

Then, we have the ever-evolving retail/technology/delivery monster — Amazon. They invariably have funds for research, a mind for exploration and marketplace for testing.

“Alexa, play Michael Jackson.”

“Alexa, dim the lights.”

“Alexa, what is the weather in Cincinnati?”

She understands. The technology works. Now, we have a system that delivers. You are a happy customer, you buy more, you tell your friends and influence the future. A new bar for what’s “modern” is set.

What does this all mean? Copycats, time to get the wallet out, as patent attorneys will defend this technology across the globe. Everyone will come to expect more. If Amazon can do it, why can't Apple and Samsung? New players will enter the market. New expectations mean a push for innovation, which is the catalyst for change.

Indeed, the times have changed. Hi, Alexa.

By Dane Flanigan

Dane Flanigan is a business consultant who helps companies build strategies to grow sales.