Amazon’s annual European Alexa Cup has resulted in Say it Now awarded to top prize for best new skill on the smart speaker.
The Skill is the brainchild of two UK companies, voice technology specialist Say It Now and marketplace aggregator Booxscale.
The Alexa Skill allows users to search for and book recommended local services using only their voice has won the Amazon Alexa Cup European round.
The proposed Alexa Skill, the result of a collaboration between voice technology specialist, Say It Now and the ‘marketplace of marketplaces’, Booxscale, beat leading digital marketing agencies in the UK and Europe for its top place in the European competition.
The team will now compete in the global Alexa Cup final being held in the US at the end of July.
The new voice app, or Alexa skill, combines the popularity of local services with the power of customer reviews. (50% of 18-34 year olds go online to look up a local business every day, while 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business; see Note 1 below) It fills a gap in the market, expanding on the everyday occurrences for which consumers can ask Alexa for help, while significantly increasingly the number of local experts that can be found and used via voice search.
When the Skill is published users will be able to ask the Alexa voice service to recommend and book local businesses based on other customer reviews, from a garage to service their car’s air conditioning, a restaurant serving sushi, a takeaway outlet selling vegan curries, or a plumber to fix a leaking tap.
Say It Now and Booxscale’s combined technology and expertise underpin the app; marketplaces are integrated into leading directories including Web.com and search engines such as Microsoft Bing and its voice platform Cortana, and the information they generate made accessible by voice commands. BookMyGarage.com is one of the first comparison websites to be signed up, with many more planned for the second phase of the project.
Douglas Rotberg, CEO at BookMyGarage.com says: “The advent of online let us deliver a service that meets the needs of consumers, who want an easy way to select the garage that is right for their individual needs, while ensuring that garages get legitimate bookings. Making this available through voice-only commands is the obvious next step in our technical journey.”
Jozef Wallis, co-founder at Booxscale, says: “Voice is set to revolutionise the search space, and with that the way in which individuals connect with local businesses. We already connect consumers with the right service for their need; making it easily available via a voice command is the obvious next step and will see Alexa become an integral part of the customer journey.”
“Our vision is to enable thousands of local businesses to be bookable via Alexa, which will be available for people to use wherever they are,” says Charlie Cadbury, CEO and founder of Say It Now. “The Alexa Cup is a huge opportunity for us to represent and promote the UK’s growing voice technology sector, both in Europe and globally, as the community continues to develop more robust and innovative ways for consumers, businesses and brands to connect and interact.”
Launched by Amazon in 2019 the annual Alexa Cup is a global competition designed to encourage the development of Alexa Skills (voice apps) that solve real-world problems in a way that enhances customer experience while also being commercially viable.