SpeechTek 2016 Offers Opportunities to Talk about Connected Toys and Conversational Robots

Next week at SpeechTek 2016 I’ll be joining others to discuss the exciting topic of connected, conversational devices.

I’m looking forward to participating on a keynote panel next Tuesday, May 24th on the topic of “Social Impact of Conversing Robots.” Peter Krogh of Jibo will moderate the panel and I’ll be joined by Leor Grebler of UCIC and Bruce Balentine of Enterprise Integration Group. Some of the areas we may cover include what people might want to talk to robots about, where the content told by robots will come from, how much robots will know about us and how that might drive the conversation, and what technological advances are needed to make robots better conversational partners.

Conversational ToysOn Wednesday, May 25th, I’ll be giving a presentation entitled “Talking Toys: Technology and Outlook.” There is a lot  going on in this field right now. Many toy makers and startups are experimenting with connected devices to both explore what these devices can offer consumers and to test out the market.

Internet-connected dolls that talk are still controversial. But there’s little doubt that conversational toys will be part of the future. There have been and will continue to be growing pains around security, privacy, and even conversational content for talking toys. We’re still in the early days of defining standards and understanding how regulations like COPPA factor into the development of safe and engaging connected devices designed for children. Even devices like the Amazon Echo, which aren’t considered “toys,” offer a glimpse into what types entertainment and educational content are possible with voice interfaces.

I’ll explore both the challenges and opportunities of talking toys in my presentation and I’m hoping for a lively discussion. If time permits, we’ll have some connected devices available to demo. We can also demo the work we’ve been up to at Hutch.ai, where we’re building a marketplace of content designed for conversational toys and devices.

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