The world’s largest voice tech event, VOICE Summit 2019, took place in Newark on July 22-25, at NJIT.
This event “took 10 years to build,” said creator Pete Erickson, who’s also the founder of Modev (Washington, D.C.); but it nearly doubled its attendance over last year.
Nearly 5,000 attendees came from 26 countries to hear industry leaders from Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, The New York Times, Google and many more innovative companies speak on the main stage at NJIT’s Wellness and Events Center.
These speakers — including NJIT alumnus David Isbitski (’98), who’s Amazon’s chief evangelist for Alexa and Echo; Noelle LaCharite, principal project manager for Microsoft Search, Assistance and Intelligence (MSAI), in Redmond, Wash.; and Adam Cheyer, cofounder and VP of engineering at Viv Labs (San Jose, Calif.) and VP of R&D at Samsung Mobile — shared the best of what they know, and are learning, in the rapidly growing field of voice technology.
With over 350 speakers, 280 sessions, 110 exhibitors and 1,500 developers to choose from, what did some of the 5,000 registered attendees of VOICE 2019 think of the experience?
We asked several conference attendees to tell us why they had come, what they had learned, what they hoped to come away with and what recommendations they had for next year’s event.
Matthew Portillo: Conversational Experience Designer (Cognitive Linguist)
IPsoft (New York)
I attended VOICE 2019 to get fresh ideas and be inspired outside of my normal tech-driven, reductionist conversations with my colleagues each day. I am really enjoying the young and otherwise very diverse crowd!
Recommendation for next year: It’s something simple, but I’d recommend better signage, especially for the agenda. The [Whova] app was better, and had more information, than the actual event space and desktop website.
Andres Ortiz: Cognitive Implementation Architect
IPsoft (New York)
I’m here to learn new trends or developments in speech detection and speech-to-text, since it’s relevant to our product [Amelia]. It’s my first time attending this conference. It’s clear that voice tech is rapidly becoming A.I. [artificial intelligence], so I think it’s really more of an A.I. conference.
Recommendation for next year: I think there was a lot of focus on devices, but what’s missing, and needed, is more speech detection for actual phone conversations.
Ridhima Shinde: MS in Information Systems and Data Analytics
This is my second time attending VOICE. I attended last year as a graduate student volunteer, and this year it is so well organized and really fun! I’m here this year to network as a recent graduate of NJIT and hopefully find several employment opportunities.
Recommendation for next year: Nothing comes to mind. They’ve done an excellent job.
Priti Moudgill: Cofounder
I’m here to represent my company, Peripherii, to get ideas and explore ways we can use our product more effectively, especially in the healthcare sector.
Recommendation for next year: Honestly, I got more than I came for! I’m very pleased. I will say there wasn’t enough on devices … and perhaps too much on software.
Aleaha Battle: Freelance Python Developer
I’m attending VOICE 2019 as my first conference … ever. I heard about it through a newsletter I receive from “Women Who Code,” and applied for a ticket and won! I’m seeking opportunities as a freelance developer with a passion for accessibility.
Recommendation for next year: Nothing to add. I really enjoyed all the different keynotes and opportunities for networking with people in my field, face to face. It has really increased my skills and confidence.