Business Matters: Maple Grove Entrepreneur Gives New Voice to E-Commerce
Iron Man had his personal AI (artificial intelligence) assistant J.A.R.V.I.S in the Hollywood blockbuster movie. Maple Grove entrepreneur Walter Angerer wants to introduce the world to Simon AI. Think of Simon as your virtual sales assistant.
“Eventually voice will be something that’s been expected on your web page, just because the experience is completely different,” said Angerer.
Angerer believes conversational AI and voice activation will help change how we use websites and shop online. He created Simon AI through his company speak2web, founded about a year ago and located in office space at the Fountains at Arbor Lakes. Websites that use voice activation will show a little microphone on their homepage.
“My vision would be that finally when you go to your computer, you can actually ask a straightforward question that’s on your mind and you can get a straightforward answer,” said Angerer, CEO of speak2web.
Taking Voice Activation to Next Level
We already have voice activation to some extent already. You can use it with television remotes, your smartphone assistant like Apple’s Siri or Android’s Google Assistant, or other gadgets like Amazon’s Alexa. But speak2web aims to take voice activation a step further beyond simple commands.
Speak2web’s Simon AI voice assistant uses IBM’s Watson technology for language processing. Its future can be seen in helping you book a vacation to choosing a health care service using conversational dialogue, instead of clicking on an endless stream of drop-down menus.
“I want a microphone on everybody’s web page,” said Angerer. “It takes away the fear factor of having to click on the link, find the right one, don’t want to end up on the wrong place.”
“This is Really Useful”
The Simon AI feature is completely customizable. Clients with speak2web can choose more serious dialogue or go more humorous. So far, clients are opting for the more straightforward approach. As far as the business model, clients can test out speak2web’s service for free for one month. Then, there’s a variety of pricing options. Angerer says he aimed to provide his service at an affordable price.
“Let’s make it something you can have for $1 or pay as you go $0.15 when it’s being used,” said Angerer about the pricing method. “The feedback is ‘wow,’ this is much better than I expected it. This is really useful.”
Angerer says voice activation also helps as we age and it gets increasingly harder to see on small digital devices. He believes it will not only help older generations, but younger ones too.
“I think we are getting a little bit of the preview of the future,” said Angerer. “We are almost there.”
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