Amazon have announced their next “Amazon Alexa Challenge” and this time they’re doing it for the kids!
The Smart Speaker market leaders are offering developers the chance to win a share of $250,000 if they can develop an engaging voice-experience skill for children under the age of 13, as they strive to make Alexa a “Valuable Service for the Whole Family”.
It’s an interesting area. The next generation will grow up with Voice Activation as the norm rather than the future and already kids are getting to grips with the devices. I recently watched my 4-year-old son command our Amazon Echo to “Play Musical Statues”. He’d not been “taught” to use the device. He had simply watched me dialing up music on demand by asking “Alexa” to play certain tunes. This highlights the beauty of the Voice Activated interface: A simple, natural way in which to access content that, for kids, comes even more naturally.
It comes as no surprise that Amazon wants to target the youth market with their speakers. Research from Edison and NPR in “The Smart Audio Report” claim over half of Smart-Speakers purchased by households with children made their choice to help entertain their little ones, whilst 90% of parents said that their children enjoyed interacting with the device. Clearly, there is a market to exploit.
This new technology isn’t just a voice-activated encyclopedia capable of answer most of the questions from a curious mind or a never-ending jukebox of music. As the technology grows more content is created for the younger audience: Bedtime stories, interactive games and educational tools are springing up all the time and it is fundamentally changing the way that adults and children consume audio. For the first time in generations, families are being drawn AWAY from screens and towards music, stories, and games consumed on a communal basis… and as a parent, there is something nice about that!