Voice and smart tech is becoming child’s play for global entertainment brands

Cat in the Hat, Peter Rabbit and SpongeBob SquarePants are among just some of the children’s brands to be embracing the emergence of voice and smart tech this coming year.

The sector has been tipped as a growth area for brands over the coming years as more and more they find new routes into the home through the global growth of personal tech.

A recent survey conducted by NPR revealed that Amazon Alexa, a leader in voice and smart technology, already boasts some 50,000 skills, is used on some 20,000 devices and already works with around 3,500 brands.

Among the companies to be employing voice and smart technology in its collaboration with children’s brands is the storytime tech start-up Novel Effect. 

Founded by Matt Hammersley, Novel Effect is a leader in voice-driven entertainment that uses voice tech to put users in control of their favourite books, videos and games. The Novel Effect mobile app brings books to life by following along with a story as it is read aloud. Via its voice technology, Novel Effect will play background music, sound effects and character voices at precise moments in the story.

The initiative is already working with some big names in children’s literature with titles including Dr Suess’ Cat in the Hat, Llama Llama, The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Where the Wild Things Are in its library.

The alignment of smart technology, entertainment brands and child’s play is something now tipped for major growth for the year ahead, and is a topic to be highlighted at the upcoming 2019 Alexa Conference. 

Amazon Alexa is already beginning to make a global impact on the way many live their lives and is looking to strengthen its arm in the play space, too.

This year’s Alexa Conference, held in Chattanooga, Tennessee from January 15th to 17th and presented by VoiceFirst FM will aim to bring together some of the most forward thinking innovators across voice and sound.

The conference has been devised as a creativity hub for innovators in the Voice space to explore new uses for the technology. 

As the technology looks to find greater use in the toy, game and play arena, Valerie Vacante, founder and managing partner of Collabsco will be hosting her own discussion of the Power of Voice and the Future of Play where she will share her perspective on the connected play landscape.

“It’s an honour to be invited to the 2019 Alexa Conference alongside some of the most innovative minds across voice and sound technologies. I look forward to sharing perspective on the Connected Play landscape and how the power of Voice is transforming ways kids play, learn and create in our ever connected world,” Vacante told ToyNews.

In a recent survey conducted by NPR, 73 per cent of smartspeaker owners allowed their kids to use the technology.

Within her discussion, Vacante will be highlighting some of the companies to be leading the way in voice technology in play including the likes of Immplay and Jay@Play’s Snow Shine, Novel Effect and its sound effects at storytime technology and Sensible Object and its When in Rome board game.

“It’s an exciting time for voice and connected play,” added Vacante. “We are seeing more ways for kids and parents to get engaged with reading, gaming and creating.”

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent some six years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@bizmedia.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobHutchins3 if ranting is your thing...

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