The Rise of Smart Speakers with Charlie Cadbury

July 16, 2020 Aleksandra King / Charlie Cadbury Season 2 Episode 1
The Rise of Smart Speakers with Charlie Cadbury
Show Notes Transcript

Want to know how brands are using smart speakers in their marketing? Or If your smart phone is listening to your conversations? To explore the rise of voice search and smart speakers, in this episode of WatchTime we interview Charlie Cadbury, Conversational Technology expert and CEO of SayItNow. Hosted by Aleksandra King, sponsored and produced by Digital Agency, MintTwist.  Learn more at

Alexandra King:   0:03
Watch Time's show sponsored by digital agency MintTwist. Welcome to watch time. The show for marketing industry influences looking for creative and digital ideas will be exploring new technology development and sharing the stories behind high profile industry players. I'm Alexandra King from MintTwist, and in this episode, we'll be looking at the rise of the smart speakers.  

Alexandra King:   0:34
The voice revolution has only just begun today. Alexa is a humble servant, but very soon could she become much more a teacher, a confidante or an informant to discuss this and so much more I'm joined by Charlie Cadbury, CEO of Say it Now. He is working to develop voice integration technology for every business in the UK. Charlie, it's great to have you here today,

Charlie Cardbury:   0:58
and it's great to be here.

Alexandra King:   0:59
So, Charlie, before we get into technical details, I would like to learn more about the man behind the business. And I would like to start with something that fascinated me and that is your name. Charlie Cadbury. You must get that a lot of their bits Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and then Cadbury chocolates any any Connexion.

Charlie Cardbury:   1:19
You're not the first person to point out that Connexion. You know, so much of my great great grandfather was George Cadbury, who was one of the Cadbury brothers. So their dad, John Cadbury, had set up a tea and a chocolate merchant in the middle of Birmingham. And during that time, it was conceived wisdom that if you and in industrial business, you set up your factory in the middle of the town. But they broke with that and set up a factory in the fields just outside where they could have a better world for their workers to live. And they could use the new technology of the day. Which was this industrial technology to produce chocolate at scale.

Alexandra King:   1:56
That is utterly incredible. And it just shows you that entrepreneurship runs in the family. You've clearly got the buck, don't you?

Charlie Cardbury:   2:01
Very much. You know, it does

Alexandra King:   2:03
Very much so. And you're also family men. Could you tell us more about it? Do you have Children?  Do you have a wife?

Charlie Cardbury:   2:09
When our daughter was born, we were averaging one child every five months. I now have twin sons who are six years old, and our daughter Sienna is five in March. So it's It's a busy and lively household. At the moment I'm losing power. So every morning when we're talking about what we should wear for the day, I say, Well, perhaps you should wear a coat and the Children run to this device in the kitchen and they ask Alexa what the weather is going to be like today and her that's starting to be trusted more than me, which isn't interesting. Interesting. Ryszard Shift of power dynamic in that

Alexandra King:   2:45
that is very interesting is actually even more interesting that you've used the word trust because when we get to the nitty-gritty, we talk about the importance of trust and how that relates to the technology that you're selling, what we'll get to that. I've had a look at your LinkedIn and followed your career part. So you started in sales.

Charlie Cardbury:   3:02
I started in sales, and about 1988 we had an apple tree in the garden on DH. I would pick up these apples as a young boy and I take them around in a wheelbarrow from house to house trying to sell these apples, and I might just sell quite a few of those 80 years later, I was told by my mother that actually our house was on the block and everyone on the block had an apple tree in their garden. It was either. My amazing sales technique or my six year old face that allowed me to get these apples sold. S o Speak has been a career in sales boats in technology cellphones. About 1999 I started selling websites.

Alexandra King:   3:36
Right and then I could see that you spent some time as a commercial director. And then you co founded several businesses, and now you are a CEO and founder of a number of businesses at the Moment Pebble Champion Advisory,  Lighthouse London, and Said i t Now.  That's quite a portfolio.

Charlie Cardbury:   3:55
I am Advisor to Lighthouse and co-founder of Moment Pebble and Say It Now is very much the day job and I've been working in natural language processing since 2015 so started working to prove out that you could book an airline tickets using just your voice. So using Alexa in 2015 with an airline in the States and then following that started to build products using this understanding of natural language processing built out dazzle, which is the 1st 1? Those with marriage. 

Alexandra King:   4:28
That's what I was about to mention dazzle. Did you want an award for For that? Didn't.

Charlie Cardbury:   4:31
Yes, we First we put the proposition t marry it. So this was in September 2016 and they were looking for innovations within the hotel sector, a waiter position the Marriott brands to a younger audience. And what we'd learned about these smart speakers is that they didn't work very well in busy environments. But if it was just one human and smart speaker, that worked really well. So we're looking for opportunities where that was the case and hotel rooms seemed ideal.

Alexandra King:   5:01
That's wonderful. And now it's all about Say It Now.

Charlie Cardbury:   5:03
Very much, very much. We've had a a very goods first kind of 18 months of this business we've launched. Well,

Alexandra King:   5:11
I've had a look at what it's all about, and it says it's to articulate the benefits for companies and customers of automated communications through chatbots and voice assistants. Can you explain that?

Charlie Cardbury:   5:22
certainly because this is all about personalised conversations at scale, this's what radios the kind of the marketers nirvana so us as human beings we get advertised to all day every day through a lot of display. So lots of adverts and banners and posters all around us trying, What's that stimulus? it's a very much one way, and it's quite cold because as humans we really want is to be heard. And the minute that you can engage in a two way conversation, your brain starts to operate in a slightly different way and slightly more receptive. And the minute that we can have this two way conversation the new especially if the content has personalised towards you that it lands is far more powerful. And so we create these little robots which sit in smart speakers but also in chatbots within the place, like messenger or or even SMS or Whatsapp. They communicate automatically on behalf the brand.

Alexandra King:   6:17
Okay, so how did you get involved in this business idea? How did you come up with us? I know that you love Knight Rider?

Charlie Cardbury:   6:25
It's all about being able to articulate the vision and I found SciFi did that to me really well, it made it very, very obvious to me. But in the future, when we go through our lives will have some kind of ethereal assistant which will help us on our quest through life. And for me that was, you know, well articulated with Knight Rider and looking at Michael Knight, who had a kind assistance who would help him on a watch. And what you see there is it So you know, looking back now we can see that I could talk to the car kit while he was in the car, said There's an autonomous vehicle with a smart speaker inside. But also he could talk to Kit using his watch, and we now know the kit must have been cloud based, very much like Alexa. And so this is This is very clear to me. I didn't realise I'd have to wait another 30 years for this to come to fruition, but now it's here makes me see that this is very much the way the world is going

Alexandra King:   7:15
Right. Let's let's talk about that. Is it the way the world's going?

Charlie Cardbury:   7:17
We have seen that smarts because being the fastest ever selling consumer electronics device currently in the UK, we've got 22% penetration, so you know more than one in every five households has a smart speaker, but this is just the end of the beginning. So the future for Alexa is Alexa everywhere. So the team that we deal with Amazon now called the Alexa Everywhere team, and they have been pushing forward, You know, the delivery of this assistance in lots more devices. So they've released these eco frames so you can talk to your glasses. You're walking on the street, echo buds that you can talk to, and even a ring that you can press a button and say Alexa... What's meetings that I have today held it to air and you'll waste without into your ear on the whole idea on the clues in the name of an assistant is that you should be able to delegate tasks to this assistance.

Alexandra King:   8:07
It should assist you exactly life, you

Charlie Cardbury:   8:09
And the more that you can delegate and say, Look, kid, you book me a baby sitter for Friday night, and that will give me another three minutes back in my life. And the more of these small tasks you can delegate with confidence. Yes, it was trust.

Alexandra King:   8:23
That's where the trust comes into it again. And how about the competition? So who do you compete with?So there's like, Sir, they list.  

Charlie Cardbury:   8:31
So there's about 200 voice studios in the UK. They list about 12 on the sites and they actually can manage about four agencies. Of which way are one?

Alexandra King:   8:40
Okay, so now that we know we're on to something with us, you're obviously in the in a really interesting, dynamic area. How does it all work? I know that you've got with, Say It Now you've got a branded voice experience. You've got conversational advertising and conversational commerce. Hard is that all tine and work.

Charlie Cardbury:   8:57
So it's about where you start on the journey as a brand. So a lot of brands they won't have had any kind of voice experience or conversation back and forward before, So we need to have a starting point. And that's very much with the brand voice experience that we've boxed up pinto and easy to buy products. So the last piece of work that we put out under that was with Daddy O, which whisky tasting experience And got on average dwell time of about seven minutes per conversation.

Alexandra King:   9:30
I had a look at that. It's just so interesting. So you can actually ask the voice assistance to explain the whole experience of the tasting and all the stages that you go through. I mean, that's very informative.

Charlie Cardbury:   9:40
Yes, I think the driver behind that was to differentiate a point of sale. So the test that we ran was whether if we put a sticker on a bottle of whisky in the supermarket and you're standing in front of 100 whiskeys, would having the stick on a bottle changed the propensity for that bottle to be sold?

Alexandra King:   9:59
Okay, so let's talk about the future. Describe your ideal future. As far as, these voice assistants and chatbots are concerned, Where do you see it all going?

Charlie Cardbury:   10:08
So I started my 70th birthday, so that's really with me on my 70th birthday, and we could only have a world without chatbots. And on my seventh birthday I'll be talking to my grandchildren and telling them about this fantastic life that I had lived, and I'm relatively good at having fun. Um, however, if these voice assistants do what I predict they're going to do over the next few decades then I'll be able to, not only delegate more and more of my menial tasks to these assistants and they give me leisure time. They'll also get better at inspiring me and trying to, communicate with my friends and family to find those moments that I just don't have time to keep my track on everyone's diary. And suddenly there'll be the serendipitous moments. Well, I would be able to go for a dinner here or a small holiday here. And you have more of these, you know, fun and enjoyable times with your family and friends. And those would be the stories that I decided on my 70th birthday. So I have a lot of hope for the interest on the the different life of these people.

Alexandra King:   11:10
Okay, What about the gadgets and the things that you mentioned earlier? The echo, bods and echo frames, all these little gimmicks? Do you think we might have one centralised communications source? Maybe some way embedded in the brain? I mean, this is very, very sci-fi, but what do you think?

Charlie Cardbury:   11:23
 The current approach, especially from Amazon's perspective, is they? If you going to amazon dot com today in 2019  85,000 different products, you can buy.

Alexandra King:   11:36

Charlie Cardbury:   11:37
With Alexa built-in over the next couple of years, you will be walking into almost any room, and almost any electronic device will have some way to interact with it. Using these assistant. Move forward a little bit further, and what's been very well proven out is understanding. Who is speaking? So I could walk into your house for the first time and say: Alexa can you put  toothpaste on my shopping list. It was a yes, Charlie, you'll know it's me. So you having access to your assistant anywhere you go is not too far fetched.

Alexandra King:   12:10
That is interesting. Although the flip side of this would be privacy. What are your views on the risks to privacy

Charlie Cardbury:   12:18
We've seen over the last 10 years with the rise of mobile in 2008-2009 almost no one that I spoke to you would have ever considered doing banking on their phone because they didn't trust this new channel. This was a new mobile to how on earth could you secure phone? You can leave it anywhere. Some of us is gonna have access to my banking, but then over time, utility has come about that, and we've seen that all of these concerns are not really on go where utility overrides the privacy or trust concerns

Alexandra King:   12:48
that they are really what we do have problems with. But it's not. You know, we address those

Charlie Cardbury:   12:53
not on Samantha's bone is the same. The same with any challenge with the new with new channels. But, well, you know they need to have some time where they're betting in and trust rises. And we've seen that over the last 12 months people have gone from 4 to 10 people regularly using their Alexas to 70% of people regularly using their Alexas. So the the reason to engage with these is definitely on the rise.

Alexandra King:   13:17
So let's talk about a different type of risk. The risk to businesses that don't use this new technology is there one.

Charlie Cardbury:   13:23
As in the early days of search, the ability to find your brand within a voice environment is really is going to be the challenge. If you're not there, then you can't be found. And now is the time to try and learn about what kind of experiences your brand should be building within these platforms how you are represented and presented and then learn how to optimise, though, because as we see the growth in this voice channel, it's gonna be evermore important view. Toe workout, how you maintain your voice. Otherwise, it's not. It's not a whole list of results. Do you get from a certain perspective is the real whatever they call

Alexandra King:   14:01
Speaking about brands on specifically you ahs your brand. I've noticed that you tend to put yourself out there quite a bit. You have a book? The Children's book called This One, which you wrote for your for your daughter. Was it?

Charlie Cardbury:   14:15
For her first birthday? Was the best thing I had to find a way to get her attention.

Alexandra King:   14:19
That's a lovely way. That's really sweet. You've also done a lot of press, including telegraph, and you're on LinkedIn. You're on Twitter and you're on instagram. So how important is it to you to put yourself forward as the face of your businesses?

Charlie Cardbury:   14:35
So if you speak to anyone who I've met, they'll probably agree that I tried to wear my heart on my sleeve. It's very important for me to try and deliver an image which is open and receptive because I see myself as the person who's generating a repeatable, unpredictable series of opportunities into my business.

Alexandra King:   14:54
What skills do you need? What, what do you need to overcome In order to be able to build your personal brand in the way that you have,

Charlie Cardbury:   15:02
you need to find inspiration in every week. So one of the best bits of advice that I was given was exactly this. You know you need become famous within your own community on linkedIn.

Alexandra King:   15:13
That's interesting, famous within your own community.

Charlie Cardbury:   15:15
For one thing, so you know, if you've got your group of connexions on LinkedIn, you need to be known for the one person to go to with one type of problem. And I would very much hope that the people are connected within with me on LinkedIn know that if they want to understand a bit more about voice or chat bots, or how to deliver personalised conversations at scale, then I am an approachable person to begin that conversation.

Alexandra King:   15:39
It's it's really good because there are a lot of business people out there that are it's a little bit shy a little bit, you know, introverted, and they don't want to put themselves out there. They think that maybe, you know, they get embarrassed about it. And what would you say to them?

Charlie Cardbury:   15:52
that it is? There is never bean easier to create little bits of content, and it's just as with anything in life. My kids, they just learned to ride a bike, and now we're running behind them to  terrified, crazy state school and back Every day is all about practise, So you're first year of writing, blogs or writing updates can be can be terrifying, but get better things over time. You know, you just need to practise.

Alexandra King:   16:17
That is true, to  practise it becomes less scary. Let's say the more you do it  becomes second natureand what you were on.  

Charlie Cardbury:   16:23
Don't believe all the numbers. So you know you put post out and you don't think they've been seen. But you meet so many people whose art I saw your thing on this and you didn't like it. But it doesn't. It doesn't matter

Alexandra King:   16:36
if people like it. When you saw

Charlie Cardbury:   16:39
people, it's state they don't get. Don't get upset about the metrics behind things. Just know that what content you put out is being seen, and everything has a value.

Alexandra King:   16:50
That's true. Someone doesn't have to like it today. They would have seen it. I saw something on your website and I'm going to I'm going to read it to you on. I believe you've written this yourself. So it says in your own words. Charlie is in the peak of his existence and will continue to improve with age. And I definitely believe that is the case.

Charlie Cardbury:   17:09
So thiss comes from my understanding about lean and agile principles. And I believe that as individuals or his businesses or his digital products, they should never be complete on DH business that you're involved with in six months time will be in a far more Progress Day because he should evolve every day. And it had changed with the needs of your customer is the same with you as an individual. Six months ago, I was a child in comparison to the man I am today, and I hope that in six months time I know I'm going to improve any further. And if you're building any digital product, whether that be some kind of conversational experience or even a website or nap. He needs continued. If you understand the businesses and people are changing on a day by day basis, you need to make sure that you are changing your product or service to exactly fit the demands of an ever changing world.

Alexandra King:   17:56
That is incredible. You do need to monitor your environment, don't you? Closely and keep your finger on the pulse. But, Charlie, it's being fabulous. Having you so interesting. Thank you so much for coming in today.

Charlie Cardbury:   18:06
The pleasure. Thanks.

Alexandra King:   18:08
That was voice integration expert Charlie Cadbury, CEO Off. Say it Now

Alexandra King:   18:13
watch Time's show.

Alexandra King:   18:16
It is at this point in our podcast that we're going to take more of an in depth look from a digital agency perspective. I'll be speaking to experts in the digital field who can help us take a deeper dive into the insights we've gained so far and their impact on marketing strategy. This week we're sticking with voice to discuss the rise of voice search. I'm joined by Natalie and Elliot from men twists lovely to have you both here.

Elliot King:   18:40
I get to be here,

Natalie:   18:41
great to be here,

Alexandra King:   18:43
so Charlie mentioned that it's a risk for businesses not to have a voice strategy from a mint twist perspective. Is it critical?

Natalie:   18:50
So we're seeing that cleanse don't necessarily need a voice strategy 40 day. But what they certainly need to do is understands their audience and understand those audience segments that might be increasingly using voice in order to search for the brand or relevant phrases that they might be interested in. So, for example, we work with a number of universities, and obviously they're targeting a relatively young demographic Generation Z, and we're seeing a significant increase in year one year searches that are initiated from a voice activated device.

Elliot King:   19:26
I think it's also important to add that companies and brands currently have nailed down their video strategies, their content strategies. So it's definitely important eventually to have a voice strategy as well. That's going to complement the overall the overarching strategy of a brand.

Alexandra King:   19:47
Yes. Oh, Natalie, it's really interesting that you mentioned the video and content strategies and our voice strategies. Ah, branding is part of thes strategies. So how important is personal branding

Natalie:   20:01
so personal branding, I think, is really important, especially for any business that's service based. I mean, Mint Twist is essentially a people based business, and the customers that we work with want to know the people with whom they're will be working. So we see all of our colleagues, all of our people, actually as brand ambassadors for our business, and we expect them to present themselves on DH pushed themselves forward on DH. We see that as actually value that we can leverage on DH. It becomes connected. Part ofthe mint twists, overall brand strategy.

Alexandra King:   20:38
So do you anticipate mint twist, having its own voice assistant or cheque pot assistant anytime soon? And if you do what sort off personality brand personality would it take on?

Natalie:   20:51
Well, it's an interesting question. I think in the short term, chatbots can be developed relatively easily, but they work currently as question and answer bots, so you can set them up to answer specific questions. I think building in the personality is very much a few years down the line and will probably be drawing down on the sorts of technologies that Charlie's team and organisation will be developing. I would like to think, however, that mint twists chatbots would have a friendly professional on DH. Yeah, all round. Very amiable personality.

Alexandra King:   21:31
Surly it not. Not so much of a Don Draper from Mad Men, then

Natalie:   21:35
Not quite a Don Draper. I think a little bit more easy, going a little bit. Mohr friendly. A little bit more approachable. I'd like to think a

Alexandra King:   21:42
little bit more loyal,

Elliot King:   21:43
maybe more of a John Snow. Well, there you go. There you go.

Alexandra King:   21:49
Watch Time's show.

Alexandra King:   21:51
Life is never straightforward, is it? That's why we're giving you our podcast, listeners the opportunity to ask our experts any burning questions. We're going to begin with a common problem that is on all our minds. Is our smartphone spying on us? Natalie, is it? It's

Elliot King:   22:09
interesting you mention that, actually, because I have a little bit of a funny storey. So some of you may know actually, that men twist is offices are in what used to be a rock nation, which is Jay Z's recording label, and we still sometimes receive big packages for celebrities, and we recently received a quite quite a big one. And once we opened it up, it was a massive bottle of Moet Shawn. Don't very, very fancy champagne, right? So You know, we were just talking about it in the office and very excited about receiving this big bottle on DH. Then next thing I know, I open Instagram and I see an ad from Malaysian Dome. And I was really surprised because I had never searched it before. You know, I work in digital marketing. I should know how they would, actually. Yeah, exactly. And then following a few months later, I'm telling the storey to my cousin, in a completely different country, completely different setting. So again mentioning Muay Shawn, don't over and over again. And then a day later, my cousin text me and she's like, You wouldn't believe it, but I just got targeted with an ad by motion Does well, my goodness, That that nice Jerry? Yeah, eso Very creepy. So obviously, as a marketer, I went away, started researching it. I was like, how do I not know how they're doing this? But crazily enough, Facebook neither confirms nor denies that s o. There's no actually proof or evidence of the fact that they're your smart phones are listening to you. So we don't really know if that is the case, but it's definitely something. We are witnessing a lot.

Natalie:   23:41
So many twists the partners with Facebook and Google and all of the big digital advertisers. And it's certainly the case that there is no official capability for agencies or brands. Teo use voice recognition as a driver for sending targeted ads to consumers. However, like Natalie said, because the platforms neither confirm or deny that the capability, at least the underlying capability is there. It wouldn't surprise me if the platforms were running so called dark experiments into the effectiveness of that form of advertising, and it certainly wouldn't surprise me if it comes into being at some stage in the near future.

Alexandra King:   24:20
I'm still really quite freaked out by what Natalie said. It does sound like we truly are being spied on. But but we can't really confirm that

Natalie:   24:30
spying is. It's a funny way of looking at it, isn't it? Because certainly are. Fountains are listening to us. They have to be able to respond when we say, Hey, Siri or Hello, Alexa So they're certainly listening to us. The question is whether they're using those inputs to Dr Advertising,

Alexandra King:   24:45
and we certainly don't want them to be listening to everything that we're saying Dewey.

Alexandra King:   24:50
On that concludes our podcast. Email any questions you have to podcast at Watch time dot site Or you can visit us on watch time dot sides to learn more about any of us or our guests and do subscribe to hear more from us. Thank you for listening to the watch time broadcast brought to you by digital agency meant twist.