What is a Flash Briefing and Why Does Every Business Need One?

Neil Tilbury voice technology consultant and voice expert

By Neil Tilbury

Voice Technology Consultant

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It is becoming common knowledge that a flash briefing is the most popular and used voice first app or ‘skill’ on the amazon app store.

Flash briefings are recorded overviews of news, tips, and updates from a business or influencer for consumers who use an Amazon Alexa voice assistant.

A flash briefing and it’s content allows businesses, influencers and marketers, to generate a ‘microcast’ for users of the Amazon Alexa to listen to in the transitional parts of their daily routine. Whereas podcasting has fallen into the ‘narrowcasting’ arena, flash briefings now fall into the ‘microcasting’ segment of the voice first market.

So, what are flash briefings exactly?

Flash briefings are a step into the future of how users of the Amazon Alexa platform will consume their news on a daily basis.

How to select a flash brieifng in the amazon alexa application

Once a flash briefing is enabled on their Alexa app, all users have to do is to ask their Alexa smart speaker for their flash briefing and Alexa will play their desired flash briefings.

The flash briefings will play one after the other until the user asks Alexa to stop playing their flash briefings or the user has listened to them in their entirety.

Users of any tech in the last 15 years have had to use a web browser to search for their desired content, whether that be news, fashion, sport, or popular magazines. Although common place, this is actually a very mechanical way to communicate information.

Speech most of us take it for granted, but speech is the most natural form of communication for humans. With 6500 languages on the planet dating back 100,000 years, it seems only natural that we would want to converse with technology too.

Podcasts vs flash briefings

In the last 5 years the podcast has been popular with its ‘narrowcasting’ style, listening to information, interviews and audio books have become popular in how we consume information. Users do however have to touch a screen to activate their desired episodes of their chosen media.

‘Hands free’ and ‘eyes free’ is the new way to play your desired content.

Statistically sales of the Amazon Alexa have increased fifteen fold since 2016, and although there is competition in the market some 74 million Americans own an Alexa smart speaker. In Australia 1.35 million homes are said to own an Alexa or other voice first assistants, and it’s predicted that 1 in 3 Australians will own a voice first assistant by the end of 2019.

Amazon smart speaker sales on the rise in Australia

Statistically sales of the Amazon Alexa have increased fifteen fold since 2016, and although there is competition in the market some 74 million Americans own an Alexa smart speaker. In Australia 1.35 million homes are said to own an Alexa or other voice first assistants, and it’s predicted that 1 in 3 Australians will own a voice first assistant by the end of 2019.

We know flash briefings are native to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and the Alexa smartphone and tablet app. Users of the Alexa can set up ‘routines’ in the app so they can greet Alexa ‘good morning’, ‘good afternoon’ or ‘good night’ and have certain flash briefings play at different times of the day.

Users can also incorporate smart home devices such as wi-fi enabled lights, plugs, cameras, tv’s and temperature controls to daily routines too.

Flash briefings and daily routines

Marleen is a 60 year old lady who lives on her own, she uses a walking frame, and despite the decline in her mobility she still loves to get into the garden. Last year Marleen’s daughter brought her an Amazon Alexa, some wi-fi bulbs and a wi-fi enabled thermostat.

Marleen’s carer has helped her set up her Amazon Alexa.

Marleen can now wake up in the morning and from the comfort of her bed say ‘Alexa, good morning’.

Alexa turns on her bedroom light at her desired colour and setting, the bathroom light, sets the temperature to 21 degrees centigrade, turns on the heater, and then says ‘here is your flash briefing’, Marleen’s favorite the ‘Brunswick in bloom’ flash briefing.

Marleen now stays up-to-date with what and when to plant her garden beds, daily tricks and tips for gardening with the local weather and climate in Melbourne, Australia.

Why businesses and brands need flash briefings

Flash briefings are an important venture for businesses of any size. Your flash briefing can guide listeners to services, products, podcasts and more by using the tried and tested ‘call to actions’ used in other social media marketing.

A user of the Amazon Alexa voice assistant that might be into martial arts could listen to your Jiu Jitsu mindset flash briefing every day and could grow to love your content.

Commuters will also become fond of flash briefings. When you consider that people who drive to and from work every day, we can spend some 200 hours in the car to and from work each year.

Voice technology in cars

Since 2015 Drivers have already been using Apple’s Siri to make and answer calls, and read and dictate text messages.

Soon Alexa will be available in cars with their ‘echo auto’ device, and will piggyback off your phone’s connectivity back to the cloud. Drivers with an ‘echo auto’  will be able to access everything they can already access with Amazon’s range of echo home devices.

Set the temperature of your home before you get there, perhaps forgot to turn a light off, even turn a few lights on to make it look like someone is home, or order a takeaway for ready and waiting for when you get home. Drivers can do all this hands and eyes free.

Automakers have struggled to integrate voice technology in cars for years, and car manufacturers Lexus and Toyota believes Alexa is the answer.

In 2018 there were some 19.2 million vehicle registrations in Australia, with the state of Victoria reporting the largest growth in registered vehicles by 2.6 per cent.

Toyota topped the list for the 13th consecutive year running with 2.9 million car registrations.

It seems there is definitely mileage with Alexa users and their flash briefings into the future.

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