iQuarius Media Stakes Out Its Place in the Voice Design Revolution

“It’s been a great experience to participate in a project that helps other developers to flourish their ideas and improve user’s experience using voice user interfaces and Alexa Voice Service. We are living exciting times with the current wave of technologies getting in the hands of developers to create great experiences.”  
~ Pablo Liz, Echosim.io Lead Developer

Ever since the Amazon Echo became a surprise hit product, mainstream audiences have been turned on to what those of us in tech have been excited about for a long time — truly useful, intelligent interaction with the technology in our midst. Advancements in IoT, wearables, and voice-controllable hardware like the Echo show how technology can be more than just things. They’re showing their potential to become an extension of us.

Voice control has been biggest tech disruption on this front. Alexa, the cloud-based voice assistant that powers Amazon Echo, is the underpinning for the growing world of voice-enabled products and services. Since spring of 2016, iQuarius Media has become a prominent part of the developer-focused ecosystem that Amazon has built around Alexa with our EchoSim.io project.

EchoSim by iQuarius Media 

EchoSim, the Echo Simulator, was inspired by UK-based developer Sam Machin’s AlexaWeb project and developed for Amazon by iQuarius Media. The simulator lives on the web at EchoSim.io, offering hardware-independent access to the Alexa Voice Service (AVS). The site has become an active hub for developers as well as the Alexa-curious from around the world, whether or not they have access to an Echo/Dot/Tap or other Alexa-enabled hardware.

EchoSim.io supports Amazon’s mission to get as many developers as possible into the world of voice design. It offers virtual access to an Echo with only a web browser and Amazon login credentials. With EchoSim, developers have tested their custom Alexa functions called skills; hackathons have demo’d hundreds of participant projects without needing a physical Echo; and corporate boardrooms have been able to sell the idea of voice control to stakeholders who may not otherwise have understood its value.

Of course, it’s also fun to tinker with. It explains the many thousands of users who drop by EchoSim.io regularly to try commands out. User numbers have only ballooned since the announcement in September 2016 that Alexa would support UK English and German.

Press Coverage and Growth of EchoSim

From our vantage point, we have a unique view of the growing interest in Alexa. EchoSim’s popularity has grown in tandem. As more and more developers build skills, EchoSim has shown itself to be the most popular web-based Alexa testing tool that can mimic Echo’s visual feedback in addition to JSON responses. EchoSim has been featured at Amazon Developer, major tech blogs, and web magazines. Most recently, TechCrunch gave iQuarius a mention in their post about expanded language support in AVS.

EchoSim: Deployment, Documentation, Web Presence

EchoSim.io is built on original code based on open-source and third-party modules. Our goal was to create a flexible, scalable base to make it easier to expand features and continually enhance the app. Docker containers make new versions portable and help us maintain an active update/expansion schedule without interruptions in service. In the front-end, Bootstrap gave us a solid framework and Jinja2 templates helped keep code tidy. Server-side handling of audio and HTTP/2 calls ensure we can offer better support for different browsers and devices, such as optimized audio for mobile delivery. Currently implemented Python libraries have support for server pushes, giving us room to tweak visual representations of interactions as EchoSim responds to AVS cloud-generated directives.

Documentation, marketing, and responding to user feedback is part of iQuarius’s services for EchoSim, all done in collaboration with Alexa developer marketing teams.

Ask Us

For questions about iQuarius Media’s services, including digital marketing, web media production, and app development, visit iQuariusMedia.com.

5 Ways a Temporary Website Gets Your Startup Started

Temporary Websites

Say you’ve come up with the perfect idea, but you want to wait until it’s absolutely perfect before you reveal it to the world – should you wait on building a website, too?

Now is actually the perfect time to create a temporary website.

In the beginning stages of your startup, you may want to limit the amount of money you pour into a not yet perfected idea. But you have to begin to think of your website as a constantly iterating piece of marketing collateral that can serve your business goals well.

A temporary website allows you to advance your startup in a number of ways, not least of which is exposing it to potential consumers, without having to commit to building a full site.

Some of the benefits include:

1. Host relevant Business information 

When you’re first trying to market your idea, the best practice is to have a one-stop place to direct people hoping to do a feature on you. A temporary website will allow you to host a press kit, founders bios, logo download, contact info and spec sheets etc.

2. Proof of Concept

If you want to test the demand for, or interest in, a particular marketing message – or even your product concept – a single web page with your offer and an email opt-in can provide you with an informal list of potential customers demonstrating demand for order fulfillment.

You can use this opt-in for people to name their price. Give them a single blank field to tell you what they’d pay for it. It then becomes something akin to a social letter of intent.

3. Build an Email List of Beta Testers & for Product Announcements

Having an email opt-in page on your temporary website allows you to collect the emails of those interested in being part of alpha and beta tests, and of early adopters who want to know when your site will go live.. This way you have a number of invested people on which to test your product, and built in fans for when you’re ready to reveal your improvements.

You want to be in control of the conversation surrounding your product or idea. Start by building anticipation so that when you’re ready to reveal, you already have an audience interested in what you have to say.

4. Gain Social Proof for your Domain

Getting social shares, likes, and +1’s for your website content helps you to gain social proof and SEO authority. The more shares your content gets, the more established value you have the web. Having a temporary website allows you to get a headstart on establishing SEO authority for your permanent website.

5. Holds your demonstratable product for investors to view after your pitch

You want to leave a lasting impression on potential investors. While you can captivate them in a demonstration, they don’t know your product as well as you do. A temporary website allows them to access all the relevant information for your product. You have the option to create a non-public URL that hosts your pitch deck or demonstratable product and share that link with only those you wish to see it.

If you want to capitalize on all these benefits, iQuarius media specializes in creating temporary sites with a quick turnaround time. Contact us today to get your startup started. 

Photo Credit: hulieoh

Who We Work With | iQuarius Media

Whether you are an Ad AgencyMarketing CompanyDesign House, or Business Owner, we can compliment your efforts you already have in motion by extending your approach to the Internet.

  • Ad Agencies – If you are running a media blitz, let us execute the Internet campaign with PPC Advertising, Social Marketing, Email Campaigns, and online Press Releases. Inquire about our competitive agency rates.
  • Marketing Companies – So you’ve thought of the perfect brand and message for your client. Now let us help you get that message in front of your target market on the Internet with Website Development, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, and more! Inquire about our competitive agency rates.
  • Design Shops –  You do great design and everyone knows it! Which is why they want you to design their next website, email campaign, or e-newsletters. Let us program it for you and help make your creative vision a reality.
  • Business Owners – You signed up to be the “expert in your field” and have the freedom to run your business. Now you are expected to know everything about internet marketing and information technology. Let us help you take the mystery out of “new media” by assisting you in forging a well-defined Internet Strategy so you can get back to doing what you do best.

What We Are NOT

We are not an Ad AgencyMarketing Company, or Design House. We complement these types of businesses by extending your reach to the internet world. You are the experts in coming up with the best “message” — and we are the vessel to deliver it.

Bing's Perspective on Quality Content

contentSince the Google Panda Update first launched back in February (and really for some time before that), there has been a lot of discussion about search quality throughout the industry – the quality of the content that search engines are returning in their results.

This is the whole reason the Panda update exists. It’s all about improving the quality of results. Some will dispute the success of that, but it is the reason for better or for worse.

But what about Bing? It doesn’t command nearly the search market share that Google does but, as it powers Yahoo search, it’s really the only major competitor in town.

Whereas Google had a list of questions one could ask themselves to asses the quality of their site, Bing has published a list of things to avoid, which reads as follows:

  • Duplicate content – don’t use articles or content that appears in other places.  Produce your own unique content.
  • Thin content – don’t produce pages with little relevant content on them – go deep when producing content – think “authority” when building your pages.  Ask yourself if this page of content would be considered an authority on the topic.
  • All text/All images – work to find a balance here, including images to help explain the content, or using text to fill in details about images on the page.  Remember that text held inside an image isn’t readable by the crawlers.
  • Being lonely – enable ways for visitors to share your content through social media.
  • Translation tools – rarely does a machine translation tool leave you with content that reads properly and that actually captures the original sentiment.  Avoid simply using a tool to translate content from one language to the next and posting that content online.
  • Skipping proofreading – when you are finished producing content, take the time to check for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and for the overall flow when reading.  Does it sound like you’re repeating words too frequently?  Remove them.  Don’t be afraid to rewrite the content, either.
  • Long videos – If you produce video content, keep it easily consumable.  Even a short 3 – 4 minute video can be packed with useful content, so running a video out to 20 minutes is poor form in most instances.  It increases download times and leads to visitor dissatisfaction at having to wait for the video to load.  Plus, if you are adding a transcription of your video, even a short video can produce a lengthy transcription.
  • Excessively long pages – if your content runs long, move it to a second page.  Readers need a break, so be careful here to balance the length of your pages.  Make sure your pagination solution doesn’t cause other issues for your search optimization efforts, though.
  • Content for content’s sake – if you are producing content, be sure its valuable.  Don’t just add text to every page to create a deeper page.  Be sure the text, images or videos are all relevant to the content of the page.

If you’re living up to Google’s definition of quality, you probably won’t be doing too bad in Bing either, and if you’re doing well in Google, you’re probably getting a lot more search referrals from Google than you could ever get from Bing anyway, but it’s still helpful to get a look into Bing’s own thinking on this issue.

 

Thanks to Chris Crum of Web Pro News

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