Google's Alice Zimmerman and Ben Drury, founder of the smart-speaker start-up Yoto, are the latest to join FutureBook Live, The Bookseller's publishing conference.
Zimmerman, assistant partnerships lead, UK, Google, and Drury, join the smart-speaker panel, “Trends in Audio Content for Voice Assistant Technology”, where they will speak alongside Jess Williams co-founder of voice designer consultancy Opearlo. Radio futurologist and keynote speaker James Cridland will chair this session.
Earlier this year HarperCollins launched a voice-activated app on Google Assistant for children’s audiobooks, StoryCastle. Google Assistant is a virtual assistant developed by the US technology company that is mostly available on mobile and smart home devices.
Yoto is a smart audio speaker that was created to maximise children’s development skills without building reliance on screen time and allows children to unlock a carefully curated world of music, stories and learning via smart NFC cards. Yoto offers youngsters the opportunity to build independence over what they listen to or play. This week it announced that it is to offer a series of ‘smart cards’ based on Judith Kerr’s classic character Mog thanks to a partnership with HarperCollins Children’s Books. Yoto was successfully funded on Kickstarter in December 2017 and will go on sale and next month. The company has also worked with the Roald Dahl Estate to provide Dahl stories via the speaker.
Other speakers announced this week include bestselling author Sophie Hannah, Joffe Books founder Jasper Joffe, subscriptions specialist John Philips, and Ali Albazaz, founder and chief executive of reader-powered publisher Inkitt,