AVIxD Virtual Brown Bag Series 2015


You’re Invited!


The Association for Voice Interaction Design (AVIxD) is pleased to announce its free Speaker Series 2015 schedule. Mark your calendar, bring your peanut butter sandwiches and gather ‘round the virtual meeting table for the following series of free, interesting and informative talks. And they’re free! (Did we mention they’re free?)

2015 Brown Bags

  • March 3rd: “Practical VUI Lessons from Open Speech Deployments”   David Attwater and Caroline Collins from Enterprise Integration Group (UK)
  • May 5th: “Ubiquitous Voice: An Introduction and an Overview of the Ecosystem” Lisa Falkson from CloudCar
  • July 7th: “A Case for Natural Language”  David Claiborn from United Health Group
  • September 1st: SpeechTEK Debrief
  • November 3rd: Microsoft’s “Language Understanding Intelligent Service” (LUIS)  Jason Williams, Microsoft Research


Each session will consist of a 45-minute presentation and a 15-minute Q&A, except for the last session, which will be more of a roundtable.


To sign up for any or all of these sessions, please go to our AVIxD Eventbrite Page at: http://avixd.eventbrite.com/ The sessions will be recorded and archive sessions will be made available to all AVIxD members as part of our knowledge base. We’re very excited about this opportunity to learn and to share our professional knowledge and expertise!


Here are the details on each session and our speakers:

 Upcoming Brown Bags


November 3rd, 12:00 (Eastern)

Microsoft’s “Language Understanding Intelligent Service” (LUIS) 

Microsoft’s LUIS, “Language Understanding Intelligent Service,” is a web-based platform for quickly creating machine-learning based language understanding models, with very minimal machine-learning skills.  The model is deployed to an HTTP endpoint, and can be used by any application connected to the internet with a simple HTTP call.  The project webpage is at www.luis.ai

Jason Williams, Microsoft Research

Jason Williams is a senior researcher interested in dialog management, dialog and user modeling, turntaking, confidence scoring and language uncertainty.  For more information, see http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/people/jawillia/



 Past Brown Bags

September 1st, 12:00 (Eastern)

SpeechTEK Debrief and Open Round Table Discussion

AVIxD Brown Bag committee members Crispin Reedy (Versay) and Amy Goodwin (West) will bring provocative questions and interesting topics for discussion inspired by industry trends and sessions from SpeechTEK. Bring your own questions too! This open-form Q&A session will be lively and engaging and you’re sure to learn something.

JULY 7th, 12:00 (Eastern)

A Case for Natural Language

 In March, David Attwater and Caroline Collins of EIG stepped through analyses of their real-world, open speech deployments, providing insight to the advantages and shortcomings of natural language and the unique design solutions they’ve identified to improve outcomes.  In this session, David Claiborn will share a customer-driven case study exploring the unique challenges identified around technologies geared toward the consumer health insurance population.  We’ll examine the value story which spurred a major organization’s decision to invest in natural language as well as the actual outcomes realized post-deployment.

David Claiborn

David Claiborn is a Product Owner for United Health Group’s Optum organization.  He has been with UHG for nearly a decade, having joined as a VUI designer after getting his start in IBM’s Global Services division.  A former Peace Corps volunteer originally from Kansas, he now lives in how-can-it-possibly-be-this-hot-in Columbia, South Carolina, with his wife and best friend, Carrie, and their daughter, Margot, who is on a path to take over the world.

May 5th, 12:00 (Eastern)

Ubiquitous Voice: An Introduction and an Overview of the Ecosystem

Voice — the ultimate and the most natural of all interfaces — is going to play a major role in how humans interact with the increasing intelligence surrounding them. Siri kicked off the emergence of voice in October 2011, followed by Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana. Beyond the speaking smartphone, we have also seen the emergence of smaller plays, like The Ubi, Ivee, Martian Watches, Jibo, and XOWi, and not so small ones as well, such as the Echo that just came out from Amazon. In this talk, we will provide a high level introduction to the concept of Ubiquitous Voice experiences and how such experiences differ from traditional telephony based voice interactions. We will then present a high level overview of the Ubiquitous Voice ecosystem landscape, touching not only on the front applications, but also reviewing some of the key technologies that enable the deployment of Ubiquitous Voice products and solutions.


Lisa Falkson

Lisa Falkson is a Senior VUI/UX Designer at CloudCar, with over 15 years of experience in speech recognition research and industry. In the past year, she launched 3 Amazon digital products incorporating speech: Fire TV, Fire Phone, and Echo. Prior to that, she worked for 7 years as a Business Analyst, VUI Architect and Speech Technology Specialist at Nuance Communications. She also worked for 2 years at a small startup named Volio, creating interactive video experiences guided by the user’s voice. Lisa holds a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from UCLA. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son (who recently turned 6), playing/watching sports, and lifting weights. In her earlier life, she was a competitive tennis and field hockey player.

March 3rd, 12:00 (Eastern)

Practical VUI Lessons from Open Speech Deployments

Deployment of open speech solutions for call centres is now mainstream. In this talk we will attempt to distil our learnings from several deployments at various stages of maturity. This talk will take an honest look at the strengths and weaknesses of the technology and the design solutions that are driven by these issues. Where are the real business benefits of open speech? (and where does it threaten existing performance). Why do some clients take out their open speech solutions, even after significant investment? We do not presume to have the answers to all of these questions. Instead this talk is intended to help VUI designers ask the right questions of themselves and their stakeholders.


David Attwatter

David has over 20 years’ experience researching and designing spoken user interfaces in the UK, US, Europe and Africa. He joined EIG in 2003 with responsibilities for user interface usability, design, research and development. David also manages the EIG UK Office. Before joining EIG he was head of the spoken dialog research team at the British Telecom Research Labs. David has several international patents pending and numerous publications. He holds two engineering degrees from the University of York, UK. Amongst David’s specific areas of expertise are applications using statistical language models, very large data driven applications, and Wizard of Oz usability testing on live traffic.   He also has extensive experience in speech corpus collection and annotation management.


Caroline Collins

Caroline has over 15 years of experience providing VUI consultancy in the UK, US, Europe and Africa including numerous projects in finance, utilities, telecommunication, retail, and government. She has a BA(Hons) in Linguistics and MSc in Speech and Language Processing. She is a passionate advocate of user-centric design and also enjoys baking.