5 min read
How Communities Drive Emerging Industries Forward
To an outsider, emerging industries like AI or smart cars are somewhat of a thing-in-itself — they reportedly grow fast, have their moments of hype, and soon get reduced to buzzwords. But from the inside things look quite different — especially for startups — there’s little viable industry stats, lack of insightful use-cases, no established institutions, and pains of searching for talent. That’s why often communities come in and power emerging industries.
Challenges that emerging industries face
Take the Conversational AI industry, for example, which is estimated to grow from $4.73 billion in 2020 to $18.5 billion by 2027, a recent report says. Despite the pandemic-induced surge in the adoption of conversational tech and the growing popularity of virtual agents, it’s still the early days for the industry. And people involved in this industry deal with the same peculiarities as in other emerging ones:
Low media attention
There are moments when new tech causes a buzz in big media outlets, but all in all, companies in mature industries get a lot more media coverage. As a result, lots of Conversational AI projects and events remain unknown to the global audience — mostly because their significance is unclear to an outsider. Of course, there is industry media like Voicebot.ai, which does an amazing job at covering industry news, and is now a go-to source for anyone interested in conversational tech. But industry media outlets usually remain very niche, while most people rely on the likes of Forbes and Tech Crunch for business and tech news.
We’re seeing tech giants like Google and Amazon joining the conversation — Google’s Voice Talks got the Webby Award this year. However, the global Conversational AI community we have today is the result of collective efforts by people passionate about the new tech. Bradley Metrock of Project Voice, Pete Erickson of Voice Summit, Kane Simms of Vux World, Joan Palmiter Bajorek of Women in Voice — if it wasn’t for them, the Conversational AI industry would be much less happening.
Not enough industry stats and use cases
Although chatbots and voice assistants have been around for a while now, comprehensive industry insights and analytics are still rare. Naturally, there are reports on the global industry by established analytical firms like Statista and Canalys, as well as priceless research from Voicebot.ai. But when it comes to smaller markets, detailed insights are hard to find.
Lack of trained professionals
Emerging industries don’t just grow dramatically, they evolve pretty fast too and require a new breed of professionals. Finding someone for a job that didn’t exist two years ago is not an easy task and one would need to sift through lots of invite-only Slack groups to get eligible candidates.
Communities to the rescue
All that said, Conversational technologies are becoming an integral part of our lives: people have certain needs they cater to, businesses have certain problems they can fix, developers have certain ways to monetize them. That’s where industry communities come into play:
Finding your crowd
If you’re looking for people who share your passion for Conversational tech, there are regular #VoiceLunch Zoom events where you can discuss all the burning questions over lunch or a cup of coffee. There is also Women in Voice — one of the fastest growing and buzzing communities in the Conversational AI industry — check their website and discover events in your location. Monthly VOICE Talks by Google are also a great place to meet like-minded people. For conversation designers and developers, hackathons are another great way to meet like-minded people (or get a new job) — Junction hackathon, for example, features Conversational AI challenges as well.
Recruiting and problem-solving
Finding new team members in emerging industries is a challenge of its own. Fortunately, there are recruitment companies like techire.io — who focus on recruiting Conversational AI professionals among all things. There are job boards in the communities mentioned above. Finally, hackathons are perfect since you can find an entire team for a particular project — and in a very short time
Discovering expertise and analytics
Finally, if you want to know the latest trends and industry stats, find insightful use cases and learn from the experience of others, the Conversational AI industry offers some incredible events — there are global Project Voice and Voice Summit, as well as the European Chatbot & Conversational AI Summit and Voice Tech Summit Asia — that offer more regionally-focused insights.
There are also events that shed the light on the markets no one really knows about — like the Conversations conference. The event lifts the veil of the Russian Conversational AI market: which is driven by the local tech giants, features an ecosystem of voice assistants, shares stellar tech expertise and business cases of any scale and for any industry that can be easily adapted to any needs.
However, no list is complete, and if you know any important communities that we’ve missed do let us know!