Technical Thoughts: Sentieo’s Alexa Skill and the Three Fundamental Laws of Voice User Experience $AMZN $GOOGL $AAPL

Sentieo’s Alexa Skill is live! We present some thoughts from our technical team recapping our experiences for the benefit of those who are keen on considering the future of computer interfaces.

For Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) to have any chance of success, the future direction of Voice User Experience (VUX) will be strongly tied to physical, not software, constraints.

The three features of these will be:

1) At least 100 words per minute (wpm) input

2) close to 200wpm output

3) under 250ms response time.

We are nowhere close.

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Casper is no friendly ghost.. just ask $TPX

The rise of “mattress in a box” startups like Casper, Tuft and Needle, and Leesa is gaining steam and has potential to up-end traditional mattress businesses. This threat has been discussed for some time — the red bars in the chart below show document mentions of Casper, Tuft and Needle and Leesa in documents tagged to legacy mattress companies. Legacy companies’ stock prices peaked just as document mentions of the non-traditional players became more prevalent.

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Fresh from Sentieo Mad Science Labs: Introducing the Sentieo Alexa Skill

When we say we want you to have your financial information wherever you go, we weren’t kidding. Whether AR or VR, autonomous vehicles or drones wins the next platform race, we think voice interaction is the future of human-computer interaction. So the mad scientists at Sentieo Mad Science Labs have put together the most data-packed stocks skill available on the Amazon Echo and released it into the wild, completely free to you.

Madness, you say?


Note: for a more serious discussion of where we think voice interfaces will go in the near future, head over to our Technical Thoughts.

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ASNA 4Q miss, Stock Plunges by 25%: Evidence of Retail Bloodbath

Ascena Retail’s stock was down 25% on Tuesday after reporting disastrous 4Q16 results. The comp store sales declined -5% in 4Q16 vs. consensus estimate of -2.3% and EPS came in at $0.08 vs. consensus estimate of $0.16. Further, the company guided for a -1% to -2% comp store sale growth for FY17, despite weak comps in FY16. We use Sentieo’s plotter tool to track the revenue estimates and stock price for ASNA, and note a severe downward revision after yesterday’s results.

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We highlighted in our previous blog post that the retail sector is going through a rough patch due to digital disruption, weak consumer sentiment (driven by election fears), and commodity deflation, leading to a series of bankruptcies and store closures.

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$GOOGL Trips Goes Native: When will $AMZN buy $TRIP?

We have spent the past day playing around with the new Google Trips native app. Reviews have been effusive, with titles like “killer travel app” (The Verge) and “a free, full-time travel guide” (TechRadar). The user interface is a breath of fresh air and matches the clean aesthetic we’ve come to know and love from Google, but it doesn’t make us run out and short TripAdvisor right away. Unlike the Chinese OTA sector, where the two industry leaders $QUNR and $CTRP literally threw billions at each other before finally making peace, the Western “TripAdvice” industry is bifurcating and this is the reason why $GOOGL and $TRIP will coexist peacefully in the medium term. In the long term, $TRIP will probably not exist as an independent entity. We explore why it could be worth more to $AMZN instead.

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Retail Bloodbath: Parsing the Cyclical, Electoral, and Structural Triple Threat

The retail sector is going through a rough patch due to digital disruption, weak consumer sentiment (driven by election fears), and commodity deflation, leading to a series of bankruptcies and store closures. According to Sentieo’s document search, retailers are facing the toughest of times – evidenced by drastically increased rates of store closures, and putting into question the very survival of these firms.

Bankruptcy and store closures trending higher vs. 2008 recession period

The American retail landscape has seen a host of bankruptcies (Aeropostale, Sports Authority, Sports Chalet) and store closures in the last couple years. Macy’s recently announced the closure of 100 stores in FY17, followed by 40 closures in FY16.

We did a document search in Sentieo of all retailers for the term “Store closure.” As seen in the graph below, the mention of “store closure” by retailers is trending higher vs. the 2008-09 recession and the 2012 election, highlighting the ongoing bloodbath in the retail space.

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Major Update: All Roads Now Lead To The Sentieo Mobile App

Download links: iPhone | iPad | Android

We are very excited to finally roll out minor updates for Android and major updates across our suite of iOS apps. Alongside enterprise-level security upgrades (please ask your sales representative if this is of interest) and highly requested Stream/Watchlist updates, we wanted to highlight three ways we have completely blown open access:

  1. Deeplink from Sentieo Edge to the app
  2. One-touch access from your Notification Center to the app
  3. Clip any articles or PDFs to Sentieo through the app


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Americans cut their spend as election fears loom – Part 1

As the race to the U.S. presidential elections is underway, we take a look at sectors being impacted most by the 2016 election season. Generally, in the run-up to an election, consumers tend to cut back on discretionary expenditures due to the uncertainty around the political climate.

Measuring in Quantitative Terms

One such sector feeling the heat is the Restaurant sector – both casual dining and quick service restaurants. We did a document search in Sentieo with the term “Elections” for restaurant companies. The first thing we noticed was that the mention of the term “Elections” during 2016 has been 50% more than that during the 2012 election period.

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