VOICE Summit will offer top speakers, hands-on learning in the world of natural language processing

Pete Erickson founded Modev a decade ago with the belief that human connectivity is essential and vital to digital transformation.

Years later, following the explosion of natural language processing through products such as Amazon Alexa, his belief is proving to be true.

This fall, Erickson and Modev are bringing the VOICE Summit to the campus of New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark July 24-26, a three-day event of learning and thought leadership, sponsored by Amazon Alexa, that he feels will help enhance the industry and those who want to join it.

The event, Erickson said, will serve as a gathering space for more than 1,500 developers, designers and leading brands and agencies who are reimagining how people interact with technology through voice.

Erickson said he expects to have 75-100 speakers and presenters.

“It will include a lot of deep-dive workshops, like hands-on (classes and) how to do things,” he said. “We’re going to have a dozen people from the Amazon team that are giving classes and courses on how to build Alexa skills, but a lot of other things around natural language generation.

“This is hands-on learning conference as well as a thought leadership stage. The best brands in the world are going to be coming here, talking about what they are doing in this area of natural language.”

Erickson knows the field is still very young, so he’s making sure the conference will have something relevant for anyone who attends, both professionals and students.

“We view VOICE as having something for all that are interested in opportunities in this space,” he said. “Students can expect content for getting started in building your very first voice skill to advance content.

“There will be courses that you can take, modules that will be 45-60 minutes long taught by people who are in this space.”

Erickson feels those already in the game will have huge networking opportunities.

“Students who are advanced in their studies will have an opportunity to meet a lot of the folks who are out in the world running companies and running programs in some of the amazing products you’re going to be seeing,” he said.

NJIT President Joel Bloom is thrilled the event is coming to the school and feels it fits well with the school’s mission of being on the cutting edge of the latest technology.

“We already have so many students and faculty working in this area,” he said. “It’s a natural connection for what we are doing.”

And while the Summit will have many professionals, Erickson feels bringing the next generation of students in the mix is so important that he is offering discounted tickets to the first 500 registrants.

Erickson feels the knowledge gained is too important to his mission of connecting people to technology through voice.

“We have to come together as people and human beings and actually share this information,” he said. “As we become more connected to our devices and we’re talking to things, it’s more important than ever that we connect as people. That’s our mission.”