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Day One: Sessions, VIP Receptions, and Happy Hour

In the main stage Atrium, a series of casual Alexa conversations are taking place. The pair currently on-stage are presenting their Alexa skill called Diamond Slots—but their Alexa is seemingly unaware of her role in the presentation, spontaneously answering "Sorry, I don't know that."

Over in the Kupfrian Jim Wise Theatre, Maarten Lens-FitzGerald is speaking to an intimate gathering of attendees on the "Dark Mirror Scenario for Voice". In his distinctive polka-dot pants and bow-tie, Maarten explains how technology has taken over our lives and blatantly ignored our privacy. He concludes his talk by introducing the Voice Task Group—a consortium to "guard the potential of the voice channel".

Maarten_Fitzgerald_VOICE19Maarten Lens-FitzGerald giving his talk in the Jim Wise Theater.

Around the campus, dozens of sessions are enlightening attendees and spurring creative ideas of their own. Back at the Exhibition floor, the Author's Table was busy with attendees lining up for signed books. Cathy Pearl scribbles in her signature publication while a student looks on in awe.

Authors table VOICE 19
Cathy Pearl signing a book at the Authors Table.

On the far end of the floor, a few startup teams are somehow still alert and ready to speak to whomever approached their booth.

But the traffic around the tables and booths is beginning to dwindle. As the day winds down, so do the attendees. Tables are moved to make way for a lavish spread of breads, cheeses, dips, and fruit. The media tables have also been replaced with an open bar, drawing the last people from behind their booths. Next to the pop-up bar, a bass player plucks a few practice strings as his partner swings the strap of his saxophone over his shoulder.

Expo buffet
Attendees serving themselves fruit, vegetables, and crackers at the EXPO buffet table.

open bar expo 2019Attendees around the open bar during EXPO happy hour.

As happy hour comes to a boil on the EXPO floor, up in the VIP lounge, Samsung's exclusive reception is beginning to buzz. CEO's, executives, and the best and brightest in Voice are striding in to unwind and network over fine wines and hors d'oeuvres.

The room glows deep blue and is dotted with compact armchairs, the bars and tables decorated with white flowers propped in glass vases. The ambience is calm but with a visible spark of excitement as admirers finally meet their idols in person. Adam Cheyer chuckles as someone animatedly tells him how much they love his work and raves about Cheyer's presentation earlier in the day.

Behind them, Yongkook Kim from Vicom Infinity strolls across the room with a chilled beer bottle in his hand, casually commenting to nearby VOICE staff that he's grateful for the networking opportunity and "loves the layout this year."

Samsung VIP VOICE19Exclusive attendees networking outside the Samsung VIP reception bar.

A few steps away, Heidi Culbertson is surrounded by a small group hoping to catch a few insights on her off-hours. Viv Labs Evangelist, John Alioto, is swerving through the chattering crowd and servers.

"It's a really good opportunity for people to connect with one another. Everyone is here because they believe in Voice and believe it's the next generation of how we're going to communicate with technology."  - John Alioto, Viv.

He adds that the highlight of his day was Adam Cheyer's keynote and that his vision is the reason John gets up and goes to work in the morning. He then continues on his quest to reach the exit for some much-needed rest at his hotel. He leaves behind a bubbling room of people from the biggest brands in the business, including HBO, Netflix, Mayo Clinic, Philips, and even NASA.

The invite-only event slows to a close around 7:30 PM and attendees chat with each other as they make their way out and back to their hotels to rest and be ready for another busy day at VOICE Summit.

Ready to join us at VOICE 2020? Pre-register here and stay in the loop for next year's tickets. Don't miss out!


VOICE19, Live

Jenny Medeiros

Written by Jenny Medeiros

Jenny is an engineer turned tech writer with hands-on experience in VR, AR, video game development, and UX-focused web design. Nowadays, she partners with tech companies to help explain emerging technologies simply. When she's not writing, she's likely daydreaming and forgetting her tea.

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