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Standfirst software suite now includes Alexa Flash Briefing tools

Interconnect IT has announced the general availability of Standfirst for Alexa, with self-service sign-up.

Standfirst software suite now includes Alexa Flash Briefing tools
David Coveney: “We decided to make it as easy as possible for publishers to manage their Flash Briefings.” Photograph: Nicolas J Leclerq on Unsplash.

“A Flash Briefing is the name Amazon uses for the short audio and video snippets that are played by Alexa when you ask ‘Alexa, tell me the news’ in the morning,” said David Coveney, Director at Interconnect IT Ltd. “If you’re creating short podcasts or longer ones that can be broken up into segments over a week, the Alexa Flash Briefings channel allows you a very low cost and effective way to gain a new audience.”

“However, tools to manage these separately and specifically have failed to materialise from podcast service providers, so we decided to make it as easy as possible for publishers to manage their Flash Briefings in a way that’s designed specifically for Alexa and its quality requirements. None, for example, support text to speech, which Standfirst for Alexa allows, nor can any competitors we found support video Flash Briefings.”

Getting content onto a Flash Briefing has been limited to larger publishers, says Interconnect IT, simply because although recording a one or two-minute snippet is relatively straightforward, Amazon’s Alexa has some quality requirements in terms of audio levels, compression, and how the data feed is set up — all of which can be challenging or time-consuming from a production point of view.

Standfirst for Alexa’s key features include:

  1. Automatic processing of audio levels to match Alexa standards.
  2. Text to voice support if you can’t record audio every day.
  3. Video support capability for larger providers
  4. Multimedia capability

Interconnect IT’s Claire Larsen, who led the project, said: “Software should require the minimum amount of training because training is time-consuming and can fast become very expensive. The development and design philosophy, then, had to be that if a bright but young kid can do it, a busy publisher would be just fine.”

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