How Voice-Enabled Solutions Can Drive Innovation in Pharma: Insights from the Alexa Diabetes Challenge 





Sara Holoubek

Founder and CEO, Luminary Labs


Recognized by LinkedIn as a 2017 Top Voice in Technology, Sara leads Luminary Labs, the New York consulting firm that organized the Alexa Diabetes Challenge on behalf of Merck and Amazon. In her role, she develops strategies and innovation systems to help Fortune 500, government, and nonprofit organizations thrive in the face of change. Widely quoted in publications such as Fast Company and, she serves in advisory and leadership roles for initiatives ranging from community health and to female entrepreneurship.



Bill Rogers

Co-founder and CEO at Orbita



Bill  is a visionary software executive with a unique combination of deep, hands-on technology expertise and broad-based business strategy acumen. He has served as founder and CEO of successful high growth software companies including Ektron, a leading provider of content and experience management platforms used to create and manage unique, personalized web and mobile experiences. Journalists and conference organizers frequently call upon Bill to share perspectives on voice technologies in healthcare, including CNBC and LinkedIn as well as blogs from Samsung and Dell.




As voice technology transforms the way we live, how do highly regulated pharma and biotech organizations push the innovation envelope with today’s newest digital interface?  How does an entity solve a real-world problem by closing the gap between conceptualization and reality?

These questions catalyzed last year’s Merck-sponsored Alexa Diabetes Challenge which called on innovators to create Alexa voice-enabled solutions to improve the lives of those with type 2 diabetes. Nearly 100 teams participated. How did the challenge play out?  Where are the winners now? And what important lessons were learned?

Our presenters will discuss the Alexa Diabetes Challenge and explore:


  • Real-world examples of early voice-first use cases
  • Opportunities to leverage voice to streamline data collection, improve clinical trial engagement, increase treatment adherence, and optimize population health strategies
  • Applications of voice to support product development, enhance customer service and streamline business processes
  • Subtleties of developing for voice UX (vs. web and mobile)
  • What’s the role of voice in the world of smart sensors and connected homes?