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Voice on Voice #132 
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Car Assistants Hit the Road

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Voice assistants in the car, once nice-to-haves, are now must-haves. There are nearly 130 million in-car voice assistant users in the US, which is greater than the number of smart speaker owners. One reason why drivers are turning to voice assistants in the vehicle is because 92% of voice users believe they make them feel safer when driving. As a result, car manufacturers from Ford to Lamborghini have leveraged major voice assistants, as well as custom assistants with their own wake words. Amazon saw the value in the deployment of both Alexa and a manufacturer’s custom offering when it introduced Alexa Custom Assistant. This week, Continental and Elektrobit are helping automakers speed up their voice assistant deployments with the first in-car integration of the Alexa Custom Assistant offering.

Alexa Custom Assistant in Action

Automotive parts company Continental and its software counterpart Elektrobit developed the first in-car integration of Amazon’s Alexa Custom Assistant offering. With this development, automotive companies can now test this new software in demos of production cars to determine the value of the technology as well as the use cases available. With Alexa Custom Assistant, drivers can ask questions related to car controls and more general content (i.e. weather, music), and the most relevant assistant will answer. As in-car assistants become expected features, automakers are turning to both custom voice assistants and major assistants to meet customers’ needs.
More on Forbes

Welcome to the Greenroom 

Spotify is taking on Clubhouse with the global arrival of Greenroom, its live audio capability, on both iOS and Android. Using the Greenroom app, any Spotify user can join or host a live room based on topics like the NBA, comedy, celebrity news, and more. After the chat, users can even download the audio clips to turn them into podcast episodes. The app largely uses the foundation of Locker Room, the sports social audio app that Spotify acquired back in March. With big companies like Facebook and Twitter now populating the audio space, companies must determine how they can provide unique customer experiences by leveraging their core services.
More on Spotify

Take the Shortcut 

Google has launched new Google Assistant shortcut updates for Android. Last fall, the company rolled out the shortcuts that allow users to perform tasks like sending a tweet, searching within apps, and calling a ride with voice commands. Now, the new shortcuts lets users stay within the Assistant and get information from a widget, and users can access apps like Capital One and Strava with commands. Google Assistant has always had an edge in mobile because it is built into Android phones. And with its slew of new updates — Memory, “What’s on my screen,” and more — in the past few months, Google is making progress to position Google Assistant as the hub of the phone.
More on The Verge & Google

By the Numbers

38.2%

of adults in the UK own a smart speaker. (data via Voicebot.ai)

500 million

installations of the Google Assistant Android app. (data via 9to5Google)

Emerging Tech Stories 

  • Apple's Aspirations. Apple is rumored to be developing new features, such as glucose monitoring and temperature sensors, for future Apple Watch models.
  • Virtual Advertising. Facebook will start testing advertisements inside a game on its Oculus VR platform.

  • Another One. Facebook started its introduction of Live Audio Rooms yesterday.

Three Women Transforming the Future of Voice AI

Join us today at 1 pm EST for a roundtable discussion with Google and Women in Voice! RAIN’s Nithya Thadani, Tile’s Jossie Haines, Google’s Shikha Kapoor, and Rework Work’s Stacey A. Gordon will share their career journeys and their expertise in voice AI.
Register here
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