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Voice on Voice #152 
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Living in Harmony

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From Siri to Alexa to Google Assistant, people use a variety of voice assistants in their daily lives, depending on what device they’re talking to. However, this creates friction in the household — that’s why initiatives like Matter and Alexa Custom Assistant are exploring how smart home devices can house multiple assistants at once. While Matter will make the mainstream voice assistants available together, Alexa Custom Assistant leverages both Alexa and a brand’s custom assistant. This week, news revealed that Sonos’ voice assistant for music playback may be available very soon alongside Amazon Alexa. By pairing assistants together, customers can access a more seamless experience that can cater to both general queries and brand-specific queries.

Sonos Gets Ready

Sonos’ voice assistant may be coming to your speaker soon. A Reddit user discovered code strings within the Sonos app that appear to be for Sonos Voice Control, the rumored assistant that will potentially be able to process requests locally on device with the wake phrase “Hey Sonos.” The code is for voice commands that can play and pause music, alter volume, switch devices, and more. Additionally, it shows that Amazon Alexa (but not Google Assistant because of ongoing disputes) will be available alongside Sonos Voice Control. With this discovery, Sonos Voice Control may be available for use very soon, further adding to the list of smart speakers that can hold multiple assistants.
More on Voicebot.ai

Walmart Doubles Down on Voice

Walmart acquired select technology assets from conversation design company Botmock, whose software helps companies build conversational applications. With the new assets, Walmart is strengthening its conversational AI expertise to build more voice and chat experiences for both employees and customers in the future. The company is no stranger to leveraging voice and chat — last month, it launched the beta test of its text-to-shop experience, and last year, it rolled out its “Ask Sam” voice assistant app for employees. By acquiring Botmock’s technology, Walmart can deploy these interfaces more quickly.
More on TechCrunch

Range Rover Adds Alexa

Land Rover’s upcoming 2022 Range Rover will come fully integrated with Amazon Alexa. With the assistant, drivers can ask Alexa to play music and content, navigate directions, control smart home devices, and manage car controls. Additionally, the Range Rover also comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. As voice assistant use in the car becomes ubiquitous, integrating voice capabilities, especially multiple voice assistants, is now table stakes. As a result, many automakers are exploring how to directly build popular voice assistants into their cars in addition to making their infotainment systems compatible with mobile assistants. 
More on Pocket-Lint

By the Numbers

$17M

in Series A funding was raised by Symbl.ai, which provides APIs for analyzing conversation data from text, voice, email, chat, video, and social. (data via VentureBeat)

12%

The increase in worldwide unit shipments of smart speakers from 2020 to 2021. (data via S&P Global)

Emerging Tech Stories 

  • Microsoft’s Metaverse. Microsoft is building its own position in the metaverse with its Mesh virtual experience platform and Microsoft Teams.

  • Love in the Metaverse. Match Group (which owns Tinder) is exploring dating within the metaverse with a virtual economy and avatars.

  • Nike in the Metaverse. Nike filed trademark applications to create and sell virtual sneakers and clothing.
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