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Voice on Voice #150 
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Siri Finds Its Place

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A few weeks ago, The Verge explored Siri’s advances since its launch 10 years ago. While it was the first major voice assistant to be introduced, it has fallen behind competitors Alexa and Google Assistant, lacking complex functionality beyond answering questions and sending texts. Apple is trying to revitalize the assistant with the HomePod Mini, third-party device integrations, and more. But perhaps Siri’s greatest opportunity lies within Apple’s own digital ecosystem — services like Apple Fitness+, Apple Music, and Apple TV+ can integrate Siri to produce seamless experiences. This week, Apple is doing just that by launching an Apple Music subscription plan solely controllable via Siri. By making Siri an indispensable part of Apple’s core services, the company can drive adoption as well as carve out Siri’s unique value proposition.

Hey Siri, Play My Music

Apple introduced a voice-only Apple Music subscription plan that lets listeners use Siri to access content. At the reduced price of $5/month, the subscription enables Apple users to listen to music and podcasts across any of their Apple devices, including AirPods, the iPhone, and the HomePod mini. Within the app, Apple Music will provide personalized suggestions and “Just Ask Siri” tips for listening. Similar to Amazon Music’s Echo plan, the new plan is aiming to grow subscribers with the reduced pricing. And as music remains a leading use case for voice assistants, Apple’s voice-only plan can encourage adoption and use of Siri, especially as the company continues to expand Siri’s capabilities.
More on The Verge

Back and Better Than Ever

Google has renamed its smart home developer platform “Google Home.” Google’s first smart speaker was called Google Home, but the name was retired to adopt “Google Nest” as the new branding. The redesigned Google Home now brings together the Google Smart Home platform and Works with Google/Nest. Notably, the platform will include developer support for Matter, the smart home standard that will allow developers to build products that can be used with multiple assistants. While the platform doubles down on Google’s commitment to Matter, it will also make it easier for developers to build automations, routines, and applications for existing devices.
More on Android Police

Alexa Scales

Amazon introduced two new solutions for senior living and healthcare providers as part of its Alexa Smart Properties program. The solutions will help facilities use Alexa devices at scale and also create experiences tailored to residents and patients. In senior living communities, residents can use Alexa to contact family members and friends, keep up to date with community news, communicate with other residents, make requests for maintenance, and more. In hospitals, patients can use Alexa to talk to their healthcare providers, access news and music, and control devices in their rooms. As a result, these features inspire independence for users while allowing employees to drive efficiencies by focusing on important tasks.
More on Amazon

By the Numbers

80%

of consumers said they would prefer to speak with a virtual agent or machine to avoid long hold times. (data from Replicant via VentureBeat)

12%

of households worldwide will have a smart speaker by 2023. (data via Juniper Research)

Emerging Tech Stories 

  • Hands-Free Texting. Google’s new Pixel 6 smartphone lets users leverage Google Assistant to draft and edit texts.
  • Bixby on Desktop. The new Microsoft Windows 11 OS is available with Samsung Bixby.

  • Text to Shop. Walmart is testing conversational commerce with a text-to-shop tool.
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