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Voice on Voice #146 
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Front Seat Shopping

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The car is a hub of on-the-go activity — from taking and making calls to searching directions, drivers have their hands full (literally). As a result, voice assistants have become helpful tools by providing hands-free assistance. One use case emerging quickly is voice commerce in the car. In-vehicle payments are expected to reach $86 billion in 2025, and 70% of consumers who commute to work are very or extremely interested in new connected commerce experiences. Companies are already tapping into this growing opportunity, especially for gas stations. ExxonMobil and 7-Eleven have built payment experiences on Alexa and Siri, respectively, and Cerence partnered with Ryd Pay in Europe for payments via Cerence’s in-car systems. This week, Google’s new features for Android Auto include fuel payments at select stations. While these activations focus on fueling, there is vast opportunity for retailers like grocery stores to think about how voice can support buy-online-pickup-in-store behaviors.

Gas and Go

Google is bringing several new updates to Android Auto and Google Assistant to facilitate the driving experience. By saying “Hey Google, let’s drive” to the phone or car’s infotainment system, drivers will be able to jumpstart Android Auto’s new interface that includes one-tap quick access to Pandora, SoundCloud, and more. Additionally, Google offers drivers voice-enabled gas payments simply by saying “Hey Google, pay for gas.” Drivers identify their pump number and fuel type, and then complete the transaction through Google Pay. This feature will be available first at Exxon and Mobil gas stations with additional stations following. With these new capabilities, and more Android Auto partnerships with popular car makers, Google is building a strong channel to scale Google Assistant and its app integrations.
More on Android Police

Siri, Smarter

Apple’s new iOS 15 update brought new features to the Siri voice assistant. With on-device speech processing and personalization, Siri is faster and improves as you use the assistant and your iPhone. By leveraging what you’re seeing on your screen, such as contacts, messages, photos and more, Siri can send a message or other content to a contact when the user says “Message them I’m on my way” or “Send this to Karen.” Furthermore, the assistant can announce time-sensitive notifications through your AirPods, or remotely control Apple Homekit devices like lights. One of Siri’s greatest advantages is its presence on millions of iPhones, so these elevated capabilities are investments by Apple to level up its mobile voice capabilities to match the likes of Google Assistant.
More on 9to5Google

Let’s Get Multimodal

Launched in beta in 2020, Adventr is a startup that lets users create interactive, voice-enabled videos. With their voice, viewers can dictate the course of a video experience with commands. (Think Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the interactive Netflix episode where users chose the plot of the story, but with voice.) Adventr presented the example of a shopper walking into Target and using voice commands like “show me the green one” or “find a size large” to browse items to purchase. Not only do interactive voice-enabled videos present novel ways of crafting content for entertainment, but they also open up a new avenue of voice commerce that leverages multimodality
More on TechCrunch

By the Numbers

$6M

was raised by Eleos Health, a startup that uses voice AI to help clinicians who work in behavioral health analyze patient sessions. (data via MobiHealthNews)

64%

The accuracy with which Google Assistant responded to questions about cancer screening. (data via Voicebot.ai)

Emerging Tech Stories 

  • Coming to an Oculus Near You. Netflix released its first virtual reality game, Eden Unearthed, on Facebook’s Oculus headsets.

  • Next Size, Please. Amazon’s upcoming department stores for its private label clothing brands will potentially leverage QR codes and touchscreens for the fitting room experience.

  • Digital Diagnosis. Apple is reportedly working with UCLA researchers and Biogen to study how iPhones can be used to detect mental health conditions like depression.

How Conversational AI is Revolutionizing E-Commerce
Join us this Thursday, September 30, at Google’s next VOICE Talks episode! RAIN’s Lauren Madsen will share how multimodal experiences can help brands build customers’ trust in voice commerce.
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