Smart Home to Smart World

The more smart speakers, the merrier. Smart assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have become staples in our homes and apartments, individually bought by customers. However, as the adoption of voice technology accelerates, companies are looking to scale the presence of voice assistants to make them everyday necessities anywhere we go. Google and Volara’s new partnership is embedding Google Nest Hubs into hotel rooms, and Alexa for Hospitality is also placing smart speakers in chain hotels and vacation rentals. Meanwhile, Alexa for Business is upgrading the workplace to be more advanced and productive. These initiatives seek to boost the presence of these assistants on a larger scale, moving beyond smart homes to smart hotels, offices, apartment units, and more.

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Your New Helpful Roommate

Finally, a roommate who does their chores. Amazon announced its Alexa for Residential program, which allows property owners to power their buildings with smart home devices that are ready to use without any device or account setup. With voice commands, residents in senior living centers, dorm buildings, and apartment complexes can control their room’s smart features and access news and weather information. Residents can also choose to connect their own Amazon accounts to Alexa, and property managers can create custom skills. With Alexa for Hospitality and now this, Amazon is looking to scale its Alexa presence, making voice tech the new normal everywhere. More on TechCrunch

Alexa Shape Shifts

Is that a car-shaped Alexa? For a new marketing campaign, Buick partnered with Amazon Alexa for a series of advertisements that brand the new 2021 Buick Envision model as a “new Alexa.” In addition, the collaboration is bringing Alexa to virtual showrooms with a custom Buick utterance—“Alexa, tell me about Buick SUVS”—that marks the first custom utterance for an automaker. Four Buick models already include Alexa, emphasizing the car company’s bet on voice tech to reach new customers, especially as more car companies integrate not only with Alexa and Google Home but often include custom voice assistants within their vehicles. More on The News Wheel

The New Commercial Break

TV ads are finally getting a refresh. Peacock, NBCUniversal’s new ad-supported streaming service, is testing “On Command” voice-activated commercials, similar to the streaming audio ads that Spotify and Pandora have piloted. Unilever and Target partnered for a spot where consumers received a $5 coupon for Suave products at Target if they said, “Save with Suave.” Coors Light is also trying out the new format, and State Farm, Verizon, and Subaru are set to develop these ads in the future. As streaming platforms and smart home technology become ubiquitous, brands are reimagining new ways to engage their audiences in a cluttered market. More on Marketing Dive

Stats Don’t Lie   

47% of commuters who use connected devices while driving say they are most interested in using them to find gas stations. (data via PYMNTS.com)

84% of renters want smart home features in their apartments, and 61% are willing to pay a monthly fee for them. (data via Voicebot.ai)

Chart of the Week

US Adult Smart Speaker Usage by Generation eMarketer
(eMarketer)