Voice at CES: More than just Gadgets

CES 2020 is upon us and voice assistants will once again have heavily featured presences. While in years past the emphasis on voice has been on the amount of new devices with assistant integrations, this year it is expected that the focus will be on two areas: smarthome and the car. We will likely still see plenty of new gadgets (such as the newly announced voice-enabled showerhead from Kohler and Moen’s voice-activated sink), but the tech companies are looking to reinforce larger strategies beyond just new gadgets.

Header image source

Alexa’s New Wheels

Amazon has announced two new partnerships in the automotive space with Lamborghini and Rivian. Lamborghini will integrate Alexa in their Huracan EVO line of vehicles allowing drivers to “adjust climate, interior lighting, seat heating, and other functions hands-free.” With Rivian, Alexa will be part of their R1S and R1T all-electric vehicles allowing the assistant to “control in-car features like HVAC, windows, opening and closing the trunk”. In addition to these two new partnerships, Amazon has expanded their Echo Auto stand-alone device availability. The device will be available internationally over the course of this year. More on VentureBeat.

Alexa, Pay for Gas

ExxonMobile and Finserv have created an Alexa skill that will allow customers to pay for gas through Amazon’s voice assistant and Amazon Pay. Once a driver has arrived at their gas station, they can use Alexa from inside their vehicle to set up the payment process and activate the pump. This Alexa skill and feature will be available later this year and will initially be available at 11,500 stations. More on Engadget.

Connections and Custom Tasks

Recently Amazon has announced Alexa Custom Tasks and Direct Skill Connections which will allow for “a single skill [to] provide services to its users that are fulfilled by other skills without losing the session.” These new capabilities will allow developers to make their skills or features accessible to others and vice versa potentially allowing users to complete a much wider variety of intents in one session as opposed to having to invoke each skill individually. More on Voicebot AI.

Stats Don’t Lie

More than double — the amount of Alexa-enabled devices available this year vs. last year (data via CNET)

<1% — of U.S. skills offering In-Skill Purchasing to-date. (data via VoiceMarketData)

Chart of the Week

Voice Assistant Timeline
(data via Voicebot AI)