More Partners = More Scale

High-profile partnerships between big tech voice assistants and large companies are starting to become commonplace. Last week, we saw Verizon Fios integrating Google Assistant into its TVs (following Samsung’s lead from the fall). We have also seen drivers in cars made by Buick, Audi, and BMW become able to access Amazon Alexa for on-the-go assistance. Even Oral-B toothbrushes have tapped Alexa for innovative features. This week, the partnership momentum continues with Ford becoming the latest company to team up with Google in order to revamp its vehicle infotainment systems. By forming these relationships and embedding assistants into the products of popular brands, Alexa and Google Assistant are advancing their scale well beyond speakers in the home.

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Ford x Google

Ford and Google recently inked a deal that will integrate Google’s Android platform into the infotainment systems of the Ford and Lincoln brands starting in 2023. With the Google-powered systems, drivers will be able to tap Google Assistant, Maps, and other Android applications to deliver information and music services. In addition, a six-year deal will also provide Google’s cloud services to the company’s connected vehicles. With major car manufacturers enlisting the help of big tech companies to build their smart cars, voice assistants are able to scale their reach with vehicle owners and fast track their on-the-go usage. More on The Verge

Cortana Returns

In late 2019, Microsoft announced its intention to bring Cortana into its productivity products. Now, we’re finally seeing what that will look like. The voice assistant is being integrated into Microsoft 365 products including Outlook, Teams, and Office. In the Outlook iOS app, users will be able to ask Cortana to read and compose messages and schedule meetings with “Hey Cortana.” Users of Teams will also be able to make calls, join meetings, search and send messages and files, and more with their voice. With these capabilities, Microsoft is framing the assistant’s comeback for enterprise use, focusing on leveraging voice technology for productivity especially as remote work continues. More on Microsoft

Pryon’s Enterprise Assistance

AI startup Pryon launched its first product targeted to enterprises. The company’s virtual assistant platform — voice and chat — aims to help business professionals quickly extract information from large data sets including documents, web pages, and more, bypassing the need for manual research and reviews of data. Georgia Pacific, one of Pryon’s first customers, is currently using the platform to automate safety protocols and information. As voice continues to establish itself for enterprise use, companies are seeing the value of using purpose-built solutions that make their jobs easier and more efficient. More on Herald Sun

Stats Don’t Lie

37% of business professionals believe that customer voice use cases for customer experience & analytics will have the largest commercial impact.
(
data via Speechmatics)

27% The percentage that Spotify’s total users grew in Q4, to over 340 million listeners. (data from Spotify via Variety)

Chart of the Week

(Medium)