Assistant Technology’s Growing Biometric Focus

Smart wearables like the Apple Watch and FitBit have become mainstays of those seeking to track their fitness, but now, voice-enabled smart speakers and displays are looking to gain a foothold in the health sector. Voice tech has already been used to analyze audio for COVID and emotional sentiment detection, paving the way for smart devices to try their hand at more sophisticated use cases tied to biometrics. One new area being pioneered is sleep data. Amazon is developing an Alexa device that uses radar to look for signs of sleep apnea and, last week, Google’s new Nest Hub display announced similar radar functionality that evaluates sleeping patterns. Assistant-equipped devices in the home are clearly getting smarter, but privacy concerns still remain. However, if the value added to daily life continues increasing, we expect more consumers to get comfortable exchanging data for experience quality. 

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Counting the Zzzzs

Google’s new Nest Hub smart display can create sleep-tracking reports by measuring users’ body activity. Leveraging low-energy radar technology, the Sleep Sensing feature monitors movement and breathing as well as light, noise, and temperature changes to evaluate sleeping patterns. It then creates a summary that provides your night’s activity and advice for better sleep. The capability marks another area where voice-enabled devices are expanding into health tracking (also this week, researchers developed a feature for smart speakers that can monitor heartbeats). However, these novel use cases resurface privacy concerns about what data the tech is analyzing. More on BBC

Goodbye, Apple HomePod

After four years, Apple has decided to discontinue the original HomePod to focus on the new HomePod mini. Since the mini’s introduction in the fall, it has gained attention because of its low cost (especially compared to other Apple devices), high sound quality, and Siri controls. With this new move, the company has room to double down on expanding HomePod mini’s features or build a HomePod replacement. But many are hoping that Apple beefs up its smart home abilities with HomeKit, which currently doesn’t have the advanced skills that Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have. More on TechCrunch 

Automating Reservations

Dasha.AI released a voice assistant that can make restaurant reservations for customers. The tool emulates Google Duplex’s AI, which can make calls through Google Assistant to book haircut appointments and restaurant reservations. Dasha.AI’s assistant calls the restaurant and can understand the other person’s responses including if there are no reservations or repeating information if asked. Use cases like this aspire to truly assist customers by performing tasks on their behalf, but we also see this solution benefitting employees through saving them time and streamlining their responsibilities. More on

Emerging Tech Stories

  • Effortless Copywriting. Startup’s AI copywriting tool that generates copy for companies is built on the AI platform GPT-3.
  • Holographic Visions. MIT scientists have used AI to instantly generate colored 3D holograms on a laptop.
  • Mood Music. Neurosity has released a device that tracks brain activity while you listen to music to inform song recommendations.

Stats Don’t Lie

34% of smart speaker owners have 3+ devices in their household. (data via Edison Research and Triton Digital)

67% of top brands are leveraging voice assistants. (data via Opus Research)

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The Interactive Voice Ads Opportunity

In the last couple years, interactive voice-enabled ads have expanded substantially, piloting novel uses case and emerging on channels beyond the smart speaker. In our latest blog, we discuss how brands can use voice-enabled ads to engage consumers today and where the format could be headed next.

Read more here.