The Peripheral Assistant Revolution

To-date the voice assistant landscape has primarily been driven by smart speakers and mobile assistants, but new devices are quickly taking hold. Brands have always sought to connect with customers on-the-go, and assistant technologies are now enabling a new way to provide value in their everyday lives. Smart hearables and wearables, including earbuds, watches and even glasses have all been embedded with Alexa and Google Assistant so that customers can easily ask for information and perform tasks anytime, anywhere. The most recent example of this is Amazon’s new Echo Buds feature focused on collecting fitness data (more below). However, this trend has been maturing for some time now. Recently, Fitbit added Google Assistant to its Sense and Versa watches that are already integrated with Alexa, providing a choice in assistant for users. For hearables, Foursquare’s new Marsbot for AirPods assistant serves as a personal audio guide as people stroll through a public space, and Amazon has piloted a wayfinding feature for Echo Buds to provide product and location information within a Whole Foods store. As these ‘headless’ devices free us from the ties of a cord or our home devices, on-the-go voice experiences are innovating brand marketing.

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Your New Workout Partner

Amazon recently released new fitness features for its Echo Buds, allowing users to track their workout including number of steps, calories, distance, pace, and duration of runs with voice commands. You can say phrases such as “Alexa, start my run,” “Alexa, what’s my pace,” and “Alexa, how was my workout” to log your progress or check out your stats. With this update for the Echo Buds, hearables are advancing to carry out more tasks, acting as a trusted assistant that works in tandem with a mobile device or smart speaker. Brands looking to tap into customers outside of the home can look to these on-the-go experiences for possibilitiesMore on TechCrunch

Using Your Voice for “The Voice”

NBC’s show “The Voice” now allows fans to use their Google Nest smart speakers to vote for their favorite contestants, bypassing the phone call and the computer. By saying, “Hey Google, vote for The Voice,” customers can turn to the Assistant to cast their vote and even set reminders to vote in the future. The partnership between “The Voice” and Google seeks to promote each brand and also bring awareness to YouTube Music by allowing viewers to listen to the show’s official playlists on their speakers. Although awards shows have used voice apps for voting in the past, “The Voice” action is one of the first to leverage live voting and shows the potential voice assistants and smart speakers can play in augmenting real-time viewing experiences. More on

Voice-ifying the Banks

One of Russia’s largest banks, Sber, is revamping its tech offerings by releasing the SberPortal, a smart display, and the SberBox TV, a set-top streaming device, both integrated with Sber’s Salute voice assistant. Users can access the assistant’s three different personalities with unique tones by using the personality’s name, and customers can even make barber and doctor appointments through Salute. Sber joins a Russian market with several voice assistants, including Tinkoff Bank’s Oleg. With the launch of these new products, Sber is transitioning from a bank into a tech company, illustrating how traditional institutions are innovating with emerging technology like voice. More on

Stats Don’t Lie

$164 billion The value of the transactions that smart home devices will carry out in 2025, which is more than 630% growth in five years. (data from Juniper Research via

84% of people expect to spend on audio/voice tech or content to increase within their sector in the next 12 months. (data via Reuters Audio Research Report)

Chart of the Week

(Adobe via This Week in Voice)


The Rising Wave of OVAs in the Market

Bank of America’s Erica, Pandora’s Voice Mode, and BBC’s Beeb—you’ve probably heard these names before. In Part III of our report ‘The Dawn of Brand-Owned Virtual Assistants,’ we delve into the spaces where custom voice assistants are emerging: within verticals including finance, insurance, and entertainment, and across surfaces such as phones, cars, and drive-throughs. Learn more about why and how the world’s biggest brands are leveraging their own conversational interfaces.

Read ‘The Rising Wave of OVAs in the Market’