Car Assistants Step On the Gas

The car has increasingly become an area of focus for voice development. This isn’t surprising given that hands-free voice control is a natural fit for busy drivers and usage is already higher than on smart speakers. As a result, many voice-focused companies have targeted this space and are creating advanced custom voice assistant offerings. Recently, Amazon unveiled the Alexa Custom Assistant offering to build car assistants with both a brand assistant and Alexa. This past week, we learned of Cerence’s new Drive 2.0 platform providing customers personalized features and software specific to the car experience. With many businesses now building solutions specifically for the car, we’re starting to see advanced use cases emerge including commerce, geo-location, and more complex tasks. There’s open road ahead for the auto industry, and voice is accelerating.

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Cerence 2.0: Driving Voice Forward

Cerence, the voice AI company for cars, released its updated Drive 2.0 platform that is more accurate, faster, and available in multiple languages. The offering now combines Cerence’s tech offerings into a holistic software solution for companies to easily deploy together in creating custom auto assistants (and now assistants for motorcycles and elevators as well). With Cerence, drivers can access their mobile apps, adjust car controls, ask multi-intent questions, and more. These personalized features, along with the improved performance of the assistant, are moves that will help drive Cerence ahead of competitors that don’t yet have these advanced capabilities. More on Cerence

The Dual Smart Home

Google introduced a Nest app for SmartThings, Samsung’s smart home system that commands its suite of devices. Through the integration, customers can control select Google Nest products through SmartThings or select Samsung devices through Google Assistant. Although this will allow SmartThings users to control Nest doorbells, cameras and thermostats, the initiative currently does not support Google Nest speakers, displays, and security systems. However, with the past integration of Google Assistant into Samsung Smart TVs, and now this capability, the two companies are building a growing, connected smart home ecosystem where customers are empowered to use multiple assistants. More on

Revamping Customer Service

Yellow Messenger, an Indian conversational AI company, partnered with Microsoft to create a voice assistant platform that companies can leverage to build custom enterprise assistants. With the collaboration, Yellow Messenger is using Azure AI Speech Services and NLP technology to make the assistant more human-like so it can understand the different dialects and emotional sentiment of users. As more companies look for ways to enhance their customer service capabilities in the face of increased queries — Indian airline Spicejet recently unveiled a bilingual assistant — voice assistants can quickly and easily assist customers and drive operational efficiency. More on Microsoft

Stats Don’t Lie

42% of listeners who heard the radio ad for Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers Association on a smart speaker said they were extremely or very familiar with the brand. (data via Westwood One)

57% of all Americans and 61% of younger Americans (18-34 year-olds) already own some smart home technology. (data via

Chart of the Week

(Westwood One)


Building the Future of Deskless Workforce Productivity Tools

In a recent Forbes interview, RAIN CEO Nithya Thadani delves into how RAIN is tapping into the growth of enterprise and employee-facing voice solutions for the deskless workforce with the closing of our Series A. After building over 70 custom voice experiences over the last few years, RAIN is using this investment to create voice productivity tools that make workers’ jobs easier, safer, and more efficient. Read the article here.

P.S. RAIN is Hiring a Senior Product Engineer

Want to help us create hands-free conversational AI solutions for the deskless workforce? If you’re passionate about voice technology and enterprise solutions, we want to hear from you. Learn more and apply here.