Voice-Enabling the Kitchen

Happy New Year and welcome back to Voice on Voice! Our favorite technology is already off and running in 2021 with new developments in smart home, productivity and social spaces. This week’s top story dives into LG’s latest voice-enabled kitchen appliance — a refrigerator with a voice-activated door. With more and more devices coming equipped with voice assistants, it’s not surprising to see major appliance manufacturers embracing voice in new ways to develop a unified smart kitchen. Cooking has always been a strong use case for voice adoption — when your eyes and hands are occupied with ingredients or preparation, another modality is needed to assist. As smart homes become the norm, we anticipate many new initiatives to create devices with valuable voice-enabled features.

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Open Sesame

LG’s newest version of its Instaview Door-in-Door refrigerator features a voice-activated door that can be opened with voice commands. For easy, touchless interactions, customers can say “open the refrigerator door” when their hands are full of groceries. In addition, the voice-activated LG ThinQ mobile app allows users to check the fridge’s ice and water dispensers to see if there is a problem or need for filter replacements. With these new voice features for the fridge and existing smart device integrations with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, appliance providers are increasingly embedding emerging technologies into their products, positioning themselves as innovators in the space. More on Digital Trends

Surfing Your Desktop Files

Microsoft is beta testing a “voice launcher” feature for Windows 10 that will allow users to navigate the search box, File Explorer, Settings, and Start menu — appearing wherever users can search information within Windows. This new capability includes “Auto Punctuation” and will be available in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese. Although Microsoft is sunsetting Cortana as a consumer application and is focusing on reviving the assistant for enterprise use, the company is still making moves to incorporate voice technology into its operating system for everyday users, enhancing their use of the products. More on BGR

Hearing the Telegram

Telegram, the popular instant messaging app, released a new update where Siri reads incoming messages to users wearing AirPods. Users have the ability to turn the feature on, and if they choose to, Siri will notify them and inform them of the message’s sender and content. Although Siri can already read iMessages to AirPods users, Telegram is the first third-party application to leverage this functionality. Along with past developments including Marsbot for AirPods and Echo Buds’ tracking features, this update provides another signal showing that hearables are emerging as channels ripe with opportunity to support users with tasks on-the-go. More on Voicebot.ai

Stats Don’t Lie

45% of consumers said they would “very much” or that “it would be nice” to have voice assistant features within their favorite mobile apps. (data via Voicebot.ai)

12% The percentage that podcast ads increase brand consideration by, according to the New York Times’ audio campaigns from 2017-2020. (data via AdWeek)

Chart of the Week



Voice Predictions for 2021

In Voicebot AI’s roundup of 2021 predictions from industry leaders, RAIN CEO Nithya Thadani shares her thoughts on how the unprecedented scrutiny of big tech may open doors in the assistant landscape for brand-owned assistants. With greater restrictions on the use of data, companies will be looking to control their own channels and voice experiences.

Read the predictions here.