Getting down to business

With voice continuing its exponential growth, it can be easy to get wrapped up in thinking only about the consumer experience, but voice’s potential impact on businesses and their owners won’t be overlooked for long. New data this week shows small business owners embracing the technology and showing continued interest in it. One barrier to larger investments in the space is data on ROI, but we anticipate that changing quickly. Elsewhere this week we see Bixby continuing its development by adding new languages and the Alexa fund making an intriguing investment (not the only recent voice investment).

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Big Potential in Small Business

A new survey of U.S. small businesses done by Uberall, a location marketing solution company, has found that SMBs are embracing voice technology and dedicating efforts toward it. Over 60% of respondents indicated that they are using voice technology in some way, with about a quarter of them expecting the technology to be very valuable going forward. Additionally, nearly half of the respondents feel that Alexa has the most potential for marketing efforts vs. other assistants. Despite their belief in the technology, over half of the group stated that better data around ROI would help them feel more comfortable investing further in voice. More on Voicebot

Bixby Becomes a Polyglot

Delays in launching their Galaxy smart speaker haven’t stopped Samsung from advancing their AI assistant Bixby. The assistant, available across their flagship smartphone devices, has added support for four new languages—German, Italian, British English, and Spanish from Spain. This now brings the total number of languages supported by Bixby to seven. Although this is progress toward global usability for Samsung’s AI, its language support still lags behind Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. More on The Verge

Investing in Cyborg Technology

Amazon’s Alexa fund has reportedly contributed to a $28 million dollar funding round raised by CTRL-Labs, a startup focused on non-invasive neural interface technology. The round will be used in part to help the startup build and distribute a developer kit. While CTRL-Labs are currently displaying their technology through the use of a connected wristband, it’s not hard to imagine how voice-control may play a part in their future strategy and how companies like Amazon will want to take advantage of the neural connectivity that’s being designed. More on GeekWire

Stats Don’t Lie

100 Million by EOY Devices with a dedicated Google Assistant button (data from Google)

$163.57 Million Pullstring’s valuation prior to Apple aquistion (data via Pitchbook via Business Insider)

Chart of the Week

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(Voicebot)

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