Meet Your Newest Colleague…Alexa

Get ready for your morning commute—after four months of working from home, many companies are preparing for a long-awaited return to the office this fall. But as employers juggle concerns about who should and who shouldn’t resume their normal workdays, the hybrid work environment is becoming a popular model during this uncertain transition. This week, Alexa joins your meeting, Apple gravitates to voice-first news, and Artie teaches voice apps a lesson on bias.

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The First Employee Back In the Office

With Logitech’s Alexa for Business integration for Zoom Rooms, employees can start meetings and reserve rooms with voice commands. Making scheduling as safe and easy as possible in a COVID world will almost guarantee Alexa a promotion. More on ZDNet.

An Apple a Day Keeps the Competitors Away

Watch out, The Daily! Apple News is introducing Apple News Today, a daily audio news briefing free to all listeners, and audio stories, feature stories from acclaimed magazines and newspapers narrated by professional actors. The podcast wars are just beginning. More on Apple.

Voice Assistants Need Bias Training Too

Smart assistants aren’t perfect. Studies show they have flaws when understanding different voices according to age, gender, and accent. As tech addresses its impact on society, Artie, a gaming-focused startup, unveiled a tool to identify voice apps’ demographic bias. More on VentureBeat.

Stats Don’t Lie

$20MM Spotify podcast ad spend committed by Omnicom Media Group through 2020. (data via Podcast Business Journal)

60MM people in the United States own a smart speaker. (data via Social Code)

Chart of the Week

US Podcast Advertising Revenues