The voice space is evolving rapidly and we know it's hard to keep up.  If you have 30 seconds, this primer will do you some good.

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13 of the top 15 valued brands are taking voice very seriously. Here’s how.

by | Feb 26, 2019

 

An animation that is getting some attention on the interwebs is this time lapse of the top 15 valued brands from 2000 – 2018.  It’s interesting to watch who moves up and down; who enters the leaderboard and who falls off.

What is also interesting is that of the top fifteen, thirteen are either leading with voice, or leveraging voice as a differentiator.

It is clear through this analysis that the naysayers on voice will quickly be shouted down.  Voice experience is being adopted by consumers and brands alike at a startling pace.

 

Apple

Leading.  Siri is slated for a revamp for developer access (we hope this year) after an acquisition of a voice technology that could act as a foundation for a voice app store.

Google

Leading.  Google Assistant, devices and the Actions store. You have one.

Amazon

Leading.  Alexa, devices and the Skills Store.  Until recently Amazon was the dominant player on the block.  Google getting into the game has leveled the playing field some and further fracturing of market share is bound to continue. You may also have this one.

Microsoft

Leading.  Cortana, devices and skills store.  Though Microsoft was one of the OG of virtual assistant their tech focus (read: not marketing focus) hindered their dominance in the market.  Last year Microsoft ‘partnered’ with Alexa (no one knows what this means really) and seem to be positioning for office productivity rather than lifestyle easement.

Coca-Cola

Leveraging, lightly.  Coke has been experimenting with virtual assistants since 2014 when they had ‘Isabelle’ as an in store VA.  They’ve since moved to AI powered vending machines and apps.  It will be interesting to see where they go now.

Samsung

Leading, late. Bixby, devices and capsules.  Samsung had a couple false starts but seems to have rounded a corner in their latest release of Bixby.  You may not think they can do much with Amazon and Google dominating the market, but they have a 27% market share of smart phones (893B) and are in second place for smart TV’s (selling 48M in 2016 alone).  So, software and firmware updates alone could open a massive market for this new competitor.

Toyota

Leveraging.  Alexa.  In early 2018 Toyota announced that Alexa was coming to select models as an integrated virtual assistant.  It’s not hard to see that this could be a fleet wide expansion quickly.

Mercedes-Benz

Leveraging.  Heavily.  Of course Mercedes wouldn’t integrate someone else’s VA.  Why would they? That’d be giving up control.  And for a luxury brand of Mercedes caliber, owning the experience (aka data) is the company benefit in the CX value Venn diagram.  Oh, and they dropped it at the Super Bowl.

Facebook

Leveraging.  Facebook has had it’s chatbots for years.  And to be sure chatbots are just a variation of conversational content.  So when they released their own smart display, it didn’t seem groundbreaking.  What most people don’t know, it uses Alexa as the backbone.  Most people use it for a ‘virtual living room’ experience, per the commercials. But it can do more.

Oh, and a couple of days ago, CNBC reported that Facebook wants to create an IVA that’s smarter than the three current leaders.  Game On.

IBM

Leading.  Leading you say?  Heard of Watson? Not for the day to day consumer, but powering some of the most complex business apps, bots and conversational interfaces.  Watson competed (and won) in Jeopardy in 2011.  So you could say he’s been around.

McDonald’s

Laggard.  They aren’t doing anything of note.  Maybe voice isn’t for fast food? Think again.  Burger King is leveraging Google Assistant in really interesting ways.

Intel

Foundation.  That new virtual assistant Facebook wants to create…they’re doing it with Intel. So there’s that.

BMW

Leveraging.  BMW leverages Alexa in several of it’s models (post March 2018) as part of the entertainment system.  But they also leverage nearly all the virtual assistants to allow customers to access their cars through custom skills and actions.  Want to know if your windows are rolled up or the car is locked.  BMW is virtual assistant agnostic.  Which is the way it should be.

Disney

Leveraging.  A quick count shows Disney has 10 Alexa Skills.  Though a quick count on Googles end is harder, it appears it is well in excess of that, largely due to children’s stories each having their own ‘action.’

GE

Leveraging.  Heavily.  GE has strongly adopted voice technology, establishing a middleware app for both major platforms to connect their home hardware to whichever assistant their consumers prefer.  A smart model and one we see expanding across other manufacturers.

 

 

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