World News:

Voice Assistants in the car: this will be huge!
A study conducted by J.D. Power and… Amazon shows that about three-quarters of Americans are interested in having the same brand of in-home voice service in their vehicle. That is great news for Amazon and Google who dominate the home market. The former having also launched a car-specific device called Alexa Auto. This all makes plenty of sense as users certainly don’t want to learn new commands or specific about the assistant that has also learned their habits. Now, the car manufacturers that have developed and promoted their own assistant may have a different point of view. But one thing is for sure, voice services in the cars will be huge. Link (Amazon)

Scaring off people with privacy issues on Alexa
Bloomberg ventured into clickbait territory with an article titled “Amazon workers are listening to what you tell Alexa”…and the article made its way into lots of (more or less) serious newspapers. What did we learn in the article? Not much indeed. In order to train and improve its model, Alexa just like any other assistant needs some human touch to interpret what has been said in edgy cases. The only real question remaining is only on how strong is Amazon policy when it comes to privacy…and the article was not very clear on this. Link (Bloomberg Article)

Google and advertising on voice (again!)
The debate on whether or not Google Assistant responses to certain user queries are sponsored or not continues. According to the American FTC (Federal Trade Commission) rules it is a grey area. If pulling answers from curated database composed mostly of companies that joined a Google marketing program is not advertising, it is very close to it. Given the Google DNA and business model, this is not surprising. The main question that is still unanswered is whether voice assistants users will accept ads or not. Link (Voicebot)

Alexa arrives in Brazil
Alexa developers can now start building skills for customers in Brazil using the Alexa Skill Kit with the newly introduced Portuguese for Brazil voice model. Link (Alexa Blog)

European News:

Berlin-based Rasa raised $13m
Rasa an open-source platform for third parties to design and manage their own conversational AI chatbots, announced having raised $13 million from a group of investors. The financing round was led by Accel, a fund known to have invested in the household names such as Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, and Spotify to name a few. While the company was founded in Europe, it announced that it will be moving its headquarter to San Francisco to get closer to its clients. Link (Techcrunch)

Invocable (former Storyline) is shutting down
In an email sent to its users, Invocable – formerly known as Storyline – the popular editor that democratized the creation of Alexa skills announced its shutdown. The Storyline team relocated from the United States to Belarus earlier this year after switching from a “Do It Yourself platform” for Alexa skills to a “Design tool for Voice” in late 2018. Link (Invocable Blog)

Symfonisk: when Ikea meets Sonos
Ikea and Sonos recently presented in Milan two new speakers derivated from their collaboration and available under the Symfonisk name. The end product is a subtle mix of pieces of furniture and speakers. As Björn Block, an Ikea Manager explained “people want sound and not necessarily speakers. Also, they come to us (Ikea) to purchase furniture, no hi-fi”. Link (Journal de la Voix – in French)

Alexis Hue

Alexis Hue

Alexis is the founder of Voice & You, a boutique consulting agency where he advises brands on how to utilize Voice to increase their competitive advantage. Part-time venture capitalist, part-time entrepreneur, and originally from France, Alexis now lives in Berlin.