Amazon, Google could turn digital assistants into phones

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon and Google are looking into turning their respective voice-driven smart devices into phones, although the new capability comes with some tech challenges as first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
  • Adding phone-calling capability to Amazon’s Echo and Dot devices and Google Home includes both the tech challenge of how to integrate phone service, such as VoiP options among others, as well as privacy issues since the devices continuously listen as part of their basic functionality.
  • According to the Journal’s sources, Amazon has considered this concept since at least 2015, and both tech companies could possibly add phone service to home digital assistants by the end of the year.

Dive Insight:

Adding calling functionality could be a bonus for marketers looking to integrate with home assistants as this would make it easier for users to call businesses with questions. While digital assistants ostensibly eliminate some of the need to pick up a phone — for example, by placing an order for a pizza via a voice command — there are instances when consumers still need to talk to someone, like finding out why their pizza order is taking so long to arrive. 

Even if the latest prediction about home digital assistants doesn’t come to pass because of any of the challenges cited, the news indicates that, at the least, Amazon and Google are actively looking to expand the overall functionality of the devices. For marketers, this means home digital assistants could become more popular as more features are added and making understanding how to add the devices to the marketing mix even more important.

One area in marketing tactics that marketers should already be exploring because of the increase in voice command interactions is search optimization for natural language, which requires more complete sentences over simple keywords and keyphrases. Tactics more specific to home digital assistants include considering the value in creating a branded Alexa skill, and learning more about how to best engage with specific audiences through the devices via brand partnerships or other tactics.

Filed Under: Trends Corporate News Mobile
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