Amazon said the number of Alexa “skills,” the voice-powered apps created for Amazon’s virtual assistant, topped 80,000 worldwide in early 2019.
The number of Alexa skills in the United States more than doubled to 56,750 in January 2019 from 25,784 a year earlier, according to Voicebot.ai. Alexa skill growth in the U.K. rose 233% to 29,910, while Germany’s skill count rose 152% to 7,869.
Less than half (40%) of consumers report interest in chatbot experiences from brands, including 20% who said they’re very interested in interacting with the artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Read more…
Businesses that employ human workers in call centers see the potential to save billions of dollars by automating conversations with their customers. That’s especially true for banks, whose operational cost savings will surge 3,400% to $7.3 billion worldwide in 2023 from $209 million this year, per a forecast from Juniper Research. Insurance companies will see their cost savings grow 333% to $1.3 billion by 2023 from $300 million this year as chatbots replace human claims processors in auto, life, property and health insurance.
Signify, formerly Philips Lighting, for the first time added voice-powered wake-up and sleep commands to its Philips Hue smart-bulbs. Read more…
Philips Hue also extended its product line to include flood lights, more wall-mounted lights and lanterns and a motion sensor, the Verge reported. The Hue Outdoor sensor, which can detect motion up to 39 feet away, will sell for $50 starting next month. Philips also will begin selling its new outdoor lighting for prices ranging from $110 to $150 next month.
Amazon promoted its Echo smart speakers going into its annual Prime Day shopping event, while Google cut prices of its Google Home smart devices to remain competitive with Amazon, Canalys said. Google was the top seller of smart speakers during the second and third quarters, the researcher said.
Smart-speaker shipments more than doubled (up 137 percent) to 19.7 million in Q3 2018 from a year earlier.
Amazon shipped 6.3 million Echo smart speakers that have its Alexa voice assistant, while Google sold 5.9 million of its Google Home devices that have Google Assistant.
While Amazon, Google and Amazon are the top sellers of smart speakers in the United States, Alibaba, Xiaomi and Baidu are the leaders in mainland China.
Smart-speaker shipments almost tripled (up 197%) to a record 22.7 million units globally in the third quarter from a year earlier, putting the voice-enabled devices on track to exceed 100 million in use during the final three months of 2018, according to researcher Strategy Analytics. Amazon remained the top-ranked vendor in the third quarter with a 32 percent share followed by Google at 23 percent. China’s Baidu boosted its share from just 1 percent in the second quarter to 8 percent in the third quarter, the fastest growth among smart-speaker makers. Baidu, Alibaba and Xiaomi are vying leadership in the fledgling smart speaker market in China.