VOICE is the newest DRIVER of branded experiences

As new platforms go, voice is making itself heard. Loudly. Voice-enabled units are projected to be in 45 million homes by end of 2017. So the question for brands now, is: if you’re not speaking for your brand, who is?

For brands in the entertainment space and beyond, having a voice strategy and the content to feed it must be a top marketing priority. Voice, like other emerging platforms — Snap, VR, etc. — is itself an entertainment platform that plays the music we want to hear, catches us up on celebrity news, and lets us listen to interviews, podcasts, audio books, etc.

As entertainment properties seek to develop and evolve their voice platforms, it is helpful to keep in mind how best to build your brand’s voice. Here’s a few ideas specific to the Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant platform:

Voice is a Utility

The voice platform offers studios and networks a variety of new ways to support their brand by building an offering that adds a meaningful service to the consumer.

Voice connected to your home entertainment system will replace the remote control — and with it the complexity for many to actually being able to find what they want to watch. Voice will quickly become the new interface, enabling a much easier way to search, discover and get detailed information on your choice of entertainment. Where is your movie playing? What is the Rotten Tomatoes score? Who is the title actor? You get the idea.

When it comes to the Alexa family of devices, entertainment brands have the benefit of information feeds from IMDb and Wikipedia. But those search tools are only as useful as the data they get.

Tip 1:  For all brands in the voice-enabled age it’s important that their Wikipedia pages have up-to-the-minute information. For entertainment brands, it’s never been more important that both their Wikipedia and IMDb pages speak for them. * Extra points if you’re a property who’s promoting the enabling of your Alexa skill via your Wikipedia page!Voice is the Future

Each time your Alexa Skill is enabled and accessed in a consumer’s home, you are connecting and tracking an incredibly personal and organic form of communication.

One could say it’s the purest form of A/B testing your brand could receive, because its the consumer who starts the engagement and is in control of asking, requesting and wanting to direct the conversation.

This brings us to Tip 2: Your brand voice motto, like the Boy Scouts, needs to always be prepared. No matter what you build as a utility or entertainment proposition, your brand voice should always be listening and able to answer any number of possible queries the consumer has, as they are the ones in control.

As voice continues to grow in consumer adoption and brands continue to adapt and refresh their voice skills, casting a wider net of possible requests to both answer and track will give you better guidance on what and how you refresh next.

The Promotional Marketing Opportunities are Endless

Voice is about starting a conversation. Consumers are looking to engage with brands in the voice space but the style of engagement is very different than visually based communications. With voice, they are listening to what you have to say as they search for answers. This leads to many different ways to share and expand your content.

Jeopardy gives consumers a mini-game to play daily. Alexa will tell you a joke if you ask.

Tip 3: Don’t forget to leverage your most important assets; the voices of your stars and talent can support and promote a new film or series with a more personal and connected advantage over brands who do not already have a “voice.”

Gartner predicts that by 2020, voice will represent 30% of web-browsing activity. It’s time for all brands to find theirs.

 

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IoT spending is expected to total nearly $1.4 trillion, led by enterprise investments IoT hardware, software, services, and connectivity.

By 2021, global IoT spending is expected to total nearly $1.4 trillion, led by enterprise investments IoT hardware, software, services, and connectivity.

Breaking down use cases, IDC says manufacturing, freight monitoring and production asset management will attract the largest investments. Smart grid technologies for electricity, gas, and water, and smart building technologies are also expected to see significant investment gains this year.ong tail, investments in smart home technologies will jump over the next five years, as well as airport facilities automation, electric vehicle charging, and in-store contextual marketing.

From a technology perspective, IDC says hardware will garner the most spending throughout the forecast, followed by services, software, and connectivity. But while hardware spending will nearly double over the forecast timeframe, its growth is the slowest out of all IoT technology groups.

Software and services spending will grow the fastest with application software representing more than half of all IoT software investments. Hardware spend will focus on modules and sensors that connect end points to networks, IDC says.

http://www.zdnet.com/google-amp/article/iot-spending-to-surpass-800-billion-in-2017-led-by-hardware-idc/

There will be 13 networked devices and connections per person, up from eight last year

The number of Internet connected devices that people have is going up, especially in North America.

There will be four networked devices and connections per person globally by 2021, according to the latest annual visual networking index forecast by Cisco.

However, in North America, there will be 13 networked devices and connections per person, up from eight last year.

The means that beyond smartphones and connected TVs, North American consumers will be adopting many more connected gadgets.

North America is well above the average by region when it comes to getting connected. For example, here are the projected number of networked devices and connection per person by region by 2021:

  • 13 – North America
  • 9 – Western Europe
  • 4 – Central and Eastern Europe
  • 3 – Latin America
  • 3 – Asia Pacific
  • 1 – Middle East and Africa

The end result is that all those connected devices will be creating new and massive data streams, much of which will be used to mine for new consumer insights.

During the same timeframe as the mass connected device adoption, broadband speeds will nearly double. Some of those speeds are already being delivered in the U.S. today by Verizon.

The speed and additional connections don’t necessarily mean that consumers will do things faster.

However, it does mean that consumer access to information and content, especially streaming video, will be accessible more quickly via more devices.

Over time, consumers are likely to lean more on their smart devices to automate tasks for them.

Today, this can be as simple as asking Amazon’s Alexa to order a coffee from Starbucks.

Tomorrow, this could involve the connected technology, powered by artificial intelligence, to know, in advance, when to order that coffee. And from where. And have it delivered via any number of means now in trial.

THE SELF-INSTALLED SMART HOME REPORT: Why current smart home device owners are appealing to tech companies

BI Intelligence

Not that long ago, many home-appliance and consumer-electronics makers were gearing up for what they thought would soon be a rapidly growing market for smart home devices.

The instant popularity of the Nest thermostat, introduced in 2011, seemed to confirm their hopes. But those expectations were dashed in the coming years as the market for connected home devices later stagnated. 

Even with these challenges, many of the biggest consumer technology companies are now moving into the smart home market. For example, Apple, which recently released its self-installed smart home ecosystem, called the Apple Home, traditionally doesn’t move into a market until it’s very mature and only when it can release a perfected product. Further, Google this fall launched the Google Home and its companion ecosystem, hoping to jump into the voice-activated smart home speaker market, which Amazon currently dominates with its Echo product line. 

In a new report, BI Intelligence examines the demographics of the average smart home device owner and discuss why current smart home device owners are appealing to tech companies. The report also examines the plans of various tech giants in the smart home market and discuss their monetization strategies, and makes suggestions for how these companies can position themselves to make their products and devices more appealing to the mass market.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Tech companies primarily enter the market to enhance a core revenue stream or service, while device makers desire to collect data to improve their products and prevent costly recalls.
  • We forecast there will be $4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021.
  • These companies are also seeking to create an early-mover advantage for themselves, where they gain an advantage by this head start on adoption.
  • Major barriers to mass market adoption that still must overcome include technological fragmentation and persistently high device prices.

In full, the report:

  • Details the market strategy of prominent tech companies and device makers, and analyzes why which ones are best poised to succeed once adoption ticks up.
  • Offers insight into current ownership through an exclusive survey from BI Intelligence and analyzes what demographics will drive adoption moving forward.
  • Explains in detail which companies are poised to succeed in the market in the coming years as adoption increases and mass market consumers begin to purchase smart home devices.

Oh boy, security is a growing issue in the growing I.O.T.

Millions of Internet-connected devices may currently be exposed to potential hacking.

More than 178 million connected devices and systems in the U.S. are exposed to security vulnerabilities, according to a new study by Trend Micro.

The study, comprising an analysis of exposed cyber assets in the 10 largest U.S. cities, found that Los Angeles has the highest number of exposed assets, followed by Houston and Chicago.

The top four cities each account for more than 2.5 million exposed cyber assets, according to Trend Micro.

Exposed cyber assets are defined as Internet-connected devices and systems that are discoverable on search engines and accessible by the public Internet, according to Trend Micro.

Among the top devices are routers, webcams and DVRs, which have previously been used in IoT-driven cyberattacks, as the IoT Daily reported at the time (U.S. To Issue IoT Principles After Internet Cyberattack).

The number of exposed routers seems to be somewhat consistent among top cities. Houston leads with 3,500 exposed routers, followed by Los Angeles (3,000) and New York City (3,000).

However, the study said that the majority (79%) of exposed DVRs are in Chicago and more than three quarters (80%) of all exposed DVRs are made by TiVo.

Internet-connected cameras that are most exposed include home cameras made by D-Link and security cameras made by GeoVision and Avtech, according to Trend Micro.

The study notes that exposure doesn’t mean all of these devices have been compromised, but rather that they could be.

The risks associated with such exposure can range from the systems leaking sensitive information without the owner knowing to being hacked and leveraged in a cyberattack.

Here is the Trend Micro ranking of level of exposure in the 10 largest cities, in order:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Houston
  3. Chicago
  4. Dallas
  5. Phoenix
  6. San Jose
  7. New York
  8. San Antonio
  9. San Diego
  10. Philadelphia

 

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Idiot Proof Appliances 

http://readwrite.com/2017/01/11/whirlpool-ces-2017-dl4/

People who struggle with frozen pizza and microwaveable food instructions will be happy to know that Whirlpool unveiled a selection of kitchen appliances able to cook your food without pressing any buttons.

Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas, the appliances include a double-wall oven for $2,600, a microwave for $1,000, a gas range for $1,800 and an electric range for $1,700. All appliances work with iOS and Android devices.

See also: Intel launches modular Compute Card at CES 2017

All four appliances connect to Wi-Fi and are able to understand instructions from Whirlpool’s Scan-to-Cook mobile app. All the homeowner needs to do is scan the instructions and send them to the appliance, which will begin cooking at the right temperature and time.

Whirlpool already has a few compatible products, including DiGiorno Pizza and Alexia frozen fries, but for the price of each appliance you would expect more.

All work with Amazon Alexa

All Whirlpool appliances will receive Amazon Alexa support as well, letting homeowners set the oven to a certain temperature or turn the microwave off without entering the kitchen.

Bringing the kitchen online may help the poorest of home cooks out, but we doubt any of them will want to spend more than $1,000 just to make sure they don’t overcook frozen fries. That said, a few Reddit commenters have made the argument that this could be useful for those that typically forget how to cook or when to turn off the oven when inebriated.

Whirlpool expects to start selling the appliances in the summer.

ALLIANCE allows for synchronization and more

Wireless connections within the Internet of Things may soon rival the capabilities of wired systems, based on new standards being released by Wi-Fi Alliance.

The new standard, called TimeSync, is a Wi-Fi feature that brings precise timing and synchronized operation to wireless devices by aligning them to the same internal clock. It was introduced at CES, just concluded in Las Vegas.

This type of synchronization would enable properly synced audio and video playback wirelessly across a full surround-sound system, according to Kevin Robinson, VP of marketing at Wi-Fi Alliance.

“As Wi-Fi becomes more firmly planted in the connected home space, it is growing from simply delivering Internet connectivity to connected devices to now moving into the interconnections between the components themselves,” Robinson told the IoT Daily.

“Part of the reason Wi-Fi has been as successful as it has is that it’s a very flexible and capable platform for other technologies, other ecosystems, to build on top of and it really allows industry to continue to innovate on top of this very capable platform,” he said.

Bringing a cross-brand standard to wireless devices is the goal and Wi-Fi Alliance plans to launch a certification program for device manufacturers to integrate the TimeSync capability into their products later this year.

The Alliance now has more than one flavor of connectivity tailored to different use cases.

For example, Wi-Fi ac, which was updated in mid-2016, is designed to deliver Internet access to wide areas and multiple devices simultaneously. An example Robinson referenced was a recent implementation of Wi-Fi ac access points throughout Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, which brings high-speed Internet across the entire stadium.

On the other side, Wi-Gig, which was launched in October 2016 and was shown in products at CES, brings short-range, but very high performance speeds. This type of connectivity can enable wireless virtual reality experiences.

The TimeSync feature is not intended to act as a type of connection, but rather as a coordinating layer that can enable better experiences, according to Robinson.

“One way to look at it is it’s an ingredient that will help other technologies in applications perform better,” Robinson told the Daily.

“TimeSync would allow you to create that precise coordination between various devices, whether it’s a VR headset, speakers in the room or a wireless headset,” he said.

Wi-Fi Alliance also plans to launch an indoor location-tracking capability later this year, which would operate similarly to GPS with accuracy within a few feet.

There are currently 8 billion Wi-Fi devices in active use, according to Robinson.

 

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