Greetings fellow voice-first and related topics enthusiasts! Here's the news roundup for March 16-22, 2019.

Amazon: Alexa Trial Kicks Off in Brazil

"Alexa, você fala português?" O Globo, Brazil's largest newspaper, reports that Amazon is gearing up to test Alexa in Brazil. The company sent an email inviting some of its Brazilian customers to take part in the trial to help expand Alexa's AI in Brazilian Portuguese. (For a report in English see ZDNet)

Google Assistant: Leads in Smart Display Adoption in Australia, and Delights Owners the Most in the U.S.

Australia Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report 2019. Only a few months after its launch, Google reigns supreme among smart displays in Australia, commanding over 40% of the market share just two months after its launch. The data comes from the 2019 Australia Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report, which was developed through a collaboration between and Australia-based digital agency FIRST. The study also finds that Australians have a much higher adoption rate of smart displays at 22.2% compared to 13.2%  among U.S. consumers. (Voicebot)

Survey finds Google Home users do more, have ‘far higher’ satisfaction than Alexa owners. A recent survey conducted by Kantar World Panel finds that Google Home owners use devices for a broader range of functions and have ‘far higher’ satisfaction than Alexa owners. Despite this, Alexa continues to hold the dominant share of smart devices in the U.S. (Search Engine Land)

Voice-First: The Future of Retail is in Voice-tech Adoption, Voice-first Moves Beyond the Smart Speaker, New Genderless Digital Voice is Unveiled, Qualcomm announces new set of SoC

About One-third of Smart Speaker Owners Want to Contact Customer Service Departments by Voice. As the adoption of voice assistants surpases 66 million U.S. consumers, the number of brands listing customer service features in their Alexa skills and Google Actions remains short. "Any brand that is contemplating how to get started with a presence on voice assistants or is considering how to expand their current offering should look into customer service," writes Bret Kinsella from Voicebot. (Voicebotai)

Voice opportunities beyond the smart speaker. In 2018, smart speakers had the fastest consumer electronics penetration in history.  What is more interesting or important about this is that "smart voice assistant platforms like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Apple’s Siri are moving away from just smart speakers, and into the entire spectrum of consumer electronics, from cars to refrigerators," writes Dylan Zwick. This emergent technology is an exciting new channel and presents great opportunities for brands to interact with, and delight, their customers. (The Leadership Network)

45% of Millennials Use Voice Assistants While Shopping According to a New Study. 2019 Report says that 45% of millennials use voice assistants while shopping. According to Voicebot, these findings are an "indicator that voice can be a useful aid in the shopping process such as searching for products or accessing product reviews." As product search on voice assistants increases, companies have to develop voice strategies for making their products and services easily discoverable through voice assistants.

Meet Q, The Gender-Neutral Voice Assistant. Voice assistant voices — whether they're Amazon's Alexa, Google’s Assistant, or Apple’s Siri — tend to be female voices. These can be changed to some male options. Now, a group of linguists, technologists, and sound designers have unveiled a new genderless digital voice, made from real voices, called Q.  (NPR)

Qualcomm's new smart speaker platform will drive third-party device growth. As the smart speaker market continues to expand, Qualcomm announced a set of new system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs, as well as a dedicated smart speaker platform on which companies can base AI-enabled audio devices. The continued development of the third-party smart speaker market should bring prices down and drive further consumer adoption of voice-enabled devices. (Business Insider)

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