World News:

Bixby launched a developer program to seduce developers
Samsung announced the launch of the Bixby Premier Developer Program to attract top voice developers to launch their service on Bixby. So far, only developers with top-rated voice apps on the Alexa and Google ecosystems could participate. Once joining the program, those developers will enjoy key placements in the Bixby Marketplace (solving the discovery problem….and therefore monetization). Samsung staff that I met indicated that the marketplace should launch in Europe in October. Looks like a third player is trying to join the battle between Amazon and Google and is putting significant resources behind it. Link (Bixby Developers)

Salesforce acquires Bonobo, a conversational AI company from Israel
Salesforce announced the acquisition of Bonobo, a company that analyses customer conversations and turn them into insights in order to generate more sales or increase customer satisfaction and retention. The company will, therefore, bring some conversational AI capabilities to the Salesforce Sales Cloud and its AI-powered service named Einstein. Bonobo was founded in 2017 and raised $4.5m about 6 months before the acquisition by Salesforce. Looks like someone was in a rush to secure such a technology. Link (Bonobo website)

Google Assistant finally got also integrated on Bose devices
People contemplating owning a Bose speaker could now between Alexa and the Google assistant. Originally, the Bose speakers only came with Alexa embedded. Just like with Sonos, users will have to choose one of the two and will not be able to run them in parallel. This is clearly a sign that manufacturers don’t want to be tied up to one ecosystem, possibly because people the choice of device is influenced by the assistant(s) on offer. Probably also another sign that Google is back in the game. Link (Voicebot)

Clinc a conversational AI platform raised $52m
US-based startup Clinc announced having raised a $52m Series B. The company offers a conversational AI solution and currently works with major banks, car manufacturers, fast-food restaurants, healthcare companies, and recently demonstrated how it could work in video games.  The company currently employs around 150 people and had enjoyed a 300% revenue growth year on year. This is yet another massive investment in conversational AI, a service many companies will need to build their own voice services outside of Google and Alexa. Link (Techcrunch)

European News:

Google Nest Hub available next week in Europe
The 7″ screen smart speaker that allows users to watch Youtube videos or simply enjoy the services of the Google Assistant will be available in Europe starting next week. With a price tag of 129€, it will be interested to see how the demand compares with the Echo Show (which offers a 10″ screen). Link (Journal de la Voix – in French)

Alexis Hue

Alexis Hue

Alexis is the founder of Voice & You, a voice growth consultancy. With his strong background in marketing and user acquisition for digital services, he advises brands, publishers and developers on how to grow the audience of their voice apps.