AdWeek: Marketers Are Racing to Reach Rapidly Growing Audiences on Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home

By Lauren Johnson

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As brands increasingly seek to understand the Internet of Things, marketers are keying in on how Amazon and Google will dominate connected devices in 2018. That’s why Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Home—with their rapidly expanding sets of AI skills and services—will be completely unavoidable for the 180,000 expected attendees at this week’s annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The result of voice assistants’ exploding popularity is a new gold rush to build branded skills “similar to the rush to build apps when the iPhone first came out and the App Store launched,” said Jeff Malmad, managing director of Mindshare North America’s Life+. And similarly now smartphones control how consumers access voice skills. “The ultimate device and gateway to the Internet of Things happens to still be your mobile phone today.”

“Every year at CES, you’ve been seeing the connected refrigerator going back years, but nobody has them in their house,” Malmad said. “In the near future, you’re going to start to see that shift to a connected fridge being more common than not as the price comes down, screens become less expensive and consumers are used to these voice-connected speakers—it’s just going to be as common as having a rear-view camera in your car when you’re reversing.”

Another thing that consumers aren’t buying: watches and health-tracking wearables from startups and smaller companies. Jawbone, for instance, has historically had a large presence at CES with hands-on demonstrations of its products, but the company went out of business in July.

“You’re starting to see the true winners in the world of wearables and that has pretty much defaulted to the world of Apple Watch as well as Android Wear and Samsung,” Malmad said.

Read the entire piece in AdWeek.