Home Automation Week In Review

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Week In Review

Google Assistant Clams Up

Starting this week, Google Assistant will introduce a new feature that replaces its verbal confirmations with a 'pleasant chime' on a wider range of smart home devices. The update comes after the company had previously limited the use of the chime feature to smart lights only. Google aims to provide less intrusive notifications to users when their commands are executed, recognizing that most people do not require any kind of response to know if their devices are working as intended. It remains unclear whether Google will offer an option to disable the chime feature or if it will become a mandatory part of interacting with smart home devices.

The Circana Take:

  • If you have ever gotten annoyed at a voice assistant because of its insistence on replying to every comment, this is welcome news.
  • While limited to select smart home products categories this improvement is another step towards making digital assistants more intuitive- a process that will help drive increased interactions among users.  

Humane Shows Off A Connected Device

Humane, the start up founded by two former Apple employees, gave a demo of its much-anticipated hardware product at a recent TED talk. Imran Chaudhri, Humane’s President, demonstrated the wearable device onstage at the event which is powered by AI and functions as a voice activated digital assistant. Described as a ‘new kind of wearable device and platform’, the unnamed product does not need a smartphone to function and it can also project a screen onto nearby surfaces.

The Circana Take: 

  • While the idea behind connected objects is not new (anybody still own a Chumby?) the many features of Humane’s device are intriguing. The device is reportedly also able to translate foreign languages in real time. While this is not a speaker or headphone, the device appears to resemble a wearable smart speaker.
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