Voice is gaining ground as a user interface for the smart home. DT had already started its voice journey through an alliance with Amazon, but has now announced its own debut in the AI assistant space with the upcoming launch of Magenta – a DT-branded home assistant and speaker. The operator expects this initiative will help strengthen its smart home proposition, remaining as the main interlocutor and guardian of the relationship with its clients.
DT takes a further step into the voice-controlled smart home
DT has been one of the few telcos to date to rely on partners to start its AI-enabled smart home journey. Since September 2016, DT has been offering voice capabilities for its smart home platform Qivicon, in partnership with Amazon and its AI assistant, Alexa. However, DT has recently announced plans to speed up the transition to AI during 2018 with the launch of its own assistant and AI-enabled speaker to control smart home devices and DT's services such as EntertainTV.
This move represents an opportunity to add value, but also a preventive measure not to lose control over the whole user experience and customer relationship. DT is not the only operator trying to safeguard the relationship with its clients and grasp a better share of the monetization opportunities that derive from the data they generate. Companies such as Orange (who DT has partnered with to develop voice assistant technology) and Telefónica are also developing proprietary AI assistants as the main interlocutor capable of navigating their universe of products and services, offering additional compatibility with third-party smart home solutions to enhance customer experience. Such companies do not want Alexa to become the main TV user interface, nor do they want Amazon to be in the middle managing the relationship with their clients and gathering all the insights on their consumption trends.
However, while telcos and other pay-TV SPs continue to invest in their own virtual assistants, they also understand that the functionality of existing AI assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant will be more and more difficult to match as competition intensifies. This situation is making them realize that existing AI assistants are better allies than enemies. For this reason, DT has decided Magenta will be compatible with Alexa and it fast-growing ecosystem of connected products and services.
Ovum believes the integration of AI assistants from multiple vendors and SPs will accelerate in the next few years. The demarcation of territorial boundaries to protect the relationship with the customer will also increase at home. This scenario will require vendors and SPs to work together to develop the right mechanisms to guarantee a seamless integration, not demanding users to switch among AI assistants if they want execute a task that is performed by another assistant.
"Alexa and Cortana partner to compete against Siri and Google Assistant," TE0003-001062 (September 2017)
Mariana Zamoszczyk, Senior Analyst, Consumer Services