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Ad Lib: What Really Works in Voice -- and Why Google is Smarter Than Amazon

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Doug Robinson
Doug Robinson Credit: David Hall

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Recent research suggests that smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home will be in 55 percent of all U.S. households by 2022. That's a lot of skills. To help us digest these numbers, Doug Robinson, CEO of Fresh Digital Group, joins us on this episode of Ad Lib.

"Amazon is clearly winning," says Robinson, whose company has built some 400 voice-assistant skills for a wide swath of brands and non-profits. "The reality is from a distribution standpoint, they have the market share. Who's smarter? Google."

To brands that haven't plunged into voice yet, Robinson says he wishes them good luck. "I hope that you wake up to the reality very soon that you have an opportunity to be in everyone's home, pocket or car, and this is the fastest moving technology medium in history," he says. "And given where we are in this point in humanity … you probably want to look a little deeper into how you can at least be a player in this space."

Robinson's team has built voice apps for clients including ESPN, BMW, UNICEF and Toys R Us. He explains how consumers are using these smart speakers, what's coming down the pike in terms of the tech, and what people still get wrong about voice (namely, that it's easy to pull off).

"Our UNICEF skill is saving lives. That's pretty cool, right? We have kids exercising in the living room," he says. "Who's saving lives as a skill? I think that's pretty legit. And we're just getting started."

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