You may have been following the news from CES this week. If you have, then you know that Toyota and Lexus are adding Alexa access in 2018. The number one manufacturer of car infotainment systems, Panasonic, is also adding Alexa access. Garmin is doing the same thing. Both companies will introduce Alexa to a lot of car models. A little company called Anker is providing a way to add Alexa to any car through the cigarette lighter.
Consumer Smart Speaker Habits Pay Dividends in the Car
An Edison Research Study commissioned by NPR found that 39 million U.S. have access to a smart speaker. That grows to over 50 million when accounting for children. The top use case for smart speakers in the home is listening to music of which at least 20% is dedicated to AM/FM radio.
The data is clear that consumers are flocking to smart speakers and that audio entertainment is the number one use case. The Edison Study found out one more thing that is highly relevant to radio. Sixty-four percent of smart speaker owners want to have the technology in the car.
An Opportunity for Radio
This turn of events happens to be a big opportunity for radio for three reasons. First, the newer car dashboards have been putting radio options behind, below and somewhere less prominent than music streaming service access. Bringing Alexa into the car means that visual and menu positioning in the infotainment system is less important. Every radio station is just a short spoken phrase from playing through Alexa. Voice will become the new radio buttons for the car and radio’s branding and local differentiation will be a plus. This will instantly transform intelligent dashboards from a threat to an advantage for radio.
Second, when you launch your radio station on Alexa for the home, you get the car for free. There is no separate implementation for radio to be accessed. If it is available on Alexa in the home, it is also immediately available through Alexa in the car.
Finally, smart speakers are increasing time spent listening (TSL) to radio in the home. That will invariably carry over to the car as the radio listener wants to stay with the morning show from getting ready to eating breakfast through the commute. It will create morning routine continuity that has been lost in many homes that have removed radios over the past decade.
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