Smart Home Devices & Artificial Intelligence: New Spaces for Advertisers

Smart home speaker

Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting smarter every day, but in terms of overall utility, it’s still in the Stone Age.

Or, is it?

Introducing Google Duplex

At Google’s 2018 developer conference, the tech company unveiled the most convincing conversation with a virtual assistant that we’ve heard to date.

The emerging AI technology, known as Google Duplex, helps out its human creators by setting up appointments over the telephone. Unlike Siri’s rudimentary roster of responses, this assistant was able to carry on a full conversation with a human who was seemingly unaware that their conversation partner was a computer.

Google’s goal for this technology is to “accomplish real-world tasks over the phone.” While virtual assistants have come a long way from the days of simply dialing your contacts list, the ability to carry on a conversation as a human is a game changer.

Google’s TensorFlow Extended network has been learning about human speech and intentions from analyzing anonymized voicemails and Google Voice conversations from users who opt-in. While making a hair appointment doesn’t seem like much, it is an incredibly arduous task for an AI system. This technology will have to be further developed before it becomes efficient enough to function on a smartphone or smart home device.

Advertising on Smart Home Devices

So, what does all of this have to do with advertisers? According to a Google spokesperson, the company is in the process of developing ways to offer ad space within smart home devices like Google Home and Alexa.

In the future, auto dealers may be able to pay for premium placement within these devices.

For example, if a customer were to ask their Google Assistant to schedule an oil change, the assistant could recommend your service center and mention the 15 percent off coupon that you have available. The assistant would then proceed to set up the appointment and schedule car pick-up or drop-off, making it that much easier for a customer to choose your dealership.

If this form of advertising is implemented, there is no doubt that it will become a very competitive ad space. For now, it’s a watch-and-wait kind of game, and auto dealers should keep their eyes peeled for new advancements in AI and home device advertising in particular.

When Will This Technology Be Available?

Google has a history of getting excited about new technology, revealing it to the world and then deciding to pull the plug (Google Glass, anyone?).

Given the complexity of Duplex, it is possible that its development will prove too expensive or laborious, and the company may decide to go in another direction.

Whether Duplex is launched to the public or not, you can be sure that Google and other smart home manufacturers will continue looking for ways to monetize their devices. The most logical way to do this is with advertising.

The days of waiting on hold and scheduling your own haircuts may be coming to an end. But for now, you’ll still have to pick up the phone yourself.


About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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