Voice Assistants and Where Chris Fits In

We were at CES 2018 recently, and voice assistants were a hot topic. Here’s where Chris fits in.

The Consumer Electronics Show sets the agenda for the year ahead across the hardware technology industry.

We were at the show presenting Chris, and we also had the opportunity to take a look at what other companies were putting on display. This was incredibly exciting, as we were able to spot the trends for 2018 and beyond, and witness the conversations that will dominate the landscape.

You won’t be surprised to read that voice assistants look to be a huge growth area for the year. Amazon and Google both put a lot of energy into placing Alexa and Ok Google at the forefront of the show with the latter taking out a huge quantity of billboard space throughout Las Vegas.

But the show also showed an interesting move beyond its comfort zone. As a result of the increased presence of software inside the car, the automobile sector is now, in some senses, merging with the consumer electronics space. There was a large presence from automotive companies, prompting some to ask whether CES is set to displace Detroit’s North American International Auto Show.

With this in mind, auto companies are starting to eschew systems from tech companies, such as Apple’s CarPlay or Android Auto, and personal assistants from the big tech companies such as Amazon and Google. Instead, we saw examples of car manufacturers building their own in-car assistants, such as Mercedes’ ‘hello Mercedes’ activated MBUX system.

This demonstrates that car companies want ownership of their customers’ data, and don’t want to cede this to an external company — especially now that Apple and Google are becoming more involved in the automotive sector themselves.

So, where does Chris fit into the equation? Firstly, what we saw at CES is strong evidence that a digital assistant for the car is a great idea, and Chris will lead the way in this regard. Secondly, the two main options for an in-car digital assistant don’t fit with every car: they require the latest models.

Chris does fit in any car, and is a purpose-built assistant, not just an extension of your phone’s operating system or an adaptation of an assistant designed to be used in the home. So we’re excited for what 2018 will bring, with the launch of Chris coming in the summer.

You can see Chris in action at CES 2018 in this demonstration by our CEO Holger G. Weiss, and here’s a video of Chris cruising through Las Vegas.

Do you have any further questions? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch on Twitter or Facebook, or leave us a comment on this blog.

Sam Diamond is responsible for Social and Story at German Autolabs.

He likes football, reading and running, and is passionate about making driving smarter.


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