If you’re like us, you can’t believe that 2018 is already coming to a close. The past year was a whirlwind of growth for the voice-first industry. Voice Assistant adoption has increased across all devices from smartphones to smart speakers and is only expected to grow in 2019. The proof is in the numbers:
- Smart speaker usage in the U.S. rose to 22.9% of the adult population (read: 57.8 million people)
- As of September 2018, U.S. households average 2.2 smart devices, up from 1.8 in January 2018
- Though smart speakers are on the rise, smartphone use of voice assistants is still king with 90.1 million monthly active users (Voicebot.ai)
With such staggering stats, it is also interesting to take a look at what users are looking for when conducting voice searches.
Us here at Audioburst see the current voice market as full of potential. We spent 2018 developing meaningful partnerships, data-driven products, and growing our company to meet the needs of a global community that is hungry for a more dynamic, contextual, and personalized listening experience.
It was a phenomenal year, and we wanted to take a moment to show you just what we’ve been up to over the past 12 months.
Creating a Voice Ecosystem: A Look at Partnerships and Funding
In this world, you’re nothing without friends. In 2018 Audioburst was proud to announce a host of new strategic partnerships that further our mission of providing companies with the ability to create a more personalized, relevant, screen-free to take audio experience for their customers.
Here are a few of the new collaborations we formed this year:
- Harman – Integration of Audioburst’s technology into the Harman Ignite Platform, providing drivers and passengers with access to our extensive audio content library as well as a new personalized “Commute Channel” created on-demand for each listener based on listening identity and driving situation.
- Samsung – Announced plans to bring Audioburst Search and our brand of customized on-demand audio to a host of in-home products, beginning with Smart TVs.
- Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc. – Joined together with Nippon Broadcasting to begin the process of localizing Audioburst technology for the Japanese market.
- TopBuzz / News Republic (Bytedance) / Radioline – Introduced the Audioburst listening experience to these popular platforms.
- LG Electronics – Unveiled plans to partner on in-car infotainment, an experience which will feature our latest product offering ‘Audioburst Deep Analysis.’ Expect to hear more about this at CES 2019!
In addition to these strategic partnerships, our financing also rose to $14.4 million through investments by Samsung Ventures ($4.5M) and Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc. ($3M).
There’s No “I” in Team… or Product!
Everyone at Audioburst works hard, but we want to hit pause and give a heartfelt shoutout to our Product and R&D teams. They figure out what the market needs before companies even know they need it and then they translate that into innovative and cutting-edge products for the smarter consumption of audio.
While the list of accomplishments for 2018 is quite long, here are some of the more notable items we launched this year:
- Audioburst Creators – A platform for content creators containing powerful tools for increased distribution, monetization, and promotion of their content.
- Audioburst Search – We launched Personalized Playlists and updated the site to allow for search by both ‘burst’ (aka bite-sized audio clip) and ‘show title’.
- News Feed Skill / Action – Debuted local weather and traffic features, as well as introduced the ‘Personal Playlist’ to the News Feed experience.
- Audioburst APIs – Announced LG Electronics would be the first to utilize our newest product offering, ‘Audioburst Deep Analysis,’ an API which adds an additional level of metadata categorization and provides a more in-depth understanding of the content being searched for and enjoyed in real-time.
Gaining Momentum: Stats, Growth, and Culture
On a lighter note, we want to share with you some stuff we’re excited about, including accomplishments we’re proud of, our new digs spanning multiple continents, and a few funny bursts that made us smile.
- Bling! – Audioburst is deeply honored to have received the following in 2018:
- New locales as a springboard into new markets – As part of our global expansion, we opened our first offices in New York and Japan, as well as found a new location for our home office in Tel Aviv.
- Content that goes off the beaten path – You’re probably familiar with most of our content categories, such as Tech, Business, Entertainment, etc. However, you may have missed our newest addition, the ‘Off Beat’ category, bringing you audio that is fun, quirky, and fresh.
We asked the team to share a few of their favorite ‘Off Beat’ bursts from 2018. Check ‘em out!
‘Emotional support’ squirrel and owner ousted from flight:
The Worst Robbers in Belgium:
MIT researchers use Reddit to create the first “psychopath AI”:
And that’s a wrap!
With 2018, winding down, we’ve already set our sights on busy 2019: new and exciting partnerships are soon to be announced, localization of our technology into additional countries and languages, product and feature launches, fresh content sources on the platform, and much, much more.
Our compass points us towards the manner in which we can best help our partners serve the needs of their users. The push to an innately personalized, contextual, data-driven experience is the clear and distinct path forward. In an era of multi-tasking, consumers of content are stingy with their attention. What they choose to ingest must clearly add value to their lives. Content must be relevant to the individual, easily accessible, and to the point.
To fully realize this requirement, a company’s relationship with their customers must be an intimate one. As voice and smart technology continue to embed themselves into our everyday lives, from phones to cars, to microwave ovens, companies are gaining the insights needed to finally build that type of deep bond with their users.
It’s an exciting time for both companies and consumers alike; a promising future lies ahead!