Smart Assistants Can Ease Your Traffic Pains!!!

By: Himanshu Jain, Marketing Analyst, IDC India

In India, recently launched Smart Assistants like Amazon Echo and Google home are being marketed to take care of your daily chores. In other countries, these devices have already found use cases like working with Smart TVs, glasses, smart lights and bunch of other smart home appliances. However, one interesting but relatively lesser known use case is making them work with your car.

Traffic situation in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore is quite exasperating, with no signs of improvement in the near future. We spend a lion’s share of our time on the road in traffic snarls, where Smart Assistants can help you by utilizing your time in more productive ways like infotainment, news, etc. while you are driving.

1) News and other information– Alexa or Google home can read up all the current news from various websites like Aajtak, NDTV, etc. and keep you updated about your surroundings. You can ask it to tell you current affairs, weather report, live cricket score, live football news, etc. Imagine you entering car and AI developed the habit of updating you with the latest news daily without even telling it.

2) Music and entertainment– FM stations are very popular in metro cities in India but you are forced to listen to whatever is broadcasted, with no control on the choice of music You can ask your Smart Assistant to make your own music playlist using various apps like Google Music, Prime Music, Saavan, Gaana, etc. Sometimes, it’s hard to find time to read books, but Smart assistant can read the whole book to you. Not only that you can ask the device to recite rhymes to your kids, play simple games, tell you joke, quiz etc., the time well spent while you are stuck in long traffic jams.

3) Utilitarian tasks – These are the most cited and understood use cases of Smart Assistants. Setting alarm, setting up meetings, etc. Shopping is majorly advertised by Amazon for Echo where you can place an order directly from Amazon. Google home provides this feature in US and in India, it is yet to start this functionality. While driving you might come up with an idea or a task and would want to note it down immediately lest you forget, but you can’t as your both hands are on the steering wheel. Now you can simply speak to the Smart Assistant, add reminder and voila, it is there.

4) Routines- Sometimes you leave home in a hurry without making a last-minute check on the lights, fans, AC, etc. to be switched off. If you have connected devices like smart AC, smart lights, etc. at home, you can simply ask the device to check if its turned off or better setup ‘routine’, while you are on the move. Alexa on the Amazon Echo supports this feature which lets users automate certain tasks such as switching off/on lights, playing a set playlist, etc. using a single phrase. For instance, if you say, “Hello, Alexa”, you can set the assistant to report the weather, tell you the traffic conditions, play news from flash briefings, switch off/on lights, all at the same time. Google home is yet to add this functionality in India and as of now, this feature is only available in US.

5) Navigation support– Currently Google home is providing the navigation services with the help of Google maps. You can preset your locations and can add it as default. It will guide you to your location with best route to your destination suggestions.

Amazon’s Echo has a feature where you can update any required skill of Smart assistant as per your need. With over 24,000 skills in the Alexa store, users tend to use only a few of them and in many cases, they are not aware of it. Google home is also working on regular feature updates to make it more useful. While voice assistants are in the market today, they have a long way to go before they reach their full potential. It remains to be seen how the data paths, marketing tactics and workflows to support those use cases will be built and accepted by increasingly sophisticated users.

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