Deutsche Telekom Plans to Enter Smart Speaker Market, But Wants Real-World Test First
German Deutsche Telekom, the largest telecommunications provider in Europe, announced plans earlier this year to enter the voice assistant and smart speaker market, initially eyeing a summer launch. However, the company has delayed the launch of both its own intelligent voice assistant and smart speaker to meet Telekom’s “quality requirements” a company spokesperson told Reuters last week.
The voice assistant is to be called Magenta, with “Hello Magenta” as its wake word. Telekom already offers some voice control through its devices, like its Magenta SmartHome and EntertainTV products which allow users to perform simple tasks through voice commands like changing channels or making and receiving calls. But the Telekom Smart Speaker will provide more advanced capabilities through voice, similar to what consumers have come to expect of Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Which is why Telekom wants to test it in the real world first.
A Real World Test for a Competitive Market
Telekom is launching a special pre-rollout of its Smart Speaker as its first product launch stage. The company will give away the €149.99 Smart Speaker to 1,000 customers in order to test the product for an undisclosed amount of time. “Training data will help make the Smart Speaker’s voice recognition technology even better. The linguistic diversity and variety of terms coming from all corners of Germany will increase the voice platform’s vocabulary,” states the company’s blog. The only requirements are that applicants be Telekom WIFI and EntertainTV customers.
The interesting part is that the Smart Speaker will also include Amazon’s Alexa as a voice assistant. Perhaps Telekom has learned from Bixby’s troubles that if you want consumers to use your in-house voice assistant, you must ensure that it is as capable as the other or you risk losing users from the start.