21.11.17

Deutsche Telekom intros data-friendly voice service

hands holding amazon echo showing top buttons

Smart home giant Deutsche Telekom may have been quiet during the recent explosion of ‘smart’ speakers in the marketplace, but that’s all about to change.

It may be popular to ask your good friend Alexa or Google to turn on the lights or what the weather’s going to be like tomorrow, but it’s not always very profitable. That’s the thinking by Deutsche Telekom, who plans to utilise its giant customer base to convert interest in smart assistants into a profitable service model.

How? It recognises asking a smart home assistant to things like build a shopping list, order a pizza or recommend a movie to watch in the cinema is invaluable to consumers and can easily become a monetised referral.

The German Telcos provider’s newly introduced ‘Magenta’ assistant will do regular tasks such as control your music or heating system, but in coordination with a number of partners. Local companies Tagesschau or radioplayer.de are signed up so far, but users will also have access to apps available to the likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

What’s particularly interesting about the product in an ever-crowded smart assistant market is Deutsche Telekom’s firm approach to data. Notably the speaker is designed in alignment with the Germany’s data protections standards, which means that data will not be stored for more than 30 days.

“Operating services via voice-controlled assistants is becoming increasingly important and the time has come for a first product according to German data protection acts,” commented Michael Hagspihl, head of consumer business at Telekom Deutschland.

“We’re convinced that voice is going to become an essential element in the market in the future. All the more reason than to celebrate the fact that we’re now in a position to present a pioneering quality product together with our partners.”

With a huge customer base at its fingertips, Deutsche Telekom may just be onto something in charging brands to access to it. The company has long championed the smart home and Telco’s role in advancing ownership, so it will be interesting to see how its move to be a gateway to adoption and relationship-facilitator rather than the catalyst itself pans out.

The speaker will be available from 2018 H1.