045 - Hearables and the Future of Audible Social Media - Dave Kemp

Dave Kemp from Oaktree Products is an expert on hearables, which are smart, wireless in-ear devices such as AirPods. And they’re probably the future of voice, more so than smart speakers.

Dave and Emily talked about ambient computing from Alexa to wearables to the connected car. And interestingly we touched on the dire need for curated content to replace the noisy and overwhelming experience of social media today. Plus, hear how Alexa Flash Briefing might be the first iteration of that improved content experience.

AirPods  are  Apple's  most popular accessory product, with 35 million units sold in 2018 alone.

AirPods are Apple's most popular accessory product, with 35 million units sold in 2018 alone.

Topics and timestamps:

  • Hearables including AirPods and competitor products such as Samsung Galaxy Buds, Pixel Buds, Microsoft Surface headset

  • 5:10 Amazon hearables in late half of 2019 (competitor to AirPods)

  • Apple's new H1 chip in v2 AirPods shows that Apple is dedicated to AirPods for the long term (beyond using the W1 chip from Apple Watch), now AirPods have their own chip architecture just for hearables

  • First application is "Hey Siri" activation (no tapping required)

  • 7:10 Bret Kinsella helped people visualize importance of the smart speaker as training wheels, a conditional device to make people comfortable with the voice assistant, offloading smartphone related tasks to VAs. But hearables are really riding the bike.

  • The near-field voice assistant is key (smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home and Apple HomePod are far field)

  • 9:00 We have to recognize there has been a dramatic behavioral shift since 2016

  • It has becomes socially acceptable to wear in-ear devices all the time

  • 9:20 Form factors are developing: earrings (fashionable hearables) and Bose AR frames with speakers near the ear could be the future

  • 9:40 Hearing aids as a form factor allow for usage that is super discreet - moving away from stigma today and to all-day usage

  • Passively consuming content while synced to digital environment - all day usage is plausible

  • 10:30 Emily's Bluetooth headache - how can we minimize exposure to EMFs from a health standpoint?

  • 11:00 AirPods case could become the receiver vs streaming content from phone to AirPods. Content could be housed in the AirPod case and streamed in a lower bandwidth from the edge vs the cloud.

  • 11:20 Outfitting our bodies with technology - what are the health implications for heavy EMFs (Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation) - hear a quick Flash Briefing about why EMFs are a problem - TBD…

  • 12:25 Flash Briefing and passive consumption of content

  • Flash Briefing is a gem

  • Dave’s Flash Briefing (Future Ear Radio) is his daily blog post on then the briefing is a 60 second tease about the blog post (a promotional vehicle to his blog post)

  • Flash Briefing should be the star of the smart speaker - such a powerful use case

  • 14:00 This is the precursor to audio social media, consuming on demand the content you want to consume from your favorite sources (curated feed)

  • Amazon should be featuring Flash Briefing more but now it's relegated to the Settings area of the Alexa app

  • How can we put the Flash Briefing idea on other platforms?

  • 15:15 We are so overwhelmed with social media- what if you could Google Reader / RSS all that content?

  • Ways to better curate your attention and cut out the noise

  • We love Twitter but it requires so much parsing - what does the future hold and how can voicefirst make passive content consumption better?

Get in touch with Dave Kemp:


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