Augmented And Virtual Reality Headset Shipments Grew 92% In 2021

In 2021, 11.2 million units of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets shipped globally, according to new data from International Data Corporation’s (IDC) worldwide quarterly AR/VR headset tracker. During holiday Q4, half of the annual volume was shipped, capping a record year that hasn’t seen similar volumes since 2016 when low-cost VR screenless viewers like Samsung’s Gear VR dominated the market.

The dramatic growth was largely thanks to Meta’s strong Quest 2 volumes, which accounted for 78 percent of the combined AR/VR worldwide market. Followed by DPVR (5.1 percent) and ByteDance’s Pico VR products (4.5 percent), both of which are well-positioned for growth in Asian markets, notes the report. In fourth and fifth places were VR pioneer HTC and China-based online video platform iQIYI.

Meta has been leading the AR/VR space due to its offering of a reasonably priced headset. Its tactic of introducing non-gamers and businesses to the array of uses for AR and VR beyond gaming has also benefited the company, said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. 

Meta doesn’t currently have any major competitors in the AR/VR industry, though that’s likely to change in the next year or two when Sony launches its PSVR2 and Apple and other smartphone vendors enter the market.

AR/VR headset shipments are expected to grow just shy of 47 percent year-over-year in 2022, with double-digit growth into 2026, as global shipments exceed 50 million units that year. One explanation for this growth is the broader adoption of AR and VR by gamers, non-gamers and the commercial sector. IDC predicts the industry’s compound annual growth rate will exceed 35 percent by the end of 2026.

“Augmented reality headsets continue to represent a small fraction of the overall AR/VR headset market and the volumes we do see are happening almost exclusively on the commercial side of the business. Consumer AR is still largely the domain of smartphones and tablets and will likely remain so in the near term,” said Tom Mainelli, group vice president, Device & Consumer Research at IDC. 

AR is on the road to becoming a must-have for marketers, much like influencer marketing became indispensable to successful cross-channel marketing strategies in recent years. Emarketer expects ad revenues from AR marketing to reach $2.86 billion in 2022 and $6.68 billion in 2025–up from $1.98 billion currently. 

Thirty-five percent of marketers were leveraging AR or VR in their strategies in 2021. Of those marketers, 42 percent planned to increase their investment in 2022. And a tenth of those who didn’t leverage AR or VR in 2021 will experiment with it for the first time this year.

The overall AR/VR market is expected to grow to $252.16 billion by 2028, up almost $200 billion from 2021, according to a report by The Insight Partners. Some predictions go as high as $571 billion by 2025. The hardware alone will account for more than half of the projected spending.

Marketers looking to meet people where they are should keep a close eye on the space, as one emerging use case for AR/VR headsets is the metaverse.  The new digital environment will give brands new ways to engage customers through immersive experiences and shopping activations to highlight their latest products and services. Whether it’s shopping for a Gucci wearable for their avatar in the brand’s virtual plot of land in The Sandbox, bidding on artwork from Sotheby’s auction in Decentraland, or customizing skate shoes in Van’s Roblox skatepark

People are steadily warming up to the idea of shopping with AR, though it hasn’t become mainstream just yet. According to eMarketer’s October 2021 survey with Bizrate Insights, just 13 percent of US adults had ever used AR or VR to shop, up by 5 percentage points YOY. But 37 percent who hadn’t used AR or VR to shop before were at least somewhat interested in doing so.

Discussion of the metaverse is driving hype and investment around AR, VR and many adjacent technologies, but Maneilli doesn’t expect this insignificant behavior to impact headset volumes any time soon. 

Blurred Lines At MWC 2022: Augmented Reality In Everyday Life

Augmented reality has the ability to compile tons of data from digital devices and transform it into experiences people can view and interact with in the physical world. So far, the method has helped brands deepen experiences for sports fans, bring dance challenges to life and allow shoppers to try on makeup with their phones.

Already broad, the applications for AR are quickly expanding. At MWC Barcelona’s panel entitled “Blurred Lines: Augmented Reality in Everyday Life,” leaders from Avegant, Holo-Light, VMware and more discussed how AR can be used to improve safety, increase efficiency and deliver real business results.

Right now, most AR uses cases that operate via a network have to be done in a certain place and require a huge network infrastructure. Virtual reality and AR startup Holo-Light is working on overcoming this to increase the tech’s mobility and performance so that AR can be used anywhere, according to Holo-Light GmbH head of technology Philipp Landgraf. 

In December, Holo-Light announced it was building XRnow, the first immersive streaming platform designed for mass adoption of AR and VR applications on mobile devices. Like Netflix for AR and VR, the platform utilizes the power of the cloud to enable high-performance processing, on-demand access and global availability of AR and VR experiences.

The platform will allow companies to scale AR and VR use cases and showcase services and products in new ways. The example Landgraf gave is selling a car. Auto companies won’t always have all their models available in inventory but as AR becomes more developed, ray tracing—an intuitive image generation method—and algorithms can be used to create photo-realistic films showcasing a breadth of car models.

BMW already leverages Holo-Light’s AR engineering software 3S Pro to speed up design processes—from individual vehicle sections through complex production stages—by as much as 12 months. The regular computing power of mobile AR devices wouldn’t be able to power this use case because the individual parts of a car are detailed, complex and large in file size. But with the integration of Holo-Light’s in-house products AR3S and ISAR SDK (Interactive Streaming for Augmented Reality), BMW can visualize its 3D CAD (computer-aided design) models in very high quality and without any data preparation.

British telecom company BT has also has been participating in a few mixed reality projects lately, according to the company’s principal manager of mobile and 5G research team, Maria Cuevos. In February, it helped debut The Green Planet AR Experience, created by Factory 42 with BBC Studios. Upon entry, guests are given a mobile phone that helps immersive them in six plant worlds powered by BT’s mobile network EE 5G. David Attenborough, who’s in 3D hologram form, guides them through the journey.

“The biggest learning for us is to put [AR] in the hands of the people and see how they use it and how they experience the whole thing,” said Cuevos.

Just like smartphones and watches, AR devices will go through several iterations. Chief executive and founder Edward Tang’s startup Avegant creates display engines, or tiny projectors, for AR glasses that will power the next generation of these consumer glasses, he said. 

To increase consumer adoption of AR wearables, Tang emphasized the importance of sizing down AR glasses and getting them to feel exactly like everyday eyewear. Avegant’s current projector, he added, is smaller than the width of a pencil which enables the company to produce stylish and functional glasses while adding intelligence into the displays.

“The interest level and investments that we’re seeing from all the major consumer players is an order of magnitude above what we’ve seen even just a couple [of] years ago. We’re seeing a lot more momentum and the technologies are getting to a point where we can really check a lot of the boxes it’s going to take to make successful consumer products,” said Tang.

He believes the work being done with Meta Oculus, Android’s ARCore and iOS’ ARKit development kits, as well as the sensor tech being used in smartphones, are all a precursor for what’s to come on wearable type devices.

Looking ahead, Tang said it’s important industry players don’t try cramming a phone or computer experience into a pair of AR glasses. Instead, they should consider the uses cases for the glasses’ sensors and contextual information. Some of the uses he envisions for AR glasses include drawing a line on the ground while giving someone directions, leaving a restaurant review while looking at the restaurant and the glasses knowing its wearer wants to buy a product just by looking at it. 

From VMware, product line marketing manager Jessie Stoks said the biggest application for VR head-mounted wearables the company is seeing is for front-line workers including shift-based and service workers. Headsets deliver content hands-free in real-time to the worker, which is especially helpful for those in hazardous environments where quick access to a mobile device isn’t feasible, she said.

AR and VR headsets are also providing uninterrupted concentration to assembly line workers who may have a workstation but experience a lot of back and forth between the computer and whatever they’re working on. The result is greater productivity and less room for error, noted Stoks. These headsets are also streamlining remote training and collaboration as it’s easier to have the same view as the worker rather than guide them through emails or fly them out for training.

MWC 2022: Maximizing The Social And Economic Impact Of Mobile Connectivity

Despite the progress made in mobile connectivity, the pandemic widened the digital divide between the haves and have-nots. Today 450 million people, or 6 percent of the world’s population, don’t have a way of connecting to a mobile device, an issue commonly referred to as the coverage gap. And about 3 billion people do have access to mobile broadband networks yet still aren’t connected, a phenomenon known as the usage gap. Closing this usage gap will be key to achieving digital inclusion. 

During a panel on day one of MWC Barcelona, leaders from UNDP, Orange, GMSA and EY explored the current state of digital inclusion and why C-suite buy-in, the development of standard industry metrics and a multi-stakeholder approach are all needed to bridge the digital divide and accelerate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as established by the United National General Assembly in 2015.

The mobile industry has long been recognized as a key enabler of social and economic improvement. Network coverage globally was expanded to more than a billion additional people between 2015 and 2019, as noted by the panel’s moderator Adrian Baschnonga, lead analyst for global telecommunications at EY. In addition, the mobile industry has achieved half of its potential contribution across 17 SDGs, up from 33 percent in 2015.

Yet connectivity and the availability of infrastructure alone don’t guarantee device and service affordability, digital literacy and technology skills, all of which can help increase levels of digital inclusion. With so many basic services necessary for everyday living available online like public transformation, health and education, it’s becoming as vital to be digitally literate as it is to know how to read and write, according to Antoine de Clerck, Orange societal responsibility animation director of CSR.

“Promoting more digital is simply a question of sustainability. We cannot be sustainable in the long term if half of the world’s population is excluded from using these basic services. It’s in our core business to make sure we operate in an inclusive way,” said de Clerck.

In Europe, a 24 percent usage gap exists, which means people who are connected and who might even use a smartphone still aren’t using digital services such as looking for a job online or buying a train ticket online, said de Clerck.

One way Orange is bringing affordable devices and skills to people is through the opening of digital centers in every country in which it operates. De Clerck notes that many of its employees volunteer at these centers to provide skills to vulnerable people which provides a lot of value to Orange employees.

At the start of the pandemic, about 3.7 billion people, or 45 percent of the global population, were unconnected in the world, ITU data shows. In the last couple of years, that figure dropped by another 800 million people. While that signals progress, 2.9 billion people, or a third of the world’s population, remain without access to the internet. Reasons for this include a lack of broadband coverage or other barriers such as a lack of awareness of the internet and its benefits, lack of perceived relevance and safety and security concerns.

Robert Opp, UNDP chief digital officer, said he and his team have started to think beyond matters of connectivity and infrastructure to look at the digital divide in a more holistic way.

“If we’re going to achieve the SDGs and get back on track to the SDGs—because they all took a hit as a result of COVID—we’re going to need to bridge the digital divide. It needs to be a holistic, multi-sectorial approach. It needs to be one that has people at the center,” Opp said.

During the course of just one year, UNDP assisted 82 countries to adopt over 580 digital solutions in response to the pandemic. Recently it released a new, three-pronged digital strategy that aims to help countries reap the benefits of digital technology.

As GSMA has observed, environmental, social and governance (ESG) is becoming a criterion at the heart of decision-making for investors, said Alix Jagueneau, GSMA head of external affairs and industry purpose.

“I don’t think the investor communities fully understand what’s critical to this industry, so there’s probably a lot of education and awareness-raising to be done . . . Metrics are only a means to an end, it’s not just for reporting purposes. The more we can start talking about that and engage in those discussions, the more it’s going to lead to a change,” said Jagueneau.

The World Economic Forum’s call for companies to disclose metrics beyond financial performance in its book Stakeholder Capitalism offers the mobile industry guidance on how to begin implementing its own measurement tools.  

Jagueneau added that GSMA has started to work with a group of operators with a focus on three areas: digital inclusion, e-waste to decarbonize the industry and digital human rights to ensure privacy, freedom of expression and child online safety.

What digital inclusion still lacks are standardized metrics. Opp said UNDP has started collecting best practices and examples of what is and isn’t working around how businesses can put SDG-related impact at the core of their strategy in ESG.

De Clerck echoed that sentiment, noting that the usage gap can’t be addressed by a single company. In the same way companies have used climate change as a north star metric, he calls on mobile operators to unify their work to create a standard metric for measuring digital inclusion.

In addition to engaging resources to quantify digital inclusion efforts, getting buy-in from the C-suite to make ESG a core business strategy will be critical for maximizing the social and economic impact of mobile connectivity, said Jagueneau.

MWC 2022: The Connectivity Challenges Of Building The Metaverse

Meta (formerly Facebook) has invested billions in connectivity worldwide over the last decade and recently announced that its subsea cable investments in Europe and APAC could potentially contribute to over half a trillion USD in additional gross domestic product by 2025.

Now the company is tackling the connectivity challenges in reimagining network infrastructure to support the metaverse, Meta vice president Dan Rabinovitsj said in a blog. Delivering virtual experiences in the metaverse will require innovations in fields like hybrid local and remote real-time rendering, video compression, edge computing, cross-layer visibility, spectrum advocacy, network optimizations, improved latency between devices and within radio access networks (RANs) and more.

Meta plans to build several prototypes of the metaverse to fully understand how to blend virtual content with people’s physical worlds. In the meantime, it’s looking for collaborators to help fully realize its metaverse vision. Rabinovitsj writes:

“Over the next decade, we hope the metaverse will reach a billion people around the world, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support millions of jobs for creators and developers. This opportunity calls for vast enhancements in capacity and fundamental shifts in how networks are architected and deployed, as well as industry-wide collaboration—from tech companies to mobile operators, service providers, policymakers, and more—to prepare for the metaverse.”

First up, Rabinovitsj explains how Meta has to reduce latency so that complex graphical scenes in the metaverse don’t take hours to download over current networks. To meet the tight latency constraints, the company sees remote rendering over edge cloud, or some form of hybrid between local and remote rendering, playing a greater role in the near future.

 “Enabling remote rendering will require both fixed and mobile networks to be rearchitected to create compute resources at a continuum of distances to end-users,” said Rabinovitsj.

Another challenge that lies ahead is providing consistent quality immersive experiences. A head-mounted display sitting close to the eyes will require retina-grade resolutions of much larger magnitude than a standard smartphone screen. To solve this issue, innovations across the hardware and software stack “as well as revolutionary improvements in network throughput,” will be needed, according to Rabinovitsj.

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona, Meta said it plans to collaborate with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and partners to define the performance requirements for delivering great end-user experiences in the metaverse.

Meta is working with Telefónica to create a Metaverse Innovation Hub in Madrid where local startups and developers can access a “groundbreaking 5G laboratory.” There they’ll be able to utilize a metaverse end-to-end testbed on Meta and Telefónica’s network infrastructure and equipment, plus benefit from Telefónica’s open innovation ecosystem and Meta’s engineering resources.

Also at MWC, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang unveiled what a day in the life of the company’s metaverse world Viveverse—which will utilize HTC’s Vive virtual reality (VR) headsets—would look like. Viveverse, she said, would be a safe and secure space where kids and adults alike could customize, collaborate and have fun doing things like work out at the gym and go to virtual concerts.

In addition, HTC Vive debuted Vive Guardian, a new privacy and safety feature that lets parents limit access to apps and purchases while in-headset.

NBC Today Show Teams With Ad Council For She Can STEM Super Bowl Spot

Among the celeb-filled and comically irreverent ads that aired on Super Bowl Sunday, one stood out for its important message to the next generation of scientists, computer programmers, biochemists, web developers and other STEM professionals.

NBC’s Today Show debuted a public service ad (PSA) featuring the show’s anchors to encourage girls, non-binary youth and trans youth to pursue their interests in STEM. Part of the She Can STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) campaign, the 30-second spot was created by Deloitte Digital together with Ad Council and If/Then.

It opens with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb in the Today Show studio saying bye to their virtual show guests – Karina Popovich, chief executive of Makers for Change; Mitu Khandaker, chief executive of Glow Up Games; and Tiffany Kelly, founder and chief executive of Curastory. All three women are STEM role models from the AAAS If/Then Ambassadors Program.

After a rueful Guthrie says, “I wish they had those cool kinds of careers when we were growing up,” we’re taken back in time to her classroom in the ‘70s where she and fellow anchors Kotb, Al Roker, Craig Melvin and Carson Daly are students. When the teacher asks what everyone wants to be when they grow up, young female classmates name careers you can pursue through STEM, with responses ranging from “I want to make immersive video games” to “I want to analyze data from the cloud.”

Like the spot’s closing message notes, STEM has come a long way. Still, women make up half of the total college-educated workforce in the US yet they only account for 27 percent of the STEM workforce. Research shows that many girls lose interest in STEM as early as middle school, a path that continues through high school and college and ultimately leads to an underrepresentation of women in STEM careers.

“If you’re watching television and you see role models who look like you doing groundbreaking work, you begin to believe, `If she can do it, then I can do it,” said Lyda Hill, founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies and the If/Then Initiative.

Since Ad Council launched She Can STEM in 2018, the campaign has aimed to dispel stereotypes that discourage girls from joining STEM careers and inspire them to explore and stay in STEM. By sharing stories of role models who have influenced technologies that impact our lives today and providing educational resources to kickstart their path in STEM, Ad Council helps girls see themselves in these industries and prepares them for their own STEM journeys.

NBCUniversal donated airtime for the spot to air twice on Super Bowl. Before and after game day, the Today Show featured the PSA in two segments, including a behind-the-scenes “making of” segment with the anchors, and a segment with Mitu Khandaker discussing her experience as a STEM role model and the importance of women in STEM. 

The spot will be distributed to NBCUniversal stations nationwide for future airings throughout 2022. NBCUniversal is also featuring content about the PSA and the importance of STEM for girls on

To learn more about She Can STEM, click here and follow @shecanstem.

2022 State Of Customer Data Platforms Report

The combination of the uncertainty of COVID-19, accelerated digital transformation and the impending end of third-party cookies has made customer data platforms (CDPs) an essential part of marketers’ technology portfolios. 

Research firms predict annual growth rates of more than 25 percent in the CDP market for the rest of the decade. Tealium’s third annual study “2022 State of the CDP Report: The Art of What’s Possible in the Age of Data” shares how marketers can remain competitive in the rapidly changing digital landscape using CDPs.

Technology Spending Continues To Rise

According to Tealium’s report, 87 percent of marketers expect to increase technology spending in 2022 while 40 percent plan substantial increases—up from 32 percent reported in 2021. 

Of the solution areas reported as the most important for marketers’ CDP to address, customer experience (41 percent) ranked highest, followed by loyalty and customer retention (38 percent) as well as growth and customer acquisition (33 percent). 

CDPs were critical in helping businesses achieve their highest objectives in 2021, including protecting customer data (cited by 57 percent), expediting customer acquisition (54 percent), creating more personalized customer interactions (53 percent) and offering a more unified experience across channels (51 percent).

Among the top five reasons why respondents invested in a CDP, protecting customer data privacy and/or complying with security regulations were listed first, followed by leveraging real-time data collection to be more responsive and improving capability across technology investments.

CDPs Yield Tangible ROI

As CDPs become more defined, so too are CDP use cases to see a return on investment. Because CDPs drive more timely and relevant interactions, business growth and organizational processes across internal departments have become more efficient.

Roughly 70 percent of marketers reported earning positive ROI within six months of investing in a CDP while 96 percent earned a full return within one year. Of the metrics marketers use to measure ROI, 37 percent cited data quality as the most important—especially true in the financial services industry—followed by customer experience (22 percent) and operational savings (22 percent).

Many External Factors Are Disrupting Business

Privacy regulations, third-party cookie loss and the COVID-19 pandemic are the three most-cited external factors that are rapidly producing change in the business landscape. Data-driven businesses are increasingly relying on CDPs as the fundamental change agent necessary to adapt. In fact, 91 percent of respondents told Tealium digital transformation is a primary driver of CDP adoption.

Regulatory changes around customer data (40 percent) are the external market factor expected to have the greatest business impact in 2022, followed by technology disruption/advancement (40 percent) and the lasting effects of COVID-19 (38 percent).

Retail respondents cited hurdles involving the management of customer identity and changes to privacy consent management regulations as considerations during CDP selection significantly more so than did other industries.

Ninety-two percent of respondents in retail cited pandemic-related disruption as one factor in their CDP choice, compared with 79 percent of respondents in all fields and 68 percent in the technology sector. Healthcare respondents cited the pandemic’s ripple effects as having a sizable influence on their sector in 2022.

Besides accelerating the shift to ecommerce, the pandemic also caused consumers to increase reliance on reviews and promotions and to demand greater value from retailers. Thirty-one percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Vericast consider themselves “price-conscious,” an increase from 23 percent in 2020.

Budgets Are Bouncing Back

After budget cuts were experienced during the first chapter of the pandemic, between 50 percent and 60 percent of marketers increased spending in eight of the nine critical technology categories in 20221. 

Digital marketing comprises 58 percent of the overall marketing budget and is expected to increase by 15 percent in 2022. Virtual engagements are the primary area in which marketers intend on investing in customer engagement this year. Five percent of respondents said budgets are a limiting factor in purchasing artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

Age Of Intelligence Is Dawning

Ninety-seven percent of executives report that AI capabilities were crucial to successfully carrying out marketing objectives in 2021. Consumers have grown to expect or rely on AI’s input in their customer experience, and IDC anticipates 90 percent of new enterprise applications will utilize AI by 2025.

Marketers across the board have enjoyed AI’s ability to enhance the customer experience, increase agility and improve productivity. Data-informed machine learning algorithms are delivering value in a number of ways. 

Voice recognition systems, for example, are now able to detect emotion in a customer’s tone and transfer them to the service representative best suited to handle their needs. Machine-generated content is now indistinguishable from that created by people. And predictive insights enabled by machine learning allow marketers to target prospects more accurately and suppress individuals less likely to become profitable.

Despite its many uses in retail, AI was ranked less important to marketing efforts there than it was in other sectors. 

Customer Trust Is King

Customers now demand increased privacy and respect for how their data is gathered, stored and utilized. At the same time, customers are seeking more from the use of their data by the business they interact with. Marketers have responded to this dichotomy by prioritizing customer data protection, citing privacy protection as the primary reason they invested in a CDP. 

About 75 percent of respondents to Tealium’s survey—and 84 percent of those in the retail landscape—reported privacy consent management as an important market factor that influenced the decision to choose a CDP. Respondents’ top criteria for selecting a CDP were customer service (cited by 61 percent) and compliance (57 percent).

For 57 percent of executives, heightened protection of customer data is the most desired and important outcome in 2022. Technology respondents indicated substantially less interest in customer privacy protection than retail respondents, healthcare and financial services. Only 38 percent of technology executives reported privacy as a priority in 2022. Similarly, tech respondents also showed the least interest in improving brand perception compared to other sectors studied, with only 13 percent citing it as a top business trend in 2022.

Hub Study Finds Voice Command Is Commonplace Among Consumers

Every year, voice control technology and usage continue to advance for media uses, home appliances and other applications. In its newest study “Voice Control 2021: The Future Speaks” Hub measures the impact of smart speakers and voice technology on entertainment.

The firm predicts that, despite the hurdles associated with advancing technology such as voice-controlled devices, including privacy concerns, consumers will become progressively more comfortable using voice commands and voice will become the primary method for controlling media within the next decade.

Hub conducted an online survey of 2,500 US consumers aged 16 to 74 in November and December 2021 and found that consumer experience with voice control is widespread. Eighty-three percent of respondents have used voice commands with at least one device with 91 percent of those under age 35 and 73 percent of those 55 or older reporting the same.

Of all devices on which voice commands have been used, smartphones (70 percent) are the most common, followed by smart speakers (45 percent), TV (32 percent), tablet (28 percent), computer (26 percent) and in-car (24 percent). Seventy-seven percent of respondents reported being overall satisfied with how responsive their smart speaker is to voice control.

Hub’s survey also sought to understand what the most important uses and capabilities of voice are. Thirty-two percent of respondents reported that Answering Queries like internet search, asking questions and navigation is the most important. Communication (18 percent) including text messages, emails and phone calls is the second-most important capability. 

“Voice command is here to stay, and very likely will end up being the main way we interact with our media choices,” said David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study. “But there are hurdles to overcome – some as simple as getting people to try it, and some as complex as assuaging consumer privacy fears. As we often see with new tech, consumer education is needed throughout the adoption cycle.”

Of those hurdles to increased usage, privacy is the highest concern. Fifty-three percent of respondents report privacy as a vital consideration when using voice-controlled devices—a decrease from 59 percent who reported the same in 2019. 

Other concerns include unauthorized listening (38 percent) and the type of data being collected (39 percent). The number of respondents concerned about these lesser issues dropped from 46 percent and 48 percent, respectively, since 2019. Even respondents who don’t own or use a smart speaker—and don’t intend on owning one—cite privacy as a primary concern (down from 66 percent in 2019).

At 33 percent, Amazon Echo is the most common smart speaker today, up from 26 percent in 2019. Despite the fact that it was not first-to-market with voice, Amazon had a first-mover advantage in smart speakers with its 2014 US debut of the Echo and built-in voice assistant Alexa. Since then, it has consistently released new features that make the Echo easier to use. It’s expected that by 2025, 130 million Echo speakers will be shipped globally ( According to Hub, trailing behind Amazon Echo are Google Nest (Home) at 14 percent and Apple HomePod at 5 percent.

As mentioned previously, media control is a primary use of voice command. Of the Amazon Echo owners who responded to Hub’s survey, 68 percent use it to search for media content, 61 percent to control media playback and 57 percent to control other media devices. 

Among Google Nest owners, 69 percent use it to search for media content, 67 percent to control media playback and 65 percent to control other media devices. And among Apple HomePod owners, 87 percent use it to search for media content, 90 percent to control media playback and 88 percent to control other media devices.

Apple’s HomePod is the most likely of the three devices to be used to consume or control media. Sixty-one percent of HomePod owners chose it due to its compatibility with other devices compared to 31 percent of Echo and 39 percent of Nest.

Eighty-eight percent of HomePods control other media devices compared to 57 percent of Echo and 65 percent of Nest. Sixty-eight percent of HomePods are used as radios versus 48 percent of Echos and 49 percent of Nests. Ninety-six percent of HomePods are used to control video or audio apps and services compared to 78 percent of Echos and 79 percent of Nests.

Respondents ranked voice control as the least important feature, among eight, for a new TV. Twenty percent of respondents reported using voice commands with TVs, TV remotes or TV-connected devices—most often to search for programs or movies and less often for device control such as volume adjustment or playback. Of those respondents who don’t use TV voice commands, 42 percent have a TV-voice-capable device.

Blockchain And The Future Of Marketing With Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman is a five-time, bestselling author and entrepreneur, and a corporate keynote speaker. He focuses a lot on customer service and the new and emerging customer economy.

In this episode, Peter and I discuss his way of thinking and his living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Later we transition to PR and then dive down the rabbit hole of Web 3.0, what it is, and what it means for the future of marketing.

Listen to hear more about the Web 3.0 revolution and the next evolution of web technology.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why you need to be useful and helpful
  • Understanding where blockchain fits in our future
  • The importance of creating with your audience in mind

Key Highlights

  • [02:22] Describing what Peter does
  • [03:40] ADHD as a superpower
  • [06:29] Peter’s advice for those suffering with ADHD
  • [07:44] Thoughts on PR as the only consistent marketing tactic
  • [10:58] What’s changed in PR?
  • [15:11] How blockchain applies to the future
  • [20:02] Creating with your audience in mind
  • [26:57] Listen to what people have to say
  • [29:34] Learning from electric cars
  • [31:04] “Hot or not” with Peter
  • [36:08] Peter’s advice for marketers
  • [38:55] An experience that defines Peter, makes him who he is today
  • [40:04] Peter’s advice for his younger self
  • [41:54] What marketers should learn more about
  • [42:35] The organizations and brands Peter follows
  • [43:15] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with the guest:

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Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

Nielsen ONE Hopes To Make Ad Measurement Easier With Debut At CES

While Nielsen is still closely associated with linear TV audience measurement, the company appears to have made some significant strides as of late to play catch-up in the digital measurement space.

Debuting at CES (which is also making its triumphant return this year in spite of panelists canceling due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant), Nielsen ONE Alpha is the first iteration of the Nielsen ONE platform that promises deduplication of data.

“All our hard work this past year has positioned us to take this significant step in fundamentally changing the game and providing the industry with what it wants, needs and deserves,” said Karthik Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Nielsen in the company’s press release.

Disney and MAGNA are some of the companies Nielsen is testing out Nielsen ONE Alpha with, which is slated to fully launch in December this year.

“There’s a critical need for the evolution of measurement to truly reflect audiences and engagement, and Disney is uniquely positioned to help define and develop that roadmap,” said Julie DeTraglia, Head of Research, Insights and Analytics, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution in the press release.

The cross-platform measurement system is said to allow for comparability and audience deduplication across screen devices (TV, computer and mobile) to “support the $100 billion video advertising ecosystem.”

Becoming A Transformation Agent With Onriva’s George Corbin

George Corbin is a Board Director at Edgewell Personal Care and is the COO of Onriva, a next-generation, AI-powered, travel marketplace.

In this episode, George and I talk about his career path, which includes consulting through the boom and bust of the internet, becoming Chief Digital Officer at Marriott, leading their digital transformation, and making his way to a position on Edgewell’s board.

Throughout our conversation, we discuss lessons learned through leading digital transformation, what that means for the marketing function, and marketers should think about leading a digital transformation. George says, “The best marketers are transformation agents,” and sometimes that means getting really good at being insightful with your customers and looking at the data. 

Listen in to hear more about digital transformations and the hot topics board members are currently discussing.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Getting digital transformation right
  • Making your company a growth engine 
  • Opportunities for marketers on a board

Key Highlights:

  • [02:00] George’s wrestling match with an octopus 
  • [04:10] George’s start in marketing
  • [10:34] Getting digital transformation right
  • [18:57] Becoming a board director
  • [21:48] Opportunities for marketers at the board level
  • [26:11] Shifting to a mind of governance 
  • [31:20] “Hot or not”—what boards are talking about
  • [38:55] George’s advice for CMOs
  • [45:26] An experience that defines George, makes him who he is today 
  • [48:33] George’s advice to his younger self 
  • [50:14] What marketers should be learning more about 
  • [52:07] The brands and organizations George follows
  • [55:42] The biggest threat or opportunity for marketers

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.