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  • Writer's pictureJohn Ennis

Eye on AI - October 30th, 2020

Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!


This week’s “Eye on AI” looks in-depth at Pioneer's new car AV receivers with in-built Alexa, then pivots to discuss the five biggest mistakes companies make with chatbots.


Looking In-Depth at Pioneer’s New Alexa Car Receivers

We begin with a look at the new Alexa-infused Pioneer car speakers, which were described in-depth this week in India Today’s article “Pioneer's car AV receivers with in-built Alexa: Everything you need to know.” The new AV receivers offer Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa in a single device, giving users access to three distinct ecosystems.

“Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are software features that happen when you connect your smartphone to the in-car unit via a physical cable or wirelessly,” writes India Today contributor Pratik Rakshit. “Having Alexa in a car stereo, on the other hand, is a new development and gives you another smart system option, and doesn’t require a device.”

Pioneer’s new receiver is built for the multi-tasker. It comes with high-res audio playback, a wide-ranging equalizer, bluetooth and customizable sound to all speaker outputs. Users can make calls or texts, get directions, ask for statistics, etc. with a simple “Hey, Alexa” command, making phone fumbling obsolete––just add internet following installation and you’re set! (Unlimited data recommended.)

Display options include in-dash units, which typically run for $600, a modular design for $900, which allows you to install the control panel anywhere in your vehicle, or the flagship ‘floating’ display, with customizable display angles and orientation for $1000 - $1,200, depending on screen size. This marks another big partnership for Amazon, and marks the latest move by big tech companies to increase company-to-consumer communications outside the home.

5 Biggest Mistakes Companies Make with Chatbots

To finish up, let’s switch gears a bit (car pun – get it?) by looking at a Forbes article that came out this week by one of my favorite AI experts, Bernard Marr. The article, appropriately titled “The 5 Biggest Mistakes Companies Make With Chatbots,” outlines… well… the five biggest mistakes companies make with chatbots.

“Today, businesses big and small are using chatbots to interact with their customers, drive sales, solve user problems, and more,” writes Marr. “In fact, chatbots are being used in a wide range of business functions – customer service, sales, marketing, tech support, HR – across a surprisingly diverse range of industries. But, impressive as the technology can be, there are some pitfalls and challenges to be aware of.”

The ‘pitfalls’ Marr goes on to outline include not using chatbots in a strategic way, using chatbots when you should have used a human, underestimating the potential for brand engagement, not communicating as your audience would, and not improving the service over time.

While chatbots have been around for a while, they quickly became a hot-ticket item for companies looking to better interact with their customers during the pandemic, and for good reason: Philippines-based company Globe Telecom, which Marr details in his article, eased call center volume using Facebook Messenger chatbot to the tune of a 50 percent decrease, all while increasing customer satisfaction by 22 percent and allowing employees to improve production by 3.5X. The issue is that many companies not as familiar with AI don’t understand the potential of chat-bots.

“Chatbots offer so much more than just helping people solve a particular problem or complete a certain task,” continues Marr. “Because they’re conducting a real conversation with the user, chatbots provide a genuine sense of interacting with a company or brand – in a much more meaningful way than, say, accessing information on a web page or completing an order online.”

Sure, your company could develop a chatbot to do tasks like, say, answer FAQs. But is that their best use? Not at all. That’s because chatbots can actually engage with customers on a human-like level. Take National Geographic, for example. While developing a new show called Genius, their marketing team was looking for unique engagement methods to increase the show’s exposure. One of those methods was a brilliant Einstein-inspired chatbot that replied to customer interactions like Einstein would. Interactions averaged an incredible 6–8 minutes, resulted in 50 percent user re-engagement, and helped spread word about the new Genius program in a fun, unique way. Similarly, companies can train their chatbots to engage with customers using their distinct brand voice––think a more grizzled tone for outdoors companies, a playful child for a kid’s company, etc. Implementing chatbots with a distinct brand voice in mind not only increases engagement, but helps build brand loyalty.

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