Kantar, Pulse Pact To Explore The ‘What’ And ‘Why’ Of AI, Smart Speakers


Data, insights, and consulting company Kantar is partnering with Pulse Labs, which provides measurement, analytics, and testing tools for marketing and product teams, to generate new understanding into consumer usage of voice assistants.

This partnership will combine Kantar’s research and analytics capabilities with Pulse Labs’ voice behavioral data to enable greater insight into both the “what” and “why” of consumer smart speaker usage and smart home evolution.

The initiative looks to improve conversational AI functionality, such as enhancing the utility of voice skills and apps, while making it possible for brands to see where they should play on the new platforms.

The combined solution will integrate Kantar’s research into user consumption and media habits across platforms, plus Kantar’s ad expenditure and effectiveness data, with Pulse Labs’ voice behavioral, voice app effectiveness, platform adoption, and trial data. Pulse Labs maintains a continuous opt-in panel of voice activated assistant users from which it gathers usage data and helps ensure advancement of speech recognition technology.

The goal is to provide platforms, hardware makers, and brands with a granular view into how consumers are using voice so that product development can better align with consumer needs, while helping brands understand how to better engage with users of smart speakers.

“Conversational AI is already being adopted by people on their phones and in their homes, and this is changing how consumers interact with companies and their products,” says Nick Nyhan, Chief Digital Officer at Kantar. “Our partnership with Pulse Labs will enable us to answer important timely questions on not just what consumers are doing on the platforms, but also why or why not.”

Pulse Labs co-founder and CEO Abhishek Suthan added, “For OEMs and brands alike, there is a great desire to not just improve the functionality of conversational AI – such as through better speech recognition, but to enhance technology in a way that best serves the needs of consumers and how they want to use these platforms. Kantar’s expertise in the motivation behind the behavior our panel reports, will enable insights into usage that can ensure voice-activated assistants continue to evolve into the tool that consumers want.”

The Kantar and Pulse Labs initiative comes as smart speaker adoption is growing rapidly, up 78% between 2017 and 2019, with adoption expected to double over the next four years.  Ad spend on smart speakers is forecast to reach $483 Million by 2021.