The Year of the Smart Speaker and More on CHOM 97.7 FM

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Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio out of Montreal (home base). It’s not a long segment – about 10 minutes every week – about everything that is happening in the world of technology and digital media. The good folks at CHOM 97.7 FM are posting these segments weekly on i Heart Radio, if you’re interested in hearing more of me blathering away about what’s going on in the digital world. I’m really excited about this opportunity, because this is the radio station that I grew up listening to, and it really is a fun treat to be invited to the Mornings Rock with Terry DiMonte morning show. The segment is called, CTRL ALT Delete with Mitch Joel.

This week we discussed:

  • The big hit over the holiday season was (no surprise) smart speakers. These interactive voice devices are taking over. Smart speakers grew by 78% in 2018. Nearly one in ten people got a smart speaker over the holidays. There’s close to 120 million of them in circulation in the US, according to my friends at Edison Research and NPR. For comparison: smartphone shipments shrunk 6% globally in the third quarter of 2018. Amazon and Google hold about 85% of the market. What this means? 21% of the US population now own a smart speaker. In Canada, we’re at close to 6 million smart speaker users, which is over 18% of Internet users. Welcome to the mass market.
  • Do you love this idea or hate it? A dad in the UK was so fed up with his kid’s lack of communication and response time, that he decided to develop an app called ReplyASAP. The app allows users to send an urgent message that cannot be ignored without the sender knowing it. When the recipient receives a message from the sender, an alarm goes off which can be shut off by choosing one of the options – either snooze or cancel it. The recipient cannot close the app without choosing one of the buttons. It then sends the response back to the sender, who is informed of the button that was pushed. It’s only on Google Play for now (and has been downloaded close to 100,000 times). 
  • App of the Week: allows you to remove backgrounds from almost every image (for free).