Tag: Alexa

13
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Snap Taps Facebook, Google Alum Alexa Levine as U.S. Head of Entertainment Sales

Snap, parent company of Snapchat, has hired Alexa Levine as U.S. head of entertainment.

Levine comes to Snap from Facebook, where she worked for three years oversaw the company’s film, TV, streaming and live event ad clients as industry manager for entertainment. Prior to joining Facebook in 2017, she had a variety of roles at Google — including, most recently, senior account executive, media and entertainment — as well as Microsoft and ad agency Omnicom.

At Snap, Levine is responsible for leading the company’s entertainment sales team and working with U.S. entertainment clients advertising on the platform. Based in Los Angeles. Levine reports to Clayton Peters, U.S. head of verticals, who oversees Snap’s enterprise verticals.

Levine holds a bachelor’s degree in business and hotel management from Cornell University and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Snap continues to bulk up its originals slate for Snapchat. Earlier this month, it premiered “Coach Kev” starring Kevin Hart and announced three docuseries coming to the platform in 2021 following Loren Gray, Trippie Redd and Swae Lee. On the ad front, Snap announced that it is rolling out First Commercial, a takeover offering that guarantees advertisers that Snapchat users see their non-skippable 6-second ad before any other spots on the app on a given day, to be widely available in the U.S. and U.K. this month.

As of the end of June 2020, Snapchat reported 238 million daily active users, up 17% year-over-year. The company claims Snapchat reaches over 100 million people in the U.S. alone, including over 90% of 13-24 year-olds and over 75% of 13-34 year-olds.

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03
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Every new Alexa feature announced at Amazon’s fall hardware event: Hunches, Guard Plus and more

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Amazon

Amazon’s annual hardware event has come and gone, with a slew of product announcements, from a brand new Echo speaker and Echo Show display, to a cloud-based gaming platform. But the star of Amazon’s smart home is, as always, Alexa. Amazon’s voice assistant continues to expand its reach, connecting with over 140,000 smart home devices, and boasting more than 100 million Alexa-compatible devices installed across its user base. But Alexa’s power isn’t just in its rapidly growing scale and ever-expanding reach.

When I spoke to Daniel Rausch, Amazon’s vice president of smart home and Alexa mobile, before the hardware event, he said Alexa is becoming more independent too. Alexa will soon be able to act on Hunches without asking, to listen for and react to sounds other than a wake word, and to protect your home more actively with an upgrade to Alexa Guard.


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All this will lead to what Rausch called “the ambient home,” in which Alexa is “ready to respond [to voice commands], but is more predictive and proactive.”

Here are the biggest upgrades coming to Alexa.

Alexa Guard Plus

Amazon has rolled out and expanded Alexa Guard over the past couple of years to allow you to monitor your home while you’re away. While it’s activated, Guard will listen for glass breaking, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and footsteps and other signs of a break-in, and will send you a mobile alert.

The company is now offering something called Alexa Guard Plus, a subscription service that runs $4.99 per month, and it adds a few features on top