Endel AI-powered Soundscapes for Your Drive: Interview between Oleg Stavitsky, CEO, Max Zaytsev, Voice CPO for Endel and Arianne Walker, Chief Evangelist for Alexa Auto

Arianne Walker Oct 05, 2021

Walker: As CEO of Endel, could you tell us a bit about the technology?

Stavitsky: Endel is a tool that helps people focus, and relax through the power of sound. Our patented technology constantly evaluates a person’s current state and immediate environment – heart rate, weather, time of the day, natural light level, etc. – and takes all of that information into account to generate perfectly fitting soundscapes on the spot, live, and on the go. Our technology is based on scientific research of the effects of sound on the human body and mind. We merge science with art, and it makes all the difference. Over the years we’ve seen crazy amounts of positive feedback from people, including war vets with PTSD, frontline workers, and moms of teens with ADHD, saying that Endel is the only thing that helps them concentrate or relax.

Walker: That sounds like amazing technology. Can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to create an Alexa skill?

Stavitsky: Endel has the ability to help people in a meaningful way in every aspect of their life; in all sorts of situations. We want our soundscapes to be conveniently available for people, and choosing Alexa as one of our channels was a no-brainer. Endel on Alexa is an incredibly convenient way to modify the environment of your room or your car using just one short phrase.

Walker: As voice chief product officer of Endel, can you tell us a little more about the use case specifically in automotive?

Zaytsev: We see great potential for even deeper personalization of our sound in the car, too, and what we’ve achieved with Alexa in the vehicle is the next level of adaptivity. With our automotive use case, we help drivers stay focused while driving or relax in a stressful driving situation, such as being stuck in traffic, by creating a personalized adaptive in-car sound environment that adjusts to immediate external inputs. Endel is able to assess the driving state of the user based on the geolocation, speed, and weather to deliver the perfect soundscape for their ride without requiring the driver to navigate through options. This brings us a step closer to our main goal: building the technology that helps people dynamically achieve and maintain the mental state they want to be in.

Walker: That sounds really useful. Can you share more details for the options in the vehicle?

Zaytsev: Here’s how it works right now: users who invoke Endel on a steady highway trip will automatically activate the Focus soundscape, which is scientifically proven to increase the user’s concentration consistently, promoting the state of flow. Users enjoying a more mellow ride or those experiencing heavier traffic will get the Relax soundscape upon invoking Endel through Alexa, which lowers stress levels, helping to promote feelings of comfort and safety. We like to say that there is a bit of magic there; try it out and see for yourself.

Walker: How did you take your experience from the in-home skill to design the automotive experience?

Zaytsev: From our user interviews and broader community work we know that users love an Endel experience that chats as little as possible, providing access to the soundscapes through a swift interaction. We’ve implemented this finding all across all of our Alexa experiences, with this automotive use case approaching the pinnacle of this method. Users just need to say “Alexa, start Endel” while driving to get a personalized soundscape, perfectly fit for their current driving situation.

Walker: Why do you think Alexa customers will love to use this skill in their cars?

Stavitsky: Everyone knows how hard it can be to maintain focus on long drives, as well as staying mentally sane in situations of dense traffic. This is precisely what our Focus and Relax soundscapes are for. Endel will effectively help Alexa customers with beautiful science-backed soundscapes generated on-the-go by our patented AI processor. Also, it sounds great and can be used to accompany you on any ride, lifting your mood or soothing your anxieties in the background.

Walker: What about driver safety?

Zaytsev: Since the soundscape is chosen as a function of the driver’s road situation, it uses up as little of the driver’s cognitive load as possible, helping create a truly unique customer experience.

Stavitsky: As for the function of the soundscapes — one of the reasons why sound is such a great medium for Endel is that it is a rather soft, unobtrusive way to modify human state of mind in a meaningful way. Through sound we are able to efficiently improve focus and promote relaxation without any major health risks nor blunting effects on the nervous system.

Walker: What are the customer benefits for using this skill?

Zaytsev: In a nutshell, Endel through Alexa automatically chooses the right soundscape for the driver's current road situation, providing instant access to an improved driving experience. It’s a great tool for anyone who spends long hours driving, or is driving in stressful traffic conditions, helping to decrease fatigue and reduce road rage. As for the efficiency of our soundscapes, it has recently been officially validated by scientific research. In a study by Arctop, the Focus soundscape showed faster, more consistent focus than playlists on streaming platforms. It provides 6.3x increase in focus over 95% of listening time.

Walker: How do customers access Endel in the vehicle?

Zaytsev: The Endel skill is available now on all Alexa-enabled auto devices and smart speakers in the US, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia, Germany, Spain, and the UK. You can get more information about the skill, check out a video demonstration of the skill, or just ask Alexa to start Endel.

Walker: What’s next for Endel in automotive?

Zaytsev: We will add new soundscapes and dynamic soundscape switching for an even more nuanced soundscape generation and special OEM collaborations are still to be announced. Stay tuned.

Walker: Thank you so much for your time.


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