Voice control drives smart home device adoption

Interest in products like smart speakers, lights and security systems is going high thanks to voice commands.

July 14, 2017

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Interest in products like smart speakers, lights and security systems is going high thanks to voice commands.

Source: eMarketer

One of the unexpected success stories in connected devices over the last two years has been voice-activated speakers. Though Amazon's first Alexa-enabled device, the Fire Phone, was a flop, the Echo speaker launched a few months later became Amazon's most innovative product since the Kindle e-reader. This spawned several copycats, including models from competitors Google and Apple that now appear to be having a big impact on smart home adoption.

A paper from eMarketer shows more consumers are now aware of smart home devices. About 12 percent of consumers said in a survey that they are already using smart home products and 33 percent are very likely to use them in the future.

The biggest incentive for adopting smart home technology right now is convenience and security. Products like thermostats and smart lighting offer the potential to save consumers money by adjusting and turning on and off automatically. Smart security systems can alert consumers to problems at home while they are away. The consulting firm Ovum predicts that these devices, along with smart door locks and sensors, will drive adoption up from 224 million units in 2016 to 1.4 billion units by 2021.

Though smart devices offer convenience in some ways today, there is still friction in using them for some consumers. That's why voice control is turning out to be such a positive influence on the market. Parthiv Patel, technical marketing manager at Built.io, told eMarketer, "Nobody wants to walk into their house and have to open up five apps just to turn the lights and some music on. The value of [voice-controlled] devices is being able to connect multiple devices into one cohesive integration."

This has proven to be Amazon's biggest advantage. Alexa has better support for smart home devices than other home assistants.

Voice activation is certainly not the only factor affecting smart home adoption. Many consumers are also waiting for prices to come down before they buy the technology. Prices are dropping quickly for smart security devices, though. It's easy for find smart IP cameras for under $100 now. All kinds of inexpensive connected light bulbs that use Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee have emerged too. Now that people are starting to talk to their homes, smart security devices are looking even more convenient.

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