As Intelligent Speakers Get Smarter, The Phone Might Be The Next To Go

Future models will offer more multi-use functions
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Intelligent home speaker shipments reached 5.9 million units globally in 2016, according to research by Strategy Analytics, and will grow tenfold by 2022, driven by improved accuracy in speech recognition, new compelling use cases and multi-language support.

Indeed, the value of the intelligent home speaker market is expected to exceed $1.5 billion in 2017, the constancy projected, with 7 percent of North American homes owning at least one by the end of the year. By 2022, penetration should rise to 33 percent for a marketplace value of $5.5 billion.

Driving the category is Amazon’s Echo line of devices, which currently dominates the market. But competition is set to intensify this year as Google Home enters its first full year of sales and other Wi-Fi speaker manufacturers begin to build microphones and access to the major virtual assistant platforms into their own products.

“Intelligent home speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are a causing a wave of excitement amongst consumers” said David Watkins, director, connected home devices at Strategy Analytics. “The promise of conversational, hands-free interaction with the Internet is a very compelling one; although the current crop of intelligent speakers has their obvious limitations, future iterations will solve many of the early frustrations and deliver a range of new use cases such as voice calling, travel planning and remote learning and healthcare services. Furthermore we expect advancements in voice biometrics and voice authentication will help ease privacy concerns and make the devices more adaptable to multi-user environments. ”

In spite of the strong growth forecast, Strategy Analytics cautioned that adoption of intelligent home speakers across different markets will be dependent upon the integration of localized services with the relevant voice platform as well as near-human levels of accuracy in terms of speech recognition and contextual understanding. Cost, however, is expected to be less of a barrier to entry.

Bill Ablondi, director of Strategy Analytics’ smart-home strategies program said: “The low cost of intelligent speakers such as Amazon’s $50 Dot is leading to impulse purchasing from consumers that will help drive adoption of the technology well beyond the tech-savvy gadget lover. However, new compelling use cases must emerge to ensure that these devices do not end up collecting dust after an initial period of experimentation.”

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