Better Speak Up: Voice Control Enhancing Smart Home Management

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ABI Research forecasts that voice control is set to take on an increasing role in managing smart home applications in the next five years, with it quickly becoming the key user interface in the smart home.ABI forecasts that more than 120 million voice-enabled devices will ship annually by 2021.

“Led by the success of Amazon’s Alexa platform, smart home voice control is creating new competition and demands for wireless speaker and other vendors to include voice capabilities in their devices,” Jonathan Collins, ABI research director, commented.

“But the scaling of voice control applications in the smart home breeds complexity. Vendors will need to evaluate how and when to bring voice control into smart home devices in order to best tackle adding the service into wider smart home systems.”

ABI states that new microphone-enhanced products will extend the ability to hear voice commands, including cameras, doorbells and smart lighting, with a number of vendors, including Google with its Nest learning thermostat, already expanding their products to support listening capabilities.

Tying various devices together into a coherent smart home system, however, will require a shared voice platform.

ABI notes that, thus far, devoid of any standardisation, primary home voice platform providers Apple, Amazon and Google “have their own approaches and ways of leveraging their voice capabilities to extend and support their core businesses”.

“As more devices support voice control, new voice platforms will increasingly aim to support device and device and service providers,” Collins stated.

“In the past few months, for example, Viv Labs emerged as a company focused solely on extending its voice platform to as many services and devices as possible – without tying it to a sub-strategy of boosting the appeal of a separate core business.”

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