The smart speaker market size, according to the latest report from research firm Gartner, is expected to reach US$3.52 billion by 2021. Besides being adopted by average homeowners, the device will also get increasingly popular among enterprise users, the research firm said.
The market size of smart speakers powered by virtual personal assistant was just US$720 million in 2016. However, efforts by Amazon and Google to push their devices to more vendors and more use cases are expected to fuel the growth.
Nonetheless, Gartner predicted a temporary slowing of growth in 2018 because other connected devices at home, such as lighting systems, control hubs and Wi-Fi mesh devices are utilizing VPA functionality.
The report further points out that more artificial intelligence may be enabled on smart speakers, rather than on the cloud, at the beginning of 2019. By then, the devices will have less latency, privacy and security issues, and utilize bandwidth more efficiently.
In 2019, beginning with hospitality and remote healthcare industries, more enterprises will start to adopt smart speakers, the research firm predicted.
“In healthcare, remote diagnostics and elder care applications will be enabled by VPA speakers. The cost of hardware and services will, at least in part, be subsidized by healthcare ecosystem partners who are likely to gain substantial efficiencies, and encourage patient adoption,” said Ranjit Atwal, the research director at Gartner.
In 2020, the use case might expand to the retail sector, enabling voice-based shopping and payment.
Gartner says while some people may have doubts on buying an always-listening speaker at home because of privacy concerns, the device will only be woken via the trigger word. As for enterprises’ privacy concerns in adopting smart speakers, Gartner expects such concerns to be alleviated through educational effort, more adoption by peers and regulatory approval.
“Market psychology is a current obstacle. By that time, lingering concerns will be confined to a percentage of the market that is small enough to be insignificant,” says the report.