Although hubs and smartphones have traditionally been the lynchpins of the smart home, voice control via smart speakers will soon eclipse these methods, according to a study by IHS Markit.
“Smart speakers will ultimately be the primary disruptor for smart home deployments, and the means by which consumers interact with all other devices,” said Blake Kozak, principal analyst of smart home at IHS Markit.
A survey by IHS Markit between March and April of 937 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Brazil found that only six percent of consumers use their smart speakers to control other connected devices in their homes.
The predominant uses of smart speakers revolve around asking questions, checking the weather, listening to news and playing music.
“Despite the low use of smart speakers with other connected devices, it is only a matter of time before more connected devices permeate homes and voice assistants become the primary means of interaction,” Kozak said.
Using smart speakers to control connected devices will continue to trend upward, as more video-streaming devices come to rely on voice control, as security alarm systems adopt voice control to arm and disarm, and as more builders embed smart devices throughout new homes, Kozak pointed out.
To increase the number of consumers using smart speakers to control connected devices in the home, voice assistants will need to follow a path similar to the one taken by the Amazon Echo Plus, which can also serve as a Zigbee hub to control low-power wireless switches, plugs and other devices, Kozak noted.
Insurance Firms Focus on Water Leak
Globally, there were more than 900 smart home device makers offering about 4,100 connected devices at the start of 2018, according to IHS Markit.
Insurance companies will also play a role in educating consumers about connected devices. Currently the insurance industry mostly focuses on water leak detection, and IHS Markit estimates that by the end of 2018, more than one million home policies across North America will include at least one connected home device – most likely water-leak sensors, flow detectors or shutoff valves.
Moreover, there will be about 450,000 smart speakers connected to insurance companies by end of this year.
IHS Markit conducted the survey in March and April of 2018, asking respondents how they used smart speakers. The survey was fielded in the US, UK, Japan, Germany and Brazil and included 937 smart speaker owners.
Prices of Connected Devices to Drop by Half
Prices of connected appliances will fall 52% between 2018 and 2023, to US$280 globally on average. This will lead to an 80% spike in shipment of connected devices per year during the forecast period, Jupiter Research predicts.
A new study from Juniper Research found that the adoption of voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant will be a key factor behind smart home growth, with 275 million voice assistant devices used to control smart homes by 2023. This is up from an estimated 25 million in 2018.