While Siri and Google Now are well-established smartphone features, it is in the smart home that voice control systems will live out their full potential. Smart TVs, smart refrigerators, smart plugs, and more will extend the reach and simplicity of managing the smart home environment using voice. With ABI Research forecasting more than 120 million voice-enabled devices to ship annually by 2021, voice control, which combines speech recognition and natural language processing, is quickly becoming the key user interface within the smart home.
“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,” says Jonathan Collins, Research Director at ABI Research. “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.”
New microphone-enhanced products will extend the ability to hear voice commands throughout a smart home environment. These will include cameras, doorbells, smart lighting and others. A number of vendors, such as Google with its learning thermostat Nest, are already expanding their products to support listening capabilities.
But tying multiple listening and voice controlled devices together into a coherent smart home system will require a shared voice platform. So far devoid of any standardization, each of the primary home voice platform providers—Apple, Amazon, and Google—all 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,” concludes Collins. “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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