Voice-enabled smart home devices will exceed 120m shipments by 2021

By Laurie Fullerton | Freelance Writer

August 15, 2016 | 2 min read

Can you say "empty the dishwasher" and see it done automatically? Not quite, but a recent report states that user interface within the smart home is the latest trend with 120m voice-enabled devices set to be shipped annually by 2021 — with voice control, speech recognition and natural language processing set to change the home environment. While Siri and Google Now have become well-established smartphone features, the smart home voice control systems are just now reaching their full potential according to a recent report by ABI research. Smart TV's, smart refrigerators, smart plugs and more will extend the reach and simplicity of managing the smart phone home environment.

Voice activation in the home
voice activation in the home

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.

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"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."

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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