Smart Speakers – On the Rise

Technology changes – anyone with a pulse knows that. We’ve reached the point in time where you do not have to be able to type in order to use a tech gadget. Smart speaker technology has advanced enough to be used – more frequently – on the regular. Assistant devices scored high on a survey for Facebook and other companies that currently do not provide them.

Amazon Echo and Google Home devices are some of the first on the market. A survey conducted by Invoca of 1000 people in the US showed they are used more frequently after they are set up… increasing usage with 89% wrapping them into their daily routines.

Typing and swiping have been replaced 58%, according to survey respondents, clearly indicating that substitution usage is on the rise. A mere 73% of respondents confirmed making purchases via voice assistance. It will not surprise most to know that Amazon reels in 70%-75% of smart speaker markets in the US.

The biggest shocker? Invoca indicated some interest in ads by the devices. It can be equated to the early years of Facebook – no ads. All you would see was what your friends posted. Now, more than 20% of what is shown on an active Facebook feed are unsolicited ads. Well, advertising is sure to be coming for Alexa and Google Home devices.

The most frequently used tasks on these types of devices center around the obvious: travel, banking and healthcare. The following are the top three smart speaker reported categories:

  • Travel – check flights/hotels and prices.
  • Banking – pay bills, track purchases and check balances.
  • Healthcare – contact a physician, inquire about diet/health tips and ask about symptoms.

Smart speakers did come without some complaints and criticisms. Most revolve around the actual speech recognition. Length of requests and complexity of phrases made it difficult for the tools to comprehend the users and be able to execute demands/questions.

Approximately 90% of users said when speech recognition failed, they returned to search. An overwhelming majority – at 76% – said they would like for the device to connect them with a human as back-up when not understood.

Once the halls have been decked and the mirror ball dropped, there could be an estimated 50-60 million smart speakers in use in US homes. People no longer have to clap their hands to turn out the lights… they can simply ask their smart speaker to do it for them.

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