Voice Control Increasingly Woos Smart Home Ecosystem Owners in US

Voice control has hitched a ride on the growing popularity of smart home devices in the American home, as users combine the two into a flawless experience with new technology. Thanks to all the tech improvements, owners can use virtual assistants such as Alexa or Siri to send voice commands to their cars, home systems, and smart home devices such as speakers, thermostats, smart TVs and even vacuum cleaners.

To simplify daily activity and enhance the experience, most users have integrated smart home devices into an ecosystem, and voice control has greatly contributed to smart home adoption. In fact, 35% of smart home owners in the US have integrated their smart devices into an ecosystem and use either an app or a hub to control them, according to a report from market research and consulting company Parks Associates. Some 5% of broadband households control their machines through voice-enabled speakers, while 3% prefer a home security system and 2% go for an independent solution.

“The majority of smart home owners still operate their products as stand-alone devices, but the rise of voice control, paired with the growth in number of connected devices in the home, has helped push more households toward centralized control,” said Dina Abdelrazik, Research Analyst, Parks Associates. “US broadband households now have more than 10 connected devices on average, and the growing number in consumers’ lives intensifies the complexity in the smart home. Voice has emerged as a key interface to alleviate this complexity.”

About two years ago, Forrester predicted smart speakers would lead the adoption of smart devices, and grow 10-fold by 2022. Most smart home owners are interested in getting weather and traffic information from personal assistants, playing music or controlling the thermostat. Nothing fancy, but when users have more than one smart device, a single hub is more efficient than a separate smartphone app for each device. 62% of respondents already use Amazon Alexa to control their smart home environment. In the coming months, homeowners want to increase the number of voice-controlled smart devices in their home.

The more smart devices in their home, the higher the risk of security incidents. Companies in the technology market are competing to develop more innovative technology and launch smart speakers or consumer products that can be operated through smart speakers. This is the root of many security issues. It’s not just the overall bad user experience, but the machine’s inability to properly integrate and communicate with other devices in the smart home, among others.

“A smartphone app may be sufficient for houses with just one device, but when people get their fourth or fifth product, using individual apps for each device creates friction for the end user. A hub or centralized unit of control becomes more and more appealing,” said Abdelrazik. “Competing protocols and fragmentation continue to inhibit smart home adoption, but end users who have already adopted smart home solutions see voice as a convenient means of controlling their growing network of products.”

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