Voice Controls Vie for Control of Smart Homes

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Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of smart home owners already use voice commands, with 61 percent of those consumers expressing an interest in using voice to control more products in their homes, according to Connected Intelligence’s “Connected Home Automation Report.”

The research also found that nearly two thirds (64 percent) of smart home product owners used smartphones to control or monitor their home automation devices.

“This reliance on smartphones to control and monitor the smart home is due, in part, to app compatibility, as nearly all home automation devices have an iPhone or Android app,” said John Buffone, executive director and an industry analyst at Connected Intelligence, part of the NPD Group, in a statement. “As apps and devices become more intuitive, voice recognition, and thus, voice control, will begin to play a more prominent role in the further development of the smart home.”

The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service also recorded that home automation sales are up 41 percent in the past year.

In addition to wanting compatibility, consumers also desire convenience, evidenced by the increased usage of voice commands in the smart home market, according to the research. NPD expects the number of voice-controlled systems to increase, as the majority of smart home product owners have indicated a desire to better integrate speech recognition technology throughout their homes.

Meanwhile, research firm Technavio also sees potential in voice-controlled apps, with the greatest market potential in the areas of mobile banking, connected car apps, and virtual assistants in mobile devices.

Technavio expects the global voice-controlled market to grow at nearly an 8 percent compounded annual growth rate through 2020.

One of the key drivers for this growth will be the rising demand for voice authentication in the financial services sector, according to Sunil Kumar Singh, a Technavio lead industry analyst for computing devices research.

“The need for a stronger verification process is resulting in the growing integration of voice authentication in mobile banking,” he said in a statement. “In regions such as North America and Western Europe, a large number of banking customers use mobile banking facilities. Most of the financial institutions in these regions are adopting voice-based authentication solutions for devices such as smartphones to accept or reject mobile transactions by a user.”

On the automotive front, Technavio has observed that many automobile manufacturers are now forging partnerships with smart app providers. For example, a partnership between Ford and Apple enables drivers to use Siri to navigate a host of services using a strategically placed button inside the car. Additionally, IFTTT, a free service, is also finding its way into cars; the service enables drivers to manage other connected devices (such as remotely placed home appliances) through the Internet. Another vendor in this market, Autonet Mobile, offers various connected car apps such as Speed Tracker, Parental Controls, Remote Commands, Valet Mode, Car Health Reports, CarKey, Find My Car, and Curfews Management.

Many more of these types of apps will emerge during the next four years, Technavio expects. 

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