2017 represented a boom year for the smart speaker category with household adoption reaching 15 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. This is just the beginning of a period of rapid growth for the category, as Parks Associates, Dallas, estimates household penetration of smart speakers to reach 50 percent to 55 percent by 2021.
In the blossoming voice-first technology market, key consumer value propositions include ease of use for entertainment content discovery and consumption, as well as simplification of competing protocols in the smart home. As voice technology improves and adoption increases, it will become more integral to consumers’ daily lives.
As voice assistants proliferate, the experience will become more fragmented. Consumers may interact with one assistant on their phone, another in their kitchen, and a third in their car. Differing user experiences with differing assistant platforms has the potential to cause voice fatigue, which may hinder the development of the market, according to the research company.
The company that solves assistant coexistence is positioned to tear down the silos and help unify the user experience. In the short-term, expect data ownership competition between the tech giants to impede the effort, Parks Associates stated. Alternatively, voluntary standardization of voice assistants would accelerate interoperability and provide a cohesive environment in which requests can be routed to the best assistant suited for the task. The end result would be more value for the consumer, the company believes.