It wasn’t so long ago that the concept of a “smart home” was still considered Jetsonian. But with today’s visionary digital tech, a new generation of thermostats, lighting, home security, video doorbells and smart locks have altered daily life. And yet perhaps the most innovative new product is the stalwart smart speaker. According to a newly released White Paper from global research organization Voicebot, smart speakers are, in fact, now helping fuel the overall smart home revolution.
“As Amazon and Google escalated their competition for smart speaker dominance, the smart home became a new battlefront,” the Smart Home Consumer Adoption Report says. “Amazon signed up thousands of smart home product makers to connect tens of thousands of products with Alexa. Google followed suit.” (Apple, the report adds, “was soon left far behind.”)
When Amazon then acquired Ring in 2018 and Eero in 2019, “no longer was ‘smart home’ just another consumer electronics product category. It was suddenly a strategic battlefront in the tech titan wars for consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets.”
This has helped drive faster innovation, aggressive price discounting and higher consumer awareness of the product category, according to Voicebot, which specializes in the rise of voice
and AI technologies, and based its conclusions on a survey in October 2020 completed by 1,189 U.S. adults.
Voicebot notes that the adoption patterns of smart home devices and smart speakers are distinct but complementary. “Smart home devices predate smart speakers, but it is clear the category received a boost from the introduction of voice interactive capabilities into the home.” It was 2017 when many in the tech world lamented that “smart home adoption was only 16.3% despite many years of hype.” Today, however, Gartner predicts that some 50% of U.S. households will have a smart home device by 2021—which Voicebot believes will become reality. The latter found in its survey that 48.5% of U.S. adults have a smart home device other than a smart speaker, while more than 55% of U.S. adults have either a smart speaker or at least one smart home device.”
“Users quickly embraced smart speakers as an added convenience for daily interaction,” says Voicebot in its study. The result is that smart speaker owners are now driving “a new round of smart home device adoption as mainstream consumers take advantage of more voice assistant functionality.” Now, about 80% of smart speaker owners say they have at least one smart home device, according to the survey.
The result: “Smart home helped smart speakers get established… and then smart speakers became a catalyst for more smart home device sales.”