Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomePod are already providing voice assistance in many well to do households. Some reports have mentioned that it will reach more than half (55%) of US homes by 2022. Amazon sold over 11 million Echo devices in 2016.
Day is not very far when they become part of everyone’s daily lives.
Typing on Mobile/Desktop to find or query will become passe instead we would just ask for it…. literally ask. “OK Google, How is Weather today” or “Hey Alexa, Wake me at 5 am”, or “Hey Google, play Despacito” will soon change to much more advanced and sophisticated questions.
1. “When is my next installment due on my Home loan, how much principal have I paid till now”
2. “When is my next credit card payment due”,
3. “How much fuel is left in my tank, will I be able to reach my office tomorrow”
4. “How much Sales did I achieved in South Africa, will I be able to achieve my quarter target”,
5. “What is the forecast of X product next month”,
6. “What is my daughter doing yesterday”,
7. “Which stock to invest today”
For first 2 questions, it will connect to the banking systems in order to fetch the required details. For third question, it will connect (IoT) to user Car and check fuel left in the tank, simultaneously calculating mileage of the car and distance to office, to give the estimate. For fourth and fifth question (applicable to business) it will check MIS and probably apply Analytics to give some future growth prospects etc. For sixth question, probably it will check Social media accounts like Facebook/Instagram to check about particular person whereabouts. For seventh, it will check the investment and risk profile, study the market, analyse the performance of stocks and give advice, probably some dose of Artificial intelligence
Their growing proliferation across the globe and so many companies entering the market are some serious signs of the possibilities which smart speaker has to offer. Improving network connectivity, increasing demand for wireless devices and growing IoT proliferation are few other reasons which will propel the demand. Amazon’s Echo was the very first smart speaker which was introduced in the market and it still dominates the field. Google only recently forayed with the Home smart speaker, and it now rivals Alexa. Apple has come with their own AI smart speaker — HomePod. Reason for the popularity of Amazon’s Alexa is because it has many more skills, integrated products and compatible apps and services than the Google Home. Google and Amazon have been putting their respective assistants on more devices. Google recently brought its Assistant to Samsung owned Harman International — JBL Link speakers and has further plans to bring to upcoming Anker and Panasonic speakers and LG washing machines while Amazon has already linked up with Ultimate Ears’ line of Bluetooth speakers as well.
Though there are naysayers who question about privacy and secrecy of these innocuous devices, as these smart speakers constantly listen to human voice, waiting for their masters to say something. Isn’t this applies to most of the digital and social world, Google knows where we go, Whats-app knows what we discuss and Facebook knows what we like. Whatever said the technologies will grow and continue to evolve. Anyway to keep the conversations secure, companies encrypts the voice data and have also provided facility for user to delete the history of previous questions on their devices.
We are not far from the world where most things would be controlled by Robots (those with hands and legs), hence smart speakers should be the next big thing which brings us closer to that.