I’m fascinated by the rise of smart speakers, which are quickly becoming the must-have new gadget.
I have a Google Home on my kitchen counter and I’m always asking it to do things: “Okay, Google. Play me some jazz/read the news/did the Leafs win last night/tell me the weather/set a timer for 10 minutes”–etc. etc. I like the thing so much that I bought two Googe Home Minis, one for the home office and another for the bedroom.
Overkill? Maybe. My wife–definitely not a gadget girl–certainly thinks so. But maybe not.
A new market study by Juniper Research says that by 2022, 55% of American households–70 million of them–will have smart speakers. And get this: each household will have an average of 2.5 devices. This prediction covers Google Home, Amazon Echos, Apple’s HomePods, SONOS and whatever Facebook might be working on.
And voice assistants–Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and so on–are exploding. Those services are now on 450 million devices in just the US. Within five years, the worldwide number of voice-assisted gadgets–phones, tablets, computers, smart speakers, TVs–will go up to five billion.
Another prediction: This technology could end up being popular with an aging population. Being able to verbally ask for something rather than have to physically move sounds pretty attractive. (I may get my parents a Google Home this Christmas. You know, just as an experiment.)
In other words, if you’re not yet talking to your gadgets, you will be soon.