Enabling Voice In The Smart Home For Radio


In the smart home, voice will serve as a prime differentiator in the user experience. A new Parks Associates white paper presents market strategies for long term success in the voice technology market.

Among the key topics: New opportunities for voice in connected products. This is information all radio industry C-Suiters need now.

Voice control and voice-based technologies have experienced massive growth in the past five years within the consumer market.

At the beginning of 2017, 49% of U.S. broadband households were using a personal assistant through an application or dedicated device.

Due to its accelerated growth and consumer interest, the voice-first landscape is rapidly changing and influencing the adoption of voice-enabled products.

Market leaders such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and now Samsung continue to announce new product enhancements and expanded roadmaps.

Collectively, companies are competing to stay in the race for dominance in the voice-first market. They are regularly announcing new integrations and partnerships to create innovative voice-based use cases, as stakeholders vie to leverage the current market’s momentum to enable a robust user experience.

Creating A Voice-First Experience

The first step companies face in enabling a voice-first experience is to decide whether to partner with a current market offering or to build a proprietary voice solution. Developing a proprietary voice-enabled solution requires a significant amount of resources.

A number of companies are embedding voice control technology into their devices. There are a variety of product and service categories with distinct core functionalities that benefit from this. These categories cover smartphones, smart home devices, and remote controls and extend to a variety of verticals such as entertainment with smart TVs and gaming consoles, health, and connected cars.

The ability to check in on the smart home environment to understand its status and events through a simple Q&A or to control devices hands-free has the potential to further smart home adoption by simplifying the user experience. As consumers embrace and implement voice-based solutions in the home, there will be a need for ubiquitous access to these solutions throughout the home. To enable this, device features such as two-way audio, power efficiency, and portability will rise in importance.

Smart Speakers with personal assistants have crossover functionality.

“Through the convergence of functions across device categories such as streaming music and remote control of other devices, smart speakers with personal assistants have revolutionized the hardware industry,” Parks notes.

With a projected rise in popularity of these devices comes a new opportunity for radio broadcasting companies to attract listeners throughout the home.

These always-on, Internet-connected speakers with microphones are voice-first devices, and harbor an interface where the primary input and output are voice, and the intelligent personal assistant is embedded within the device or in the cloud.

According to Parks, this is the smart home landscape as of today:

  • 26% of U.S. broadband households own a smart home device.
  • One-third of U.S. broadband households are familiar with smart home devices.

Then, there’s this growth:

Meanwhile, Parks finds that more than one-third of U.S. broadband households find it very appealing to use voice to control smart home devices (37%) or entertainment devices (34%).

Multi-Use Tool, With Audio Entertainment Options

Parks’ research finds that 55% of U.S. broadband households find it “appealing” to use voice control to understand the status of connected devices or to control their connected devices.

Household tasks are high on the list of “please do” tasks. But, “streaming media” is poised for growth.

“The opportunities for voice integration in connected products are abundant,” Parks says. “A growing number of consumer electronics vendors are providing voice services to differentiate and increase the value propositions in their hardware offerings. While consumers are rapidly adopting voice-first devices, the evolution of voice technology will move beyond hardware-centric experiences to ambient sensors throughout the home.”

The White Paper was authored by Dina Abdelrazik, a research analyst at Parks Associates