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Voice assistants boom home: now challenge between Amazon and Google, waiting for Apple

One million eight hundred thousand in 2016, three million in 2017 up to 15 million in 2020: these are the figures of the growth expected for home voice assistants by Strategy Analytics for a completely new class of devices, born on the Amazon Echo wave and of his Alexa, direct descendant of the voice assistants incorporated in smartphones such as Siri and Cortana.

If Amazon with its Echo, recently on sale in England and Germany at € 179.99 also in the economic version Echo Dot at € 59.99, was the first to arrive on the market with a solution that sees combined speaker, microphone and above all an assistant able to interpret our requests in combination with the world of digital services and home automation, the arrival of Google should greatly expand the market especially thanks to the management of a small ecosystem based on Chromecast and some features that we have described in the product presentation.

The price of Google Home, 129 dollars in the US halfway between Echo and Echo Dot and should attract new users while Amazon's move to sell 5 Echo dot packets for 250 US Dollars could encourage the installation of the devices in every room of the house.

Google home voice assistantsEven if the hardware with its technological innovations seems to be sold at a very low price and one could doubt that it generates profit directly, we must not forget that it is an additional tool for companies like Google and Amazon to sell products and services: from streaming music , to tangible goods such as the purchase of daily groceries through Prime or Google Express or to the viewing of rental films up to the final targeting of the user who is studied in any of his requests, perhaps in respect of privacy and with aggregated data, but certainly with the possibility to find correlations in behavior at a level that is difficult to find even in interaction with a smartphone.

With a system of voice commands inside the house and with devices combined with the individual rooms, the geolocation of the user and the correlation with his requests, his habits, his schedules can reach levels that simple GPS and positioning with routers did not allow .

Joe Branca, Senior Analyst of Strategy Analytics says that although Amazon has been the first in this field and has sold millions of units, this does not guarantee success in the coming years: the quality of these solutions depends on the ability to recognize a single user and to provide him with a personalized answer, useful in many applications for the Smart Home and one of the advantages of Google Home could be the ability to manage synchronized multistance audio and to control cast-compatible devices that could attract Google device owners.

environmentally friendly voice assistants

The keystone for the success of Google Home could therefore be Chromecast, in fact the only hardware device produced directly by Google which has seen a great numerical success: it is estimated that 30 million Chromecast devices and several other third parties are implementing protocol compatibility.

In this scenario, Apple remains currently in the background: although the Homekit platform can take advantage of the combination between Siri and home automation devices, it is not possible to exploit some bridge services such as IFTTT and the multi-room capacity of AirPlay is not exploited at the interface and interaction through the geographically limited Apple TV remote control. In recent days there has been talk of a project similar to Echo in preparation for Cupertino but already a development and expansion and internationalization of the characteristics of the current Apple TV could make the difference.

In any case, the greatest stimulus for the development of these technologies is the main mission of the companies that present them on the market. If Apple is a company strongly focused on hardware, Google and Amazon are more oriented towards the sale of services and customer targeting. Tools such as voice assistants for the home, which define user needs in detail by becoming direct interpreters of communication with the network, are a primary means of acquiring customers and intermediaries.