New data from Juniper Research finds that the number of voice assistants used to access smart home devices will reach 555 million by 2024; that’s up from 105 million in 2019. By 2024, the research group expects more than 90% of voice assistants to be used to control smart home devices driven by increased participation from Chinese manufacturers.
Juniper found that voice assistants are an increasingly crucial element in the smart home, providing interoperability platforms that enable seamless control of the whole smart home. The research found that Amazon leads the way, thanks to advanced hub features included in the Echo Plus, heavy investment from its Alexa Fund, and Alexa Skills access; enabling a vast third-party app ecosystem. Recent high-profile acquisitions such as Blink, Ring and eero will further bolster its ability to innovate across the smart home.
Juniper says Google will capitalize on its acquisition of Nest, adding Assistant in a new range of devices such as the Google Nest Hub Max; transforming its proposition in the smart home market. The research group believes that Google’s investment in AI will enable it to add more intelligent and autonomous functions; providing a compelling differentiator. It should bolster this with heavy investment in partnerships to further build out its ecosystem.
Chinese manufacturers are increasingly developing more advanced voice assistants, such as iFlytek, Baidu and Huawei. While current penetration of voice assistants is low in China, Juniper Research anticipates low cost smart speakers will drive usage of assistants in China in the smart home to over 100 million in 2024, from just four million in 2019.
Juniper says Chinese influence will be limited to the domestic market, however, given security concerns around Huawei in the U.S. The sensitive role of voice assistants means they will become the centerpiece of concerns if launched in Western markets, limiting their overall potential.