i3 | June 29, 2018

Smart Speakers Propel Connected Homes

Bobby Baulmer

Surging in popularity, smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home enable families to shop from their couches and play their favorite music in every room of their homes without lifting a finger. While a homeowner may have had an internet-enabled thermostat or a wireless security camera, the user experience was far from cohesive. With the ascension of smart speakers and their voice recognition capabilities and interoperability with connected devices, consumers now have a simple and affordable way to create a smart home.

Following tremendous growth of 279 percent in 2017, CTA forecasts that more than 43 million smart speakers will ship in 2018, accounting for roughly $3.8 billion in wholesale revenue. CTA’s latest consumer tracker study indicates that nearly one in four (24 percent) U.S. households owns a smart speaker. By the end of 2019, a majority of U.S. households will own a smart speaker, marking one of the fastest adoption rates for a consumer technology product. This translates into record interest for products ranging from door locks to dishwashers, and double digit growth for most smart home products in 2018.

CTA forecasts the connected home market will grow by more than 40 percent this year, reaching nearly $4.5 billion in wholesale revenue. At CES 2018, much of the smart home category focused on security and safety products. Leading shipment growth for smart security includes increases for smart doorbells (75 percent), smart door locks (60 percent) and smart light switches/dimmers (55 percent). Other connected home security devices will also experience strong growth, including IP/Wi-Fi cameras (36 percent) and home security systems (15 percent).

Connecting Appliances

Meal preparation has never been easier, as CES exhibitors including Haier (GE Appliances), LG, Samsung and Whirlpool offer products that can be controlled via smart speakers. This includes functionality such as the ability to preheat the oven when your hands are full or starting the dishwasher from another room.

Robotic vacuum cleaners can now also be controlled by smart speakers. CES exhibitors including Ecovacs (Deebot), iRobot (Roomba), LG, and Samsung have new robotic vacuums that can be summoned with a simple voice command to clean up spills. Such capabilities will support continued consumer adoption with unit shipments for home robots forecast to increase by 18 percent this year.

For some consumers, the initial purchase of a smart speaker was led by the intrigue for controlling a favorite playlist by voice or ordering a gift without a laptop but now consumers are unlocking the full capabilities of their devices. Whether completing daily chores with smart appliances or monitoring family safety with smart cameras, devices are leading the way for creating truly connected homes.

May/June 2018 i3 Cover Issue

Subscribe to i3 Magazine

i3, the flagship magazine from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, focuses on innovation in technology, policy and business as well as the entrepreneurs, industry leaders and startups that grow the consumer technology industry. Subscriptions to i3 are available free to qualified participants in the consumer electronics industry.