A digital assistant (virtual assistant) is an application program which can complete electronic tasks for the user by understanding the natural language. Earlier, such tasks included reading text, taking dictation, reading email or text messages aloud, placing calls and reminding the user about the appointments. The advanced digital assistants are programmed with machine learning, voice recognition technology and artificial intelligence. The artificial intelligence (AI) programming uses sophisticated algorithms to recognize the input data and improvise in predicting the end-user’s needs when the user interacts with the digital assistant. Technological advancements in smart home digital assistant industry will be more advanced with cognitive computing technologies enabling digital assistant to understand and perform complex tasks.
The expansion of AI enabled services from various companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Samsung Electronics is expected to support the industry growth over the forecast timeline. The digital assistants with voice as a user-interface (UI) are increasingly penetrating in smart homes via integration with connected set top boxes, smart speakers, streaming media devices and smart TVs. The consumer electronics manufacturers are increasingly adopting voice assistants to differentiate their products, attract customers to their platforms by providing a smarter experience.
Many home appliance manufacturers have already started to integrate Google Assistants and Amazon Alexa within their connected appliances. Currently these appliances are likely to be assistant-enabled and are expected to be embedded with AI-based technology for numerous range of appliances such as smart wall ovens, smart fridges, smart coffee machines and robotic vacuum cleaners.
Voice control is quite crucial in smart home environment as almost all electronic devices can be controlled through voice commands, effectively reducing the continuous management need of various mobile applications. The virtual assistant software acts as a brain for each device by typically combining recognition and application programming interfaces (APIs). These smart home virtual assistant features always-on microphones which are voice-controlled.
The voice-controlled smart home virtual assistant speakers listens to every sound within their hearing range. After hearing its wake word, the speaker awakes into action and sends recording of the command to its cloud servers. The command is translated into the action in the server and sent back with necessary action. The processing is entirely dependent on the network connection and can be instantaneous or may take few seconds for response.
Balancing user privacy concerns, capturing user data to ensure compelling experience is the major key challenge for digital assistant providers. The cost implications of adding AI-enabled services, ensuring sufficient developer support and service integrations are the potential growth opportunities for smart home digital assistant market.
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana are some of the industry participants in smart home digital assistant market. The rivalry between the technology giants is intensifying as more companies combine their voice assistant software with speaker-style hands-free hardware. Amazon has significantly tapped the market share by launching its Echo speaker and Alexa assistant in the niche market. However, the company is expected to face significant technological and cost pressures from its competitors such as Google, Samsung, Apple and other big industry competitors.