Voice-activated wireless speakers have taken the home control marketplace by storm. Fourth quarter sales of smart speakers could reach nearly 12 million units worldwide, says a report by Strategy Analytics. This brings the full-year sales total to 24 million units. Obviously, the ability to use a smart speaker to play songs, report the weather forecast, and operate lights, thermostats and other gear has struck a chord with many families. But is voice simply a novelty? Will its shiny appeal dull after a few months? After the neighbor ohhs and ahhs over how cool it is to queue a curated playlist will you still talk to your digital assistant?
Possibly. Or maybe you’ll dig up that remote and let your fingers do the work. Just like every item you buy for your home, there are those that make a big difference in your life and there are those that you wish you would have never brought home. It’s difficult to say what will resonate with your family and what wont until you live with the technology for a while, but based on what we’ve learned about voice control over the past few months, we can point to a few domestic scenarios and lifestyles that could clearly benefit from being able to gather information and command systems in the home via voice.
- Families with Small Children. Kids may be a lot more tech savvy than we ever were at their age, but sticky fingers have persisted through multiple generations. If you cringe every time your kid picks up the remote or touches a door handle, voice control could eradicate the goop that gets into the cracks of a keypad. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the kids mindlessly pecking away at buttons as many do when they’re bored. The wear and tear could send you home systems into a tailspin, but with voice, there’s no way to physically break a piece of smart home hardware.
- Families with Mobility Issues. Maybe you have an elderly parent who lives with you. Maybe you sprained your ankle and are on crutches. Whatever might be keeping you from moving freely around your home, voice control can make up for. You can tell Alexa, Google, or Siri to unlock the door for a guest, turn on the hallway lights, and shut the garage door without ever getting up from the couch,
- Families that are On the Go. This probably applies to many families … strapped with a countless obligations, it’s easy to forget to turn things off and lock things up as you race out the door for your next practice, meeting, whatever. With a voice-enabled smart speakers and connected devices, you can prep the house for your departure in seconds—completely hands-free.
- Families that Entertain. Hosting parties has never been easier and more fun when you can control the home environment right there in the middle of the action by just barking out a command or two. Music? Bam. Dim the lights? You got it. Too warm? Tell the thermostat to set back and keep on dancing.
- Families Craving More Organization. Tomorrow’s weather forecast, the best deals on pizza, what’s playing at the theater, how many more days until Christmas? A digital assistant can keep you in the know and on track.