Smart Speakers are for More Than Just Music

Smart Speakers are for More Than Just Music


As smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home gain popularity, users are discovering more and more use cases for the technology in their homes. Besides the obvious music listening, what else are smart speaker owners using the technology for? The answer may (not) surprise you.

NPR and Edison Research conducted a study called The Smart Audio Report, which was based on a national online survey of 1,620 American adults. Out of the 800 respondents who said that they owned at least one smart speaker, 709 had an Alexa-enabled device, 160 owned a Google Home, and 69 owned both. No surprises, Amazon is dominating the smart speaker market.

52% of smart speaker owners responded that they keep their primary smart speaker in the living room, with the kitchen being the next highest placement for the smart speaker at 24%. This indicates that the living room is still being used as the main entertainment space, even as technology changes over time. Therefore, CE manufacturers should still view the living room as the epicenter for home entertainment systems. In terms of whole-home entertainment systems such as wireless speakers, the living room serves as great placement for a central hub that can control wireless speakers positioned throughout the house.

If you don’t have a smart speaker yet, you may be asking yourself, what’s the draw? What’s the main reason for even wanting a smart speaker in the first place? According to the report, respondents did not list listening to music as their number one reason for wanting a smart speaker, but rather, the top reason was to have the ability to ask questions or look up information without needing to type it into a phone or computer. This is pretty big news in favor of expanding voice control technology across various entertainment and service devices. Currently, we live in a tactile, app-based technological age: the modern smartphone was designed for viewing, touching, and engaging with a multitude of apps. But that may shift considerably within the next few years. Even though voice AI and voice control are still in their infancy, this study proves that many people want the ability to interact with their devices through their voice.

To the delight of Amazon, surely, 57% of respondents indicated that they have ordered an item through their smart speaker. Considering that retail is the driving force behind smart home innovations like Amazon’s Echo smart speakers powered by their voice AI, Alexa, we consider this a huge win for Amazon.

Overall, the study found that all types of smart speaker users (ranging from “heavy,” “medium,” and “light”), use their voice activated smart speakers regularly to play music, find out the weather, ask general questions, and set timers or alarms. As popularity for smart speakers increase, functionality will as well, and the smart speaker will likely become the central hub for the smart home of the future.

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