Smart speakers set to own the consumer ecosystem

Consumers prefer to buy gadgets that are compatible with the digital voice assistants they already have in their homes

Digital voice assistants such as Alexa from Amazon, Google Home and Apple Homepod are influencing the whole consumer technology and service ecosystem, according to Accenture.

A survey of 22,500 consumers across 21 countries found more than half of the standalone smart speaker, or digital voice assistant (DVA) owners report that since they got their device, they use their smartphone for fewer services.

“As standalone devices become more pervasive in homes, we’ll see even bigger shifts taking place – not the least of which is the range of tasks DVAs are expected to handle,” Accenture noted in its Reshape to relevance report.

The study found 45% of the consumers surveyed feel the ability to integrate with their current brand of smart speaker influences the purchase decision of models/brands of other devices – such as smartphones, wearables and connected TVs, “to a great extent”. An additional 45% said it influences their purchase decision “to some extent”.

According to Accenture’s study, consumers are already comfortable about handing over increasingly advanced tasks and responsibilities to their smart speaker devices. Accenture expects such devices will take on progressively complex workloads.

The study reported that consumers perceive real value in the possibility of voice assistants managing home security and automation, dealing with bills (including alerts about issues or deviations), making restaurant reservations and even providing access to virtual medical advice.

Accenture suggested companies that are able to build advanced AI capabilities in devices and interfaces could control the ecosystem of products and services offered to consumers in their home.

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Greg Roberts, a co-author of the report and managing director of Accenture’s North America High Tech industry practice, said: “Consumers expect their smart speakers to handle complex workloads and integrate with other products.

“Brands that offer advanced artificial intelligence capabilities will be well positioned for success. But to attract more customers, they will have to be transparent in how they store, use and share data. Establishing an agreed trust standard with consumers is essential.”

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