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Smart Speaker Owners Aren't Yet Widely Using Them to Control Connected Home Devices

IHS Markit conducted a new survey in March and April 2018, asking 937 smart speaker owners various questions about the usage of their devices, spreading across the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, and Brazil. According to the findings that have been shared today, just six percent of smart speaker owners used their speakers to command smart home devices like lights, switches, and thermostats.

The speakers and assistants included in the survey were HomePod/Siri, Google Home/Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Bixby, and Amazon Echo/Alexa. The most popular category for smart speaker control for all speakers was asking about the weather and news, followed in descending order by: basic questions, music controls/discovery, sending a message and making a phone call, video controls/discovery, making a purchase, controlling smart home devices, and lastly a "none of these" category.


Despite the low usage rates for users interacting with smart home products through their speakers, IHS principal analyst Blake Kozak believes this will change in the near future.
“Controlling smart home devices by voice currently represents only a small fraction of total smart-speaker interactions,” said Blake Kozak, principal analyst, smart home, IHS Markit. “However, this category will continue to trend upward as more video-streaming devices come to rely on voice control, as security alarm systems adopt voice control to arm and disarm, and as more builders embed smart devices throughout new homes.”
Kozak believes that one area of potential smart home growth will come from insurance companies, who will "play a role" in educating customers about connected devices that could help them in their homes. These include products for water leak detection, flow detectors, and shutoff valves. In total, Kozak predicts more than one million home policies in North America will include at least one connected home device by the end of the year, and 450,000 smart speakers will be connected to insurance companies by that time as well.

In terms of smart assistant usage, Amazon Alexa was the most widely used voice assistant with 40 percent of respondents owning an Alexa device, and 23 percent owning a Google Home device. Siri came in third place, with the most inquiries for Apple's assistant also pertaining to the weather, news, and asking Siri a question.


For HomePod, Apple yesterday launched the smart speaker in Canada, France, and Germany via the Apple online store, Apple Store app, and in its retail locations in each country. HomePod allows users to command Siri to activate or deactivate their personal HomeKit products in the Home app, and represents Apple's first entry in the smart speaker market.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)


Top Rated Comments

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14 weeks ago
It is the only way I use my Hue Lights. Odd survey.
Rating: 11 Votes
14 weeks ago
Home automation products have been available since the 1980s. The latest wrinkle involving web-connected "hubs" adds another layer of complexity, this is progress? Average people are consumers of technology, they don't write programs and they really don't care to program a HA system. Geeks love this HA stuff and wealthy people hire geeks to do the programming -- there's your market in a nutshell -- geeks and the wealthy.
Rating: 9 Votes
14 weeks ago
You either like home automation stuff or you dont. Some friends will come over and think its really cool. Some others scoff at the idea and think its the dumbest thing theyve ever heard. I like tech, I think its cool that I can tell Siri goodnight and she turns off all the lights and turns on the bedroom fan. Once I own I house I can also have her set a certain temperature and lock the doors all with that one command. Its neat, but not necessary. Its not surprising to me that it isnt widely used.

I think the biggest issue is people dont know how to use them and set them up. I set up an echo and a couple of smart plugs for my parents under cabinet lighting. They wouldve never been able to get it set up on their own, but now that they have it they really like the simplicity.
Rating: 8 Votes
14 weeks ago
Talking to gadgets is still really strange to me.
Rating: 6 Votes
14 weeks ago

I'd love to use my Echo Plus to control my smart switches, if only it would connect to them or not forget them for no reason. That'd be ideal

The garden variety light switch has zero latency and 99.9999% command reliability. Compare that to any of the myriad HA protocols and devices where latency is often measured in seconds and 95% is considered acceptable command reliability.
Rating: 6 Votes
14 weeks ago
Most likely because not many have home automation products.
Rating: 6 Votes
14 weeks ago
I think we'd see more adoption if we had one obvious and clear standard.

Devices would be sold with the standard front and center in a consumer friendly way. A wide range of compatibility is key to making people feel comfortable investing in these products willy nilly. Think telephones...you have 2.4GHz Cordless Phones all in the same isle. It is clear that they all do the same thing basically in the same way. This whole "I can't stream to a HomePod and Google Home Mini and a Bluetooth speaker at the same time" stuff really is absolute madness for the consumer. Sure you can say it is technically complicated to make that work...but it's also political and based on marketing decisions. The consumer doesn't care how technically complicated it is. They see speakers. They see that they don't work together at the same time like hardwired speakers they've used do. Period. As a consumer right now, you have to pick a primary path and go in to secondary paths without the expectation of them mixing together in all the ways you'd like.

With that said, I don't blame people for the slow adoption... With so many options out there with their own hub and different standards...who desires to buy something with fear that the integration they want might not be supported by their phone or home assistant after five to seven years?
Rating: 5 Votes
14 weeks ago
No surprise. They're really not that useful.
Rating: 4 Votes
14 weeks ago

It is the only way I use my Hue Lights. Odd survey.


I'm with you, in the minority, I use it everyday with my Hue lights.
Rating: 3 Votes
14 weeks ago
I see people either go big or not really use them at all. There doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground. For example, my parents have an Echo and use it essentially for questions or music. I have 5 Echo's and use them for multi-room music, smart home products (nest, hue lights, harmony hub, smart switches, fireTV), shopping list, reminders, timers, etc.
Rating: 3 Votes

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