We’ve reached a point with in-home assistants where their presence in our houses and offices is ubiquitous. One of our recent TVE blogs even looked at the role Alexa is starting to play in the homes of pensioners.

Those who have been using an Amazon Echo, a Google Home or an Apple Homepod for some time now may be starting to find that conversation is running dry.

After the initial excitement of making Alexa beatbox or asking Cortana to tell you a joke, what skills and commands actually have the longevity to stand the test of time?

Unsurprisingly, smart speakers are primarily used for playing music from streaming services or the radio. Thinking about TVE’s very own office Alexa, her sole purpose is really to provide some soothing tunes for us to work to.

Accessing the news headlines and the weather forecast are also popular voice activated requests, along with setting timers and getting travel updates.

Realistically, these are actions that are easy to undertake without a voice assistant. Heck, we’re already doing these things all the time out of the home and away from our smart companions.

In a world where you can access music or current affairs instantly on your phone, are these features really enough to keep consumers buying into future iterations of voice activated devices, once the novelty has worn off?

This isn’t to say that the outlook for Alexa and friends must be bleak. Here are a few strategies smart assistant brands could employ to ensure a bright and prosperous future:

  1. Maximise the connected home: if homes continue to have more and more smart devices – from lightbulbs to thermostats – the in-home assistant is perfectly positioned to be the friendly and accessible tool for managing multiple devices.
  2. Carve a bigger role in health: maintain relevance by helping consumers navigate this hugely important area of their lives, from prescription ordering to mindfulness tools.
  3. Replace the PA: become a true assistant, with a focus on supporting business needs such as scheduling meetings and ordering office supplies.

These are all services that the current companions can provide, but none are yet owning and talking about these features.

When the novelty wears off, will these home assistants have made themselves irreplaceable, or will we all start reverting back to using our fingers, not our voices?

 

Categories: Tech & Emerging

BY ENGINEER Heather Young

heather.young@thevalueengineers.com