Voice bots are on the rise! If you haven’t heard them talking, you will. The battle between Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices (Echo, Dot, Tap, FireTV, Show, etc.) and Google Home devices are in full swing and about to reach the tipping point this year. The market is growing rapidly with over 52% of US adults using voice search on smart phones in 2017 and 20% using smart speakers in their homes. Twenty percent of households have either an Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speakers and projections show 45-58 million units being sold in the next 12 months. We can expect to see the majority of homes with a smart speaker by 2019. Apple is the latest to enter the market for voice bots and according to Loup Ventures is projected to sell 7-10M units in the next 12-24 months. So, what are people doing with these devices?
There are tens of thousands of Alexa skills or apps on the Google platform, and I want to highlight a few that are useful. Not only can you call up your favorite type of music, but you can also call up your favorite radio station if the station is voice enabled. There are hundreds of Cumulus radio stations enabled on smart speakers via the One Voice AI applications platform. One example of this is in Washington DC as you can call up one MIX 107.3 one of the local radio stations.
Georgia Tech skills are available on the Amazon echo dots that can be installed in a dorm. Once Georgia Tech skills are set-up on Alexa, you can “Ask Buzz” your dining hall balance for meal plans or overall BuzzCard balances. You can also predict bus time arrivals for the Georgia Tech buses.
Seniors can find useful skills to make the internet available to them by enabling the Ourvoice.net skills. The skills are able to support seniors with vision, neurological or accessibility issues. Alexa can read a book to them, do their shopping and even alert family members in case of an emergency.
One other cool feature of Alexa is you can have Alexa donate to a charity by saying “Alexa donate $XX to ABC charity”. See a list of currently supported charities via voice donations.
So, should you invest to enable your home with smart speaker capabilities? Even though Amazon has the market share lead today, Google is gaining ground quickly and according to Loup Ventures is projected to surpass Amazon in market share by 2022.
I believe Google will be in the winner! Alexa skills need to be configured or enabled versus just asking Google Assistant a question. Google is more accurate at answering questions with an 81% correct response, and Apple at just 52% correct and Amazon somewhere in between. The chances of repeating a question with Google are far less. Also, the Google algorithm is better at maintaining context of a conversation. For these technical reasons, I give Google the edge over its competitors. Whichever platform you end up choosing, I am certain you will enjoy talking to the device instead of typing to request information or assistance on the internet and most likely, the response will be faster.