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Technology

Voice activated home devices are the future

Using just the sound of your voice, you can now control your lights, heating, hear the latest sports scores, order pizza or listen to your favourite music.

Voice-activated devices are expected to play a big role in the connected home of the future. The technology is still in its early stages, but although there are relatively few players on the market, those that are, such as Amazon, are seeing sales boom.

In the 2016 end-of-year holiday period, Amazon Echo sales increase by more than nine times compared to last year, while Google Home has just decided to venture into the market, launching a device late last year.

Research by VoiceLabs found there were 6.5 million voice-activated devices shipped in 2016 – and it predicts that by the end of 2017 there will be 24.5 million shipped.

Says the report, it is “a large and growing market and both Google Home and Amazon Echo will be huge business successes. Google and Amazon are going to battle for hands-free TV and home automation, and to become the operating system of the living room.”

In 2017, VoiceLabs has also predicted it will be a winner-take-entire-household market, which will put pressure on hardware providers to distribute devices quickly. According to the report, home-automation remains at the forefront as a core-use case for voice activated devices.

VoiceLabs expects that in 2017 there will be further innovation in new smart home use cases and believes there is an untapped opportunity for major brands to engage with the voice-first consumer as applications are still only in their early phases.

In 2017, the research predicts, Amazon and Google will have added competition in the form of companies such as Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, and that two of the three will ship compelling voice-first devices.