We take a look at 4 reasons why smart speakers are set to dominate, and become a thriving global trend. (Reading time 3:10 mins)

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Do you own a Google Home or an Amazon Alexa already? If you don’t, a lot of expert and market predictions say you will soon.

The technology behind smart speakers is advancing rapidly. They can already control smart home functions from turning on the lights, launching your favourite streaming show on TV, checking your bank account balance and even ordering pizzas in some countries.

What has been depicted in science fiction films for decades is finally coming true. You can chat with a talking computer – that is increasingly life-like – to assist with your daily tasks and to help you learn. We’re not quite at that level of sophistication yet, but we might not be far away.

Here are 4 reasons why we think smart speakers will dominate over the next decade.


1. Smartphones are becoming too addictive

There is an increasing recognition that smartphones are becoming too addictive. There are some potentially serious mental health issues that arise from the overuse of smartphones across all ages.

Most people can probably relate to this: a smartphone full of apps and notifications that can sometimes be more distracting than useful.

People are searching for an alternative that can still help them with their everyday lives, but in a more natural way. Smart speakers are ideal for this. When you’re talking with your AI assistant on the smart speaker, you’re concentrating on having a natural conversation rather than swiping through mountains of data while checking all your notifications as you would on your smartphone.

Early research by Accenture shows 66% of smart speaker users are now using their smart phones less.


2. Rapid and growing uptake

Sometimes new technology can be a bit of a fad. We believe smart speakers certainly don’t fit into that category.

According to Canalys, 17.1 million smart speakers were shipped worldwide in the first 9 months of 2017. A further 16.1 million shipped in the last quarter of the year driven by Christmas sales. The numbers are expected to continue increasing, with a report by Juniper Research estimating 55% of US households will have a smart speaker in their home by 2022. If these predictions become true, in the next few years there will be hundreds of millions of smart speakers being used around the world.


3. Tech giants are pushing hard

Tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Apple have all started pushing hard to get as many of their smart speakers into people’s homes as possible.

Except for Apple, the smart speakers themselves probably don’t make much money for the tech giants since they are sold at quite a low cost. For example, both Amazon and Google have smart speaker products starting from $79.

We believe the tech giants are most interested in the future revenue and data. The revenue could come in the form of advertisements or fees to help with certain tasks. The data generated from people’s usage of smart speakers might be equally valuable.

It will provide insights into how potentially hundreds of millions of people naturally converse. This type of data will be a highly lucrative and could help accelerate natural language abilities in artificial intelligence.


4. We’re just at the beginning

At the moment, besides apps to control your lighting or play music, there isn’t a wide selection of smart speaker apps. It’s like when the iPhone first came out and everyone was only playing Angry Birds.

We believe this will change quite quickly as more businesses see the value in engaging with their customers through an AI-powered voice assistant. In Australia, several large companies have already started. For example, you can check your National Australia Bank account balance on Amazon Alexa, or even check your AGL energy bill.

We’re developing our own mark in this space to improve the investing experience for AtlasTrend members. Stay tuned, the AtlasTrend AI-powered voice assistant will be launching shortly, too.


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About Kent Kwan

Kent Kwan is a Co-Founder of AtlasTrend, an investment platform that makes it easy for anyone to learn and invest in trends impacting our world. Kent has over 17 years experience in financial markets including as Chief Investment Officer at Arowana International Limited, and roles at JP Morgan and Macquarie.