It looks like smart home technology — driven by the ever-increasing installed base of smart speakers — is igniting all around us. According to estimates from Forrester, the installed base of smart speakers will hit 244 million by 2022.
A bold prediction, considering that as of 2016 there were 24 million such devices in the marketplace — a little under half of which (11 million) were the Echo sold by Amazon. But Forrester thinks the number will double in 2017. Smart speakers, including Amazon Echo, will account for 50 percent of the total installed base of smart home devices in 2017 and will reach 68 percent by 2022, according to Forrester.
Amazon Prime, according to the experts, plays a big role in driving the Echo’s adoption. There are 48 million Prime members in the U.S. — and the expectation is that the penetration of Echo among Prime user will shot from 28 percent in 2017 to 61 percent in 2022.
Forrester also anticipates 50 percent of U.S. households will have at least one smart speaker by 2022. The total installed base of smart speakers in the U.S. will reach 166.2 million in 2022, according to Forrester’s figures.
Juniper Research, on the other hand, is predicting that by 2021, spending on smart home hardware and services will reach $195 billion in 2021. Same set of predictions has North America accounting for 38 percent of that market when it emerges.
Also worth watching — the “smart enterprise” market or the “voice-driven enterprise” market, particularly with the release of Alexa Voice Service Device SDK toolset. That will help Alexa spread to a wider array of third-party devices.
Alexa will also be able to work with Cortana (the MS assistant) with promises the two virtual assistants “will begin talking to each other later this year.”
Combining their respective strengths in the consumer and enterprise markets, Amazon and Microsoft will provide their customers with an AI voice assistant that will deliver both the best online shopping experience and access to work email and calendar.