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Voice assistants

The role of voice increasing, study finds

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The role of voice within security is certainly growing, especially on the residential side of the equation, but as a recent study finds, consumers are embracing the power of the voice to control their phones, cars, homes and even security systems.

In fact, standalone voice assistants—or smart speakers—are one of the fastest-adopted technologies in U.S. history and have a 98 percent satisfaction rate among U.S. consumers, according to a new research report from Accenture based on a global survey of 22,500 consumers across 21 countries. Half of online consumers globally now use digital voice assistants, with emerging markets leading the way in adoption, the research firm found.
 
“Adoption and satisfaction with smart speaker technology is booming,” Robin Murdoch, co-author of the report and managing director of Accenture’s global Software and Platforms industry practice, said. “Convenience and accessible price points are helping drive increased use but maintaining this loyalty will require companies to stay relevant with consumer needs while creating and constantly renewing trust.”
 
The report, “Reshape to Relevance,” notes that smart speakers are disrupting the consumer technology and service ecosystems. Accenture found that 93 percent of consumers globally expect their home device purchases, such as smart TVs or computers, to be based on ease of integration with their standalone smart speaker.
 
The relevance of smart speakers is reflected in consumers’ expectations to use these devices for more-advanced tasks beyond routine activities like voice calling, playing music or eBooks, and accessing news, Accenture note. “They see value in voice assistants managing home security (61 percent of respondents), providing connected home automation (59 percent), paying bills and providing payment alerts (55 percent)—even making restaurant reservations (53 percent) and providing access to virtual medical advice (52 percent).
 
“However, trust is a potential impediment to greater adoption of smart speakers, with 41 percent of consumers citing privacy concerns and 40 percent citing security concerns with the technology. Forty-six percent of consumers believe they don’t have control of their data with voice assistants and 58 percent are more likely to re-evaluate their trust in this service by continually checking how their information is being used.”
 
Greg Roberts, another co-author of the report and managing director of Accenture’s North America High Tech industry practice, said, “Consumers expect their smart speakers to handle complex workloads and integrate with other products. Brands that offer advanced artificial intelligence capabilities will be well positioned for success. But to attract more customers, they will have to be transparent in how they store, use and share data. Establishing an agreed trust standard with consumers is essential.”

Accenture Research conducted an online survey of 22,500 consumers in 21 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. The sample in each country was representative of the online population. Ages of respondents ranged from 14 to over 55. The survey and related data modeling quantify consumer perceptions of digital devices, content and services, purchasing patterns, preference and trust in service providers, and the future of their connected lifestyles. The online surveys were conducted between October and November 2018.