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Update to Basket of Goods Shows Impact of Voice Activation

Mar 19, 2019

Smart Home 2

Voice activation has been a major technology trend in recent years. This human-like interface has seen tremendous uptake since Alexa sparked market growth in the market with the introduction of the first Amazon Echo in the US in November 2014.

Voice activation technology has been prevalent as early as February 2010, when the standalone app Siri was launched on the iPhone, and the company was later acquired by Apple. Since then, voice activation has run rampant in the consumer electronics market, with major tech vendors investing significantly. Samsung has promised to integrate its voice assistant, Bixby, into all its devices by 2020. Amazon claims that customers purchased tens of millions of Alexa-enabled Echo devices in 2018 (its best year yet), and that as of January 2019 there are more than 150 different products with Alexa built-in. Heading into CES 2019 in January, Google said it expected its Google Assistant to be in 1 billion devices by the end of the month.

Noticeable Adoption of Voice Activation Technology

The influence of voice activation on our lives is evident in the latest update to the UK Office for National Statistics’ basket of goods, which now includes smart speakers such as Alexa-based Amazon Echo devices. A basket of goods refers to a fixed set of consumer products and services used to track the movement of prices. The goods included in the basket are often adjusted periodically to account for changes in consumer habits. The inclusion of smart speakers demonstrates just how quickly these devices have influenced the market in a relatively short period.

Why Is This Significant?

Voice activation is powerful because it personifies our interactions with technology. It is fundamentally changing the way we engage with technology by creating an easy-to-use, hands-free, conversational experience. In the future, we won’t have to tap an app for everything—we’ll just ask our digital assistants.

These assistants also embody artificial intelligence and cloud-based services that are learning and anticipating our behavior, which is slowly but surely transforming traditional home automation systems into fundamentally smarter homes that can better serve their occupants. While there are still questions around how we should be using these devices and what additional consumer education is required, these speaker-based assistants have quickly moved past early tech adopters to mainstream consumers. Voice-activated digital assistants are reshaping the way we live and interact with tech.