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29 Aug 2018

Voice Assistants Take Over the Mass Market



  • New study by Bitkom and Deloitte on the future of consumer technology
  • Language assistants and artificial intelligence are top trends
  • Applications in the field of Augmented Reality are gaining in importance

Smart speakers are conquering the living rooms: One in eight German citizens aged 18 and over (13 percent) already owns a smart speaker such as Amazon Echo, Google Home or HomePod. This corresponds to 8.7 million people in Germany. Knowledge of voice control has also spread rapidly. Four out of five German citizens (84 percent) have already heard of voice assistants, in 2017 it was only two thirds (69 percent) and in 2016 only 5 percent. More than one in four (27 percent) can imagine controlling devices by voice in the future and 4 percent want to acquire a voice assistant within the next twelve months. This is shown by the trend study "Consumer Technology 2018" presented today in Berlin by the digital association Bitkom and the consulting and auditing company Deloitte. "We are currently experiencing the rapid rise of intelligent language assistants," said Dr. Christopher Meinecke, Head of Digital Transformation at Bitkom. "In the coming years we will control more and more devices with our voice. A new billion-dollar market is emerging here."

Voice Assistants Celebrate Breakthrough in Smart Homes

Above all, the possibility of connecting the assistants with Smart Home devices is very popular. Seven out of ten users (70 percent) say they use their smart speakers to control other household devices. One third (37 percent) of those who own smart home applications control them by voice. The intelligent speaker is right behind the smartphone (76 percent) and tablet (44 percent). "Language assistants are being integrated into more and more devices. A wide range of applications and networking with other smart devices will be decisive for success," says Meinecke.

Consumers are already making versatile use of their voice assistants. Two thirds (69 percent) use voice commands to play music and listen to the radio. For many people, the focus is on gaining information: one in three users asks for the departure times of public transport (34 percent) or obtains traffic information (32 percent). One in four (27 percent) get information about current sports results, one in five orders a taxi (22 percent) or makes general search queries (21 percent). The devices are also used for the organization of appointments and for mails: One in four (24 percent) have already updated their calendars by voice input. Only a few (8 percent) dictate their messages. Meinecke: "Language assistants are still mainly playing music and passing on the weather, in future they will form the basis of a self-determined life in old age. For example, when older people use the devices to control household appliances with their voices or have their grandchildren's messages read to them".

Tech Trend Augmented Reality

With digital language assistants, the smartphone has become a major competitor as the control center of the connected home within two years. As a universal device, the smartphone continues to trigger decisive developments in many industries. Augmented Reality is one of them that is becoming more and more popular. Two thirds of Germans (68 percent) have already heard of Augmented Reality. One in five (21 percent) has already tried an augmented reality application with the smartphone. "The entire mobile ecosystem will benefit from augmented reality," said Klaus Böhm, Director and Head of Media at Deloitte. "In 2023, around 20 million consumers in Germany will use augmented reality services at least once a week.

Nearly one in five (19 percent) will try out augmented reality in the future. The interest in Augmented Reality is especially great when travelling. One third of Internet users (33 percent) can imagine using them for navigation and as travel guides. One in five (22 percent) would learn with augmented reality. Games (21 percent), shopping (19 percent) and social media (15 percent) are also possible application scenarios. "Augmented Reality will become an essential feature of mobile navigation services. AR-based travel guides will also quickly establish themselves," said Böhm. "There is also great potential in e-learning: Augmented Reality illustrates complex contexts and creates additional motivation through playful elements.