If you want to ask, what is the fastest growing smart hardware category? I think most people will say that they are smart phones, and then there are tablets and computers. At first, the author thought so, but the data is really what I didn’t think of: the consumer technology market research institute Strategy Analytics released the “Global Smart Speaker Market Report for the Third Quarter of 2018”, which showed that the global smart speaker shipments in the Q3 quarter were year-on-year. It grew by 197% to 22.7 million units, a record high.
All kinds of intelligent speakers are coming on stage (Source: Baidu Encyclopedia)
This also means that sales of smart speakers worldwide are expected to exceed 100 million this year. The vice president of Strategy Analytics said that the smart speaker market has reached this milestone faster than other consumer electronics products launched in the past 10 years. The demand for five years is likely to exceed that of smartphones. The rapid development of smart speakers is a reasonable and unexpected example. The Pandora’s Box of Smart Speakers has been quietly opened…
To say smart speakers, we must start from the late autumn four years ago.
In November 2014, Amazon released the first new concept intelligent speaker “Echo” with intelligent voice interaction technology, which gave its artificial intelligence attributes based on traditional speakers. Let the speaker change from a simple sound device to a smart device. It can play music, news, online shopping, and network car by voice human-computer interaction.
Amazon Echo Smart Speaker
Amazon seems to open the door to this kind of intellectual networking for the global technology Internet giant, followed by Google, Microsoft, Apple, Google Home, Invoke (Microsoft and Harman Kardon cooperation), HomePod launched, let the world see the international technology giant The ambition of the smart speaker market.
China’s Internet amnestics will not be idle, and the promotion of smart speakers will begin. Ali’s Tmall Elf, Xiaomi’s little love classmates, Jingdong’s jealousy, Baidu’s small degree, Tencent’s listening… one more than one Performance is strong, but the price is lower than one.
Tmall Elf Sugar
The development of the smart speaker market has benefited from the new products of the major players, but also the price advantage: price reduction promotion and low price pricing have quickly attracted consumers to help smart manufacturers open the market, but also let domestic users begin to understand the smart speaker industry. Everyone is becoming more and more familiar with the various functions of smart speakers: songs, songs, weather queries, and even other smart home devices. Obviously, the smartness of the smart speakers makes our life a bit more fun and delightful.
Small Smart Speaker Pro
Smart speakers are no longer a simple matter of simply listening to music and watching movies. It has been quietly converted from “video equipment” to “smart home”. To be exact, smart speakers should now be The core of the smart home “Boss”.
In the first half of 2018 alone, the sales volume of smart speakers in the Chinese market has approached 5 million units, which is about three times the size of last year’s full year. The development is a rapid jump. But the problems faced by smart speakers are also very worrying.
The first is the safety of smart speakers. The invasion of the smart speaker as the “core” will cause the entire smart home system to be destroyed. In addition, there are technical issues such as reducing false wake-up ratios, addressing dialect commands, providing far-field positioning, improving speech recognition, and providing natural language processing.
British security researcher Mark Barnes used Amazon Echo’s security vulnerabilities to successfully implant malware into smart speakers. Smart speakers with malware can remotely monitor and steal account information. It is known that both the 15-year and 16-year Echo speakers have this vulnerability and cannot be repaired by software upgrades. Previously, smart cameras have become hacker monitors, and information security issues on smart speakers cannot be ignored.
Smart speakers may also become a breakthrough for criminals (Source: s.weibo.com)
Second is the privacy issue that users are most concerned about. The smart speaker does not need to rest and sleep, connect to the power supply Unicom WIFI to silently collect the sound of the environment, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, waiting for your voice to wake it up. Then will it record the information it hears? What will this information be used for?
After the smart speaker wakes up, you still need to pay attention to the uploaded user data. Although these data are not used for cloud recognition, will it be used by others? Smart speakers can better understand user habits as time goes by, will it bring us new “personalized recommendations” based on these user habits? For example, after I bought a game board, will he recommend me the latest graphics card and hard disk?
There are facts and reasonable conjectures, but one thing we have to know is that although the domestic smart speakers are booming, the popularity of smart speakers in China is not high. The main driving force for the growth of Chinese smart speaker manufacturers such as Ali Xiaomi in China comes from low prices and large discounts.
Xiaomi’s AI smart speaker
Relative to the popularity of the smart speaker market, some experts believe that the application scenarios are less, the user habits need to be cultivated, the upstream and downstream ecological service faults, the advance of overdraft practitioners, or the smart speaker market will form a “virtual fire” situation. The maximization of the commercial value of smart speakers requires further exploration in the application of the scene.
Huawei’s newly released AI smart speaker this year
Generally speaking. A new type of general-purpose product requires a long start-up and growth cycle, both for technical reasons and for the ecological maturity itself to take some time to polish.
It took several decades for the computer to go from the big computer to the portable one. The smart phone also took years to let the user understand the adaptation. This is a two-way process of “content-habit”, which is a new product. necessary.
Apple HomePod Smart Speaker
However, we should jump out of the smart speaker and look at the concept of “far field voice interaction” in the longer term. What is “far field voice interaction”? Sitting on the sofa at intervals of five meters, the speaker can respond. From the application scenario, the core difference between the far field and the near field is that after the distance from the voice device is opened, the hands are liberated. In this way, the touch screen can be completely differentiated, and the voice advantage can be fully exerted.
After all, compared to the smart speaker market, smart speakers are just a carrier and entrance. The giants are more concerned about the top entry of voice interaction, and it is possible to thrive a huge tree of service ecology.
The latest generation of All new Echo, behind a set of Alexa platform systems
In the end, the competition of smart speakers is the battle of ecology. Each spoiler has its own platform and the upstream and downstream of the intelligent ecological chain. Buy a speaker, and match it with a bunch of products. It constitutes an ecological closed loop and data sharing of APP software. If you want to use Apple’s smart speakers to control Ali’s smart lights, this is obviously not suitable.
We still don’t know if the future smart ecosystem will have an ultimate version compatible with all devices, but it is now very clear that every household is working hard to promote the entrance of their own ecology – smart speakers. It is likely to make the competition between these Internet giants more intense.
Written at the end
At present, it seems that the current smart speaker market is obviously “hot”. Although there are many problems, the future of smart speakers is still full of expectations. As the most natural information transfer, speech is an entry into the virtual world from the physical world. Smart speakers will gradually enter people’s daily lives with the development and improvement of technology, and even help you collect clothes in the future! It is just getting started, it is inevitable that it will be unstable, but it will become more and more stable and certain.