Published: Fri, January 05, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Million Smart Speakers To Be Shipped This Year

Million Smart Speakers To Be Shipped This Year

While 2017 has been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, especially for Google and Amazon, smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the USA and beyond. Conventional ovens - as long as they connect wirelessly - will be next.

This move comes as Amazon believes that customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces (VUIs) as a hands-free way to manage their lives and hands-free control could especially be valuable when cooking. Like smart light bulbs, or a smart thermostat, or a smart security camera, or smart plugs to make your regular old non-internet-connected devices smarter. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, users can simply use their voices. Amazon's Alexa-powered devices Echo, Echo Dot and the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote were the retailer's No. 1 and No. 2 top-selling over the holidays products, respectively, Amazon said. Indeed the new API software is an improvement. Making it a great time to pick up a set.

Million Smart Speakers To Be Shipped This Year
Million Smart Speakers To Be Shipped This Year

Whirlpool has already created an Alexa skill through Amazon's Smart Home Skill toolkit that will enable its to-be-launched microwaves to take cooking instructions such as "heat for 50 seconds" from the voice assistant. The skill enables customers to easily configure, start, and operate their connected Whirlpool microwaves.

Whirlpool is the first company to create an Alexa skill for its connected microwaves, and Amazon said it'll be launching "soon" in the United States, so we wouldn't be surprised if the first AI-controlled microwaves made an appearance at CES next week. You might, for example, tell Alexa to set the microwave for 3 minutes or ask Alexa to preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Rather than focusing primarily on how to sell devices to new customers, vendors will look to things like advertising, content subscription, premium services or enterprise products to monetize their installed base of current users.

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All in all, this is an interesting development in the technology sphere.

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