Smart home once emerged as a trend in 2013-2014 but it was unable to take off for many different reasons. The emergence of artificial intelligence and virtual assistants brought it back in 2016 and especially 2017 with a completely new mode of communication: voice.
Smart home – inevitable trend
As smart phones are gradually becoming saturated, wearable devices become more and more obsolete, electronic manufacturers are forced to devise other devices and services to attract more users. Smart home is chosen because it helps us to have a comfortable, modern life, not only for homeowners but also to impress visitors. The report from MarketsANDMarkets said the total value of smart home market will reach about 122 billion US dollars in 2022, of which nearly half are self-destructive devices (DIY). The potential is that but smart houses have once failed. In the early stages, each manufacturer introduced a different standard with almost zero compatibility. This causes a lot of inconvenience to users, not only in installation, experience but also in use. Imagine we have to go to the Philips app to open the light, go to Samsung software to control the TV or open the fan with the Logitech app, the experiences are very bad, unfriendly and completely unconnected.
Amazon Alexa: market change factor
Alexa is a virtual assistant created by Amazon, it is similar to Siri on iPhone or Google Assistant on Android phones, capable of responding to the voice given by the user. Initially, Alexa was not created to control a smart home but “the wizard” Jeff Bezos, with the vision of wanting to unite all devices, allowed us to talk to Alexa to control household devices regardless of who it is made of. At this time, Alexa will act as an in-house butler, you just need to order and Alexa will automatically remind the remaining devices to work.
Unexpectedly, people no longer need to access the iRobot application to make the robot vacuum clean up the house anymore, no need to go into Schlage’s application to ask to open the door again. All by voice: “Alexa, clean my house”, “Alexa, open main door”. Voice communication opens a whole new path to the smart home world, although it was previously thought to be prematurely dead or just a spray bomb, just like wearable devices. Alexa’s success has made other manufacturers “hot”, they are forced to put all their strength to enter the market before it’s too late, and that’s why Google Home or Apple HomePods are released. They are all smart speakers capable of talking to users, listening to commands and giving corresponding feedback.
Alexa’s success as well as Google Asstantis or Siri has simultaneously led to the emergence of many different household manufacturers, making the market more diverse and more vibrant. Instead of just focusing on developing a single platform like before, these companies can make a wide range of products they like, then connect it to the cloud system of Amazon or Google to have Voice control via Alexa or Google Home, eliminates a lot of research and development costs while increasing compatibility between platforms and devices. Even Xiaomi, a conservative company that sells very few devices to the international market (except phones), is also forced to change its policies, support Alexa or Google Assistant before penetrate into the US market.
Not only that, smart home devices also automatically learn according to user’s habits to give corresponding feedback. For example, when you have a habit of turning on the air conditioner very cold at noon, the central temperature controller will automatically do this for us based on the information and knowledge it has accessed in the past. Or when you like the automatic light of the living room in the evening, artificial intelligence will learn and analyze this habit of us, then automatically adjust to the host’s habits.
Smart houses flooded in all major technology exhibitions around the world this year. With this trend, you almost don’t need to care about operating on different devices or different applications of many manufacturers. All you need to do is say, use language – our most natural way of sharing. Currently, Google Assistant is the only virtual assistant to support Vietnamese, Alexa is somewhat local and supports many foreign services, while Siri is still very primitive.