Smart Speakers may always be a niche market if there wasn’t such a harsh competition between three tech giant: Amazon, Google, and Apple. Each company has its own smart speaker powered by intelligent assistant and voice control system. Each of them eager to monetize on their techs.
However smart speakers are just a tip of the iceberg called virtual assistant market. The hardware is just a proxy that connects users to a voice controlled ecosystem of service big companies expect to sell us. No surprise! Gartner sites that people will spend about $2 billion for speakers powered with a virtual assistant by the end of 2020.
eMarketer reports that around 35.6 million Americans is already using voice assistants at least once a month, which doubles last year figure. Considering the technology adoption pace there is a new market emerging on the horizon. And this iceberg is about the size of the smartphone market.
Amazon Echo vs Apple HomePod vs Google Home
As we said, there are three main contenders: Apple, Google, and Amazon. Each of them has its own unique marketing and development strategy and million-dollar efforts they are spending on the development of platforms.
Amazon is building its smart assistant on top of its e-commerce business. Google is trying to play around its searching system. On the other hand, Apple is building its smart assistant based on iOS platform. We’ll try to set things apart and highlight main features of each platform.
Product Name: Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot.
Intelligent Assistant: Alexa.
Apps Naming: Skills.
It must be acknowledged that Amazon is a pioneer of smart speaker market. By now, the company has a strong ecosystem built around Amazon webstore with more than 15 000 Alexa skills available for use.
Still, Amazon had its reasons to head started development of its Echo and Alexa system. This was made partly because of playing at a disadvantage. Unlike Google and Apple Amazon has no smartphone base in order to spread its technology. That is why Bezos’ team adopted some of smartphone market concepts in order stay closer to its audience.
Amazon created an open application store called Alexa Skills where all apps are listed.
It features 15 000 skills from notable companies like Starbucks and Uber, as well as independent projects from designers and developers.
On the other hand, Amazon created an Alexa Skills Kit, an open platform that allows developers to use Echo’s voice technology and build custom skills for Alexa. It worth mentioning that many of existing apps and tools are open source and shared under an Apache license, including Skills Kit SDK for Node.js which saves a lot of time for development.
Product Name: Google Home.
Intelligent Assistant: Google Assistant.
Apps Naming: Actions.
Google has a something different approach to app organization. The company promises to make all actions(apps) available to everyone instead of making an “Action Store”.
The only catch is to make your actions approved and match it with the voice commands you want to work with. Of course, no one is eligible to appropriate universal keywords like “Shopping” or “Next”, but you’re free to set “GBKSOFT” as a hotword (shortcut) for a software development quote request.
No surprise Google has its own platform for developers: Action on Google. It offers a wide toolset including API.AI that allows building apps for the Google Assistant.
In addition, Google provides an Assistant SDK through which you can add all those voice tricks: natural language recognition, voice control, and hotword detection. By using this kit we can make your app actually accessible through the smart speaker.
Product Name: Apple HomePod.
Intelligent Assistant: Siri.
Apps Naming: Apps.
For now Apple seem to lag behind. Apparently, it expects to use long-lasting marketing strategy: Ready, Fire, Aim! The company decided to make a beautiful speaker first, supply it with brains (A8 chip) and connect to existing ecosystem though well-balanced iOS platform.
Apple doesn’t rush ahead and not going to open source its work. By now the company gives simple promises: Apple Music connectivity, old Siri tricks that already available across iOS devices and an integration with HomeKit app an inconsistent smart home platform.
Best Smart Assistant App Ideas
You can ask an assistant to text your friends by simply dictating a message instead of typing it on phone. Moreover, your smart assistant app can integrate with all messengers including Slack, FB Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp, etc.
This skill may be handy in order to prepare for exam or interview. Simply create a database with answers and question on different topics and let smart speaker ask questions based on them. You can even make a comprehensive test preparation program composed of several disciplines or sell tests separately.
We can develop a smart assistant skill that will track prices for air tickets, book a particular hotel or a table at your favorite restaurant. This function can integrate with all big travel platform and work in the same manner as Expedia, TripAdvisor or OpenTable.
Develop an app that will instruct users during a workout, perform as a meditation timer or remind workers about their 10-minute breaks. The cool thing about virtual assistant that it can pair with other devices and remind user to make a workout based on its daily activity level.
All The Recipes
Let user access numerous recipes websites and guide them while cooking. You can also integrate additional voice commands like “Start timer for fish” or “Remind me when the pie is ready”!
In addition, a smart speaker can advise users on best wine matches or be virtual mixologist that will hint on “What cocktail to make of rum and bitter”.
Smart Home System
Frankly speaking, smart home systems is a separate market with its inner rules and development guidelines. Its main strength and weakness lie in its diversity.
Starting from smart light switches and ending with a comprehensive thermostat systems, a typical smart home platform is too complex for the ordinary user.
Thankfully, with the help of Smart Assistant, we can connect and organize all those devices in an intuitive and appealing way. In addition, we can develop an interface that will integrate your smart home devices into any smart assistant, whether it is Alexa or Siri.
The ideas above are merely scratching the surface and can’t describe the full potential of new tech. Obviously, Smart Speakers are bigger than just Bluetooth speakers with some software. That’s why Apps for Intelligent Assistants will soon drive as much money as Smartphone Apps.
Thankfully, the new world derives out of the same technologies and principles. This fact makes it easier for us to develop apps or adapt existing apps for smart speakers. On the other hand, you may find new ideas and ventures by comparing two markets.
Tony Sol is the business development manager of GBKSOFT, overseeing the production of all writings for both internal blog and external platforms. He is technical-driven person always looking for new benefits of merging business and software.
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