Approximately 111 million people use a voice assistant at least once a month, according to eMarketer. That’s up 9.5% from a year ago, but it still means that only one third of the total US population is using their voice to do anything—play a song, get directions, ask a question—on a semi-regular basis. There is a lot of room for growth—especially within the smart home space—and with early adoption all but saturated, most of that growth will be within the broader mass market.
With that framework as a backdrop, we want to give you a bit of insight as to how we are approaching voice control and why we believe it’s foundational to the future of the smart home.
At Ezlo Innovation, our goal is to make home automation as accessible as possible across our family of brands, which is why we’ve enabled voice on all our Vera controllers—from the Atom, which costs just $29.95, through to our most advanced model—and will be building it into every controller in the Ezlo product line as we go forward. Rather than putting ourselves in a silo and creating a limited user experience, we’ve chosen to work with Alexa, Google Home, and Siri to give every consumer as much choice as possible when creating their smart home system.
But we want to go beyond choice of devices. We’ve already added Alexa skills in Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Japanese, and plan to add similar actions for Google Home, as well. This is critical for us because the smart home industry, globally, is growing at a torrid pace. Providing voice control in multiple languages helps our dealers and distributors, as well as our OEM and channel partners who use Ezlo’s white labeled solutions to deliver home control to their customers in several countries.
For decades now, mass adoption of smart home technology have been portrayed as inevitable by the media, but progress has been slowed by the fact that it’s still difficult for consumers to understand which products work together and how some platforms are different than others. One of the things we talk about frequently at Ezlo is the idea that if you can buy it, we want to work with it. This is a long-term vision, but the groundwork to make that vision a reality is being laid today. By incorporating multiple communication protocols into our family of controllers, as well as being agnostic about which voice assistants people can use, we’re providing a way for all smart home products to “just work” together, without any knowledge of Z-Wave or Zigbee required on the part of the consumer.
This idea is picking up momentum across the rest of the smart home world, as well. While we’re still at least a year from seeing an initial draft, the recent announcement of the IP Platform standard being developed by Apple, Google, and Amazon demonstrates the need for improved usability and customer experience across multiple platforms.
However, customers need not wait. Today our products work with devices using multiple communications protocols, and, as mentioned above, offer a choice of voice assistants to make smart home control that much easier and more convenient. As more and more people who aren’t tech savvy begin to use voice assistants, they’ll also need simple solutions to help them reap the benefits. Only those solutions that “just work” will win out in the end, and that’s why we’re taking an “any device, any voice assistant, any language” approach.