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There’s a phenomenon known as the “consumerization of IT.” It’s the way consumer technology finds its way into the workplace. We’ve seen this most recently as people bring their personal smartphones and tablets to work. It’s part of the whole BYOD (bring your own device) movement.

Now it seems likely to happen again, this time with smart-home tech. The market is big and growing fast. Market watcher IDC just reported that 130.1 million smart-home devices were shipped worldwide in this year’s second quarter. That marks an increase over the year-earlier period of an impressive 38%.

As this happens, consumers are also getting comfortable with a range of smart-home devices, including smart speakers, voice-activated assistants. How long before they demand that their employers let them use these technologies in the workplace?

Smart speakers

The results from a new survey of U.S. consumers show just how comfortable they’re getting. Released this week by Adobe, the stats find that nearly three-quarters of smart-speaker owners (72%) say they’re comfortable using voice assistants in front of other people, compared with under a third (29%) of non-owners.

Smart speakers get a lot of use, Adobe finds. More than two-thirds of smart-speaker owners (71%) report using them at least daily.

Smart-speaker owners like the devices enough to want more. Nearly half of smart-speaker owners (45%) plan to buy another one for themselves in the upcoming holiday season, Adobe finds.

In fact, Adobe expects that nearly half of all U.S. consumers will own a smart speaker after the holidays. The figure is based on its findings that 32% of consumers own a smart speaker now, and 16% plan to buy their first smart speaker this holiday season. So 32 + 16 = 48%, or nearly half.

How do consumers use their smart speakers? Top applications, Adobe found, are listening to music (cited by 70%), weather forecasts (64%), asking fun questions (54%), online research (47%), alarms/reminders (46%) and checking the news (46%).

The chart below, courtesy of Adobe, shows some of the other smart-speaker uses reported by the survey respondents:

Adobe voice-assistant stats

Gateway tech

Could digital media adapters like Roku and Amazon Fire TV be consumers’ gateway into a smart-home ecosystem? Market watcher IDC thinks so.

“Networked entertainment represents a key stepping stone for consumers as they embark on their smart-home journeys,” says Adam Wright, an IDC researcher.

In this year’s second quarter, digital media adapters accounted for the second largest share after smart TVs, according to IDC. Q2 shipments of these devices grew nearly 27% over the year-earlier period.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick retails for just $40

Low prices on these digital media adapters are a big draw. Retail prices for the Amazon Fire TV start at just $40. Similarly, the cheapest Google Chromecast retails for $35. And Roku’s entry-level device, Roku Express, sells for an ever lower $30.

IDC’s notion is that once people become comfortable with the likes of Roku, moving to more sophisticated smart-home tech is a natural next step.

And if the step after that involves bringing those devices to work? Just another case of IT’s consumerization.


Blog Category: 
Advanced Technologies