New research from IHS Markit shows virtually no one is using smart speakers to control home automation.

The survey (U.S., U.K., Japan, Germany and Brazil) shows that 65% have smart speakers, but only 6% of them use them to control lights, televisions and other connected devices in the home.

smart speakers

“Voice control of the smart home is only a small fraction of total smart-speaker interactions,” said Blake Kozak, principal analyst for the smart home at IHS Markit.

“This category will trend upward as more video-streaming devices come to rely on voice control. Or as security alarm systems adopt voice control to arm and disarm. And as more builders embed smart devices throughout new homes.”

Kozak said it is only a matter of time before more connected devices permeate homes and voice assistants become the primary means of interaction. Additional penetration of connected devices will be driven by new streaming devices such as the Amazon Fire TV Cube and other agnostic speakers such as the Sonos Beam.

“To increase the number of consumers using smart speakers to control connected devices in the home, voice assistants will need to follow a path similar to the one taken by the Amazon Echo Plus. This has the ability to directly control low-power wireless devices, such as switches and plugs connected to ZigBee and Z-Wave,” Kozak said.

Smart speaker take-up varies by country

In the US 40% own an Amazon Alexa device. Google accounts for 23%. Interestingly 20% own both. Cortana has 15%, and Siri via HomePod is 5%. Source Loupventures.

With more than 900 smart home device makers in this market with about 4,100 connected devices, smart speakers will continue to be the primary disruptor for the smart home. But it is going to start with things like door locks, connected appliances and thermostats.

Strategy Analytics global market share research shows Google is on an exponential 709% growth rate year-over-year.

smart speKERSGadgetGuy’s take – smart speakers usage pattern is emerging

First, it is no surprise that smart speakers are so dumb when it comes to controlling home automation. I am pretty tech savvy, and it is a pain to set up home automation and get voice control. Give me a tablet to control this any day.

Loupventures found that smart speakers were mainly seen as information devices with about 10% using it for basic home control. It has crystallised the issue – we need better use cases, and these revolve around smart home integration and entertainment.

Australian research group Telsyte believes the smart lifestyle sector, which consists of whitegoods, appliances and house and garden products, will be the largest sector by 2022, as manufacturers bring to market products that have Internet connectivity as a standard feature.

smart speakers

But Australia is a little different to US and European markets. Telsyte says that there are about 500,000 million smart speakers in use here. That will go to about three million in 2022.

Amazon Alexa is trailing as it is a US-centric product seen as mainly for shopping for Amazon based goods and services. That is not as strong an appeal in Australia. But with effective marketing, as only Amazon can, it still has a chance here to lead.

Google Android has about 70% of the Australian smartphone market. It is logical that Google Assistant will follow with these users. At best we can rely on anecdotal evidence from JB Hi-Fi. “Google Assistant speakers are selling three-to-one over Amazon Alexa.”

Apple iPhone has 30% of the market. Some 2.2 million people own five or more Apple products – locked into the Apple ecosystems. They are going to use HomePod and HomeKit. A lot of Apple owners are waiting to see if HomePod can do more than Apple Music,” JB Hi-Fi said.