Security, Interoperability Big Concerns for Smart Speaker Buyers

New research from Strategy Analytics reveals that concerns over security and interoperability loom large for consumers who are considering buying a smart speaker. The report also found that, apart from early adopter “techies,” usage of smart speakers has actually gone down among many owners.

“Part of the problem in decreasing usage once consumers own a smart speaker is awareness of when new features and capabilities are released,” observed Christopher Dodge, author of the report. “Proactive engagement from the smart speaker itself can help to make the experience more compelling.”

The study also found a lack of “interoperability and seamlessness” between different brand devices to be a key factor among owners who are using their smart speakers less than when they first bought them, added Chris Schreiner, director of syndicated research for the User Experience Strategies group that issued the report.

“Solutions that provide the best integration of different ecosystems throughout the home, in addition to less input and effort from the user, will [increase usage] and provide the best smart speaker in the long term.”

Authors of the report called on makers of smart speakers to be more proactive in alerting users when new features are available through accompanying apps or the speakers themselves and to provide audible or visual tutorials on how to use them.

The report also noted that smart speaker ownership continues to grow substantially worldwide and that, while the U.S. is still the largest market for these speakers, the highest intent to purchase was found in China where interest has nearly doubled over the past year. Overall intent to purchase smart speakers is lower in the U.S. but has nonetheless doubled since 2017.

Declining prices of smart home products is also making it easier for consumers to build smart-home solutions around a voice-enabled hub, the report said.