Is voice technology behind the success of those smarthome gadgets

According to new research, speaking to our smartphones' personal assistants isn't just taking the pain out of typing and swiping, it's also opening the doors to greater acceptance of the connected home. If your idea of a hi-tech nightmare scenario is a coffee machine that not only talks to you but criticizes your decision to take sugar or a fridge that nags and nags until the milk is replenished, then you'll have to stop using Apple's Siri and Google Now if you don't want it to become a reality. "Over 70% of voice-recognition users are satisfied with the experience of using this solution on their smartphones, which is driving experimentation with this functionality on other platforms, including home assistants," said Stuart Sikes, President, Parks Associates. Although the Internet of Things (IoT) is still bigger in terms of buzz than device sales beyond smart thermostats and security systems, familiarity with - and more importantly satisfaction with -- voice recognition systems on our phones is already helping companies like Amazon and Google get a foot in the front door, according to Parks Associates. "Two-way communication via voice control has had broad appeal, driving many firms to integrate Amazon's Alexa with their solution, thus increasing both interest and awareness of smart home solutions," said Sikes. "As more devices integrate voice-based options or partner with firms like Amazon, they expand the possibility for a seamless multiplatform connected home that can integrate security, wearables, and entertainment devices." For example, the latest company to integrate its services with Amazon's Alexa is BMW. Now owners can ask their smart home assistant to send a route to their car's GPS, ask if the doors are locked and inquire about fuel levels or if the battery on an electric BMW is fully charged. However, Amazon is by no means the only tech company with a talkative home assistant. Google Home is a music speaker with the search company's predictive, search engine smarts and it too responds to voice commands and can take over the operation of other smart home devices. And it will be coming before the end of the year. Then there's Apple's decision to open up its voice operated assistant Siri to other iPhone and iPad apps and to the Mac desktop, meaning that asking questions and giving voice commands around the home will soon be second nature to iDevice owners, too.

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