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Picking Sides

The writing is on the wall for how voice devices are going to look over the next two years. The market is going to get saturated pretty quickly, not just with individual devices but with platforms. There’s definitely an advantage to the incumbents (Google and Amazon) but there will be a long tail of voice first devices and platforms that come to market (Bixby, AmbientOS, Siri/HomePod, among dozens of open source devices).

What we’ll likely see is households picking one platform and sticking with it. They’ll be asking related to speakers and devices “is this an Alexa-enabled device?” or “does this light work with HomeKit?” (LED lights are now becoming a 25-year investment). This issue is this generation’s consumer choice.

Beta vs VHS and Blu-ray vs HDVD. However, the stakes are much higher hear as we’re talking about control of our data and actuation of our homes. However, because any of these virtual assistants are controlled by one company (rather than a standard), it’s unlikely there we’ll end up with a total monopoly by one over the other.

The result is that we’re going to have to start remembering names of assistants and which to call to do what. We might have OK Google for setting calendar, Hey Siri for music, and Alexa for ordering products. The platform makers might start offering more incentives for users to lock in to their system.

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