Half of online consumers are using digital voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant with emerging markets leading the way in adoption according to a new Accenture report.

The report, Reshape to Relevance noted voice assistants are one of the fastest-adopted technologies in US history with a 98 per cent satisfaction rate.

Close to 1.35 million Australians have a smart speaker at their home with ownership growing 200 per cent in less than four months, more than the US and UK, according to a study by Versa.

Robin Murdoch, co-author of the report and managing director of Accenture’s global software and platforms industry practice said, “Adoption and satisfaction with smart speaker technology is booming.

“Convenience and accessible price points are helping drive increased use but maintaining this loyalty will require companies to stay relevant with consumer needs while creating and constantly renewing trust.”

Amazon Echo Dot

Smart speakers are disrupting the market, according to the report with 93 per cent of global consumers expect their home device purchases, such as smart TVs or computers, to be based on ease of integration with their standalone smart speaker.

Last week, The Verge revealed Amazon has sold more than 100 million devices with Amazon Alexa installed, a number the company hasn’t revealed before.

Amazon’s smart assistant was introduced in 2014 sparking an AI revolution with other tech giants like Apple and Google releasing their own version of a virtual assistant speaker.

Relevance of smart speakers

The relevance of smart speakers is reflected in consumers’ expectations to use these devices for more than just playing music and accessing news.

From the report, 61 per cent of consumers see value in voice assistants managing home security, 59 per cent say providing connected home automation, 55 per cent say they see value in an assistant paying bills and providing payment alerts, 53 per cent see value in restaurant reservations and 52 per cent see value in virtual medical advice.

Developers are already trying to make consumers do less and voice assistants do more. Last year at Google’s yearly I/O convention it showed the Google Assistant making a real phone call booking a hair salon appointment.

Trust

Trust is a major impediment to a higher adoption of smart speakers with 41 per cent of consumers citing privacy concerns and 40 per cent saying they have security concerns with the technology.

The study showed 46 per cent of consumers believe they don’t have control of their data with voice assistants and 58 per cent are more likely to re-evaluate their trust in this service by continually checking how their information is being used.

Greg Roberts, another co-author of the report and managing director of Accenture’s North America high tech industry practice, said, “Consumers expect their smart speakers to handle complex workloads and integrate with other products. Brands that offer advanced artificial intelligence capabilities will be well positioned for success.

“But to attract more customers, they will have to be transparent in how they store, use and share data. Establishing an agreed trust standard with consumers is essential.”

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