Indian consumers say big hello to voice-based devices

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New Delhi, Feb 11. Hey Alexa! Please play “Bhaja Govindam” by M.S. Subbulakshmi, goes the command every morning at my home and Alexa takes no time in obliging, playing the song by the legendary Carnatic vocalist as breakfast begins to roll.

Tech
Trend By Nishant Arora

This has
become a routine at millions of Indian homes, indicating a clear trend about
voice becoming the next conversational platform between people and devices.

As we head
toward a world where data-driven machine intelligence powers
conversations between brands and consumers, Indian consumers are now ready for
this, frequently using smartphones to interact with brands and coordinate
tasks.

According to
Forrester, mobile penetration has allowed rapid, leapfrogging acceleration
among metropolitan Indian online adults in the uptake of wearable devices and
other smart technology.

54%
Indians now use at least one wearable device

Nearly 54
per cent Indians now use at least one wearable device. The smart home is at a
similar turning point: 30% use a smart TV, 16% use a voice assistant
speaker like Alexa-rich Amazon Echo or Google Assistant-driven Home, and 36 per
cent use smart home devices like Internet-connected thermostats or home audio
systems.

According to
Meenakshi Tiwari, Forecast Analyst at Forrester, most of the digital consumers
in India today are mobile consumers, doing multi-tasking on the go.

“Voice
has much bigger role to play in the circumstance, which is further verified by
the fact that 28 per cent of search queries in India are done by voice, and
Hindi voice search queries are growing at over 400 per cent year on year,”
she told IANS.

It gives
clear indication that voice will play a bigger role in India’s digital space in
near future.

“Smart
speaker will also play critical in this direction which is evident from their
increasing shipment and time spent by consumer on it,” Tiwai added.

According to
market research firm International Data Corp (IDC), the smart speakers’
category in India, led by Amazon, grew 43 per cent in the second quarter of
2018.

“I
personally believe that voice as a platform is going to lead the next wave of
content searches, social conservation, and eventually, it will also become the
medium of commerce, said Jaipal Singh, Senior Analyst, IDC India.

We already
have voice-enabled devices which help us set routines, automate home appliances
and provide on-demand information.

“In
terms of devices install base in 2018, it has significantly improved as vendors
have shipped a set of new devices ranging from mobile phones, ear pods, TVs and
smart speakers with voice assistants feature enabled on them,” Singh told
IANS.

This novelty
feature is really attracting a wide segment of users and obviously, millennials
and Gen Z are leading the adoption as they are more comfortable to experiment
with new technology.

According to
Singh, smart speakers are very popular among the kids who mostly use those for
educational content, listening mythological stories quizzing and playing games.

“However,
playing music and setting alarms, asking for information from the internet are
some of the popular tasks that Indian users prefer asking to voice
assistants,” the IDC analyst said.

There are
still concerns on users spending time with voice assistants as it is yet to get
the desired traction in India.

However,
refined use cases with localised experiences are expected to lead the desired
growth of voice-based devices in the coming years, the experts stressed.

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