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Smart speakers surpass novelty stage, go mainstream

(TECH NEWS) Smart speakers, once considered gimmicks, are now the leading reason behind smart home implementation and app adoption as the tech goes mainstream.

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Once considered a response to a niche market, smart speakers are everywhere now – and with options like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and upcoming Apple products, it’s easy to see why.

As the idea of smart speakers becomes more normalized in our homes, analysts expect to see an upswing in the number of speakers implemented by the end of this year.

As with any new technology, smart speaker sales started out with a healthy degree of skepticism; with over 11 percent of Americans now owning a smart speaker (a number that’s grown almost three percent from this past June), that skepticism appears to be dissolving.

In fact, the sheer number of households that own smart speakers seems poised to rise even higher, with sources like comScore predicting that as many as 15 percent of all homes in America will own a smart speaker by the beginning of next year.

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Similarly to how smartphones began easing into the market during their inception, smart speakers are slowly becoming more and more relevant to the everyday consumer.

One of the more interesting aspects of the smart speaker boom is its effect on smart homes in general. Smart speakers tend to act as gateway devices, prompting consumers to buy more smart items – thermostats, lighting, and smart TVs, to name a few—which in turn facilitates the birth of yet another true smart home rather than just a house with a smart item in it.

The accessibility of a smart speaker in comparison to the accessibility of another smart home device is one possible reason for this effect; the fact remains that homes with smart speakers are much more likely to begin pushing toward higher smart home implementation than those without, and the number of homes with smart speakers is expected by all to continue to rise.

Smart speakers (and thus smart speaker apps) are rapidly becoming big players in the tech market, but the most important part of their mainstream inclusion lies in smart home conversion. It seems logical to expect that, in 2018, we will see a sharp upswing in both smart speaker sales and smart home adoption across the board.

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Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

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