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2019 industry trends for smart living gadgets

2019 industry trends for smart living gadgets
Devices with a smart assistant built-in are becoming the biggest trend. Smart assistants are rapidly emerging as the rising cornerstone of the consumer IoT ecosystem.
Smart assistants have appeared in various home appliances in the last couple of years, from smart thermostat, smart light switch, smoke detector to TV remote, soundbar and lamp. Gadgets that used to be the “must-have” in homes are having smart assistants built-in, saving users the extra effort to place smart speaker at home while increase the chance consumers will purchase the smart devices.
“Devices with a smart assistant built-in are becoming the biggest trend. Smart assistants are rapidly emerging as the rising cornerstone of the consumer IoT ecosystem,” said Adam Wright, a senior analyst at IDC.
In addition to Alexa and Google Assistant, Samsung’s Bixby could gain greater popularity in 2019. In May, the South Korean tech giant announced it will bring Bixby into all of its products, a total of 14 million units, by 2020; in August, the company’s first smart speaker, the Galaxy Home, was unveiled and planned for shipping by the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019.
Bixby had some major updates this year with natural language processing, to better block out noise capability and to shorten the response time. Homeowners are able to initiate automation with various command orders. When they say “It’s hot today,” for example, the air conditioner at home will be automatically turn on; or they can simply say “good night” to switch off televisions and put air conditioners into sleep mode.

Samsung has just allowed all third-party developers to create their Bixby voice skills. In addition to English and Korean, Bixby will also be rolled out in German, Italian, French, Spanish and UK English in the coming months. How the new voice platform performs in the trending voice technology will be closely watched in the industry next year.

Cooking with intelligence

Smart kitchen, a concept that every device in the kitchen helps to make cooking easier at home, has also gained traction in the smart home market.
Startup innit has built partnership with LG and Google, connecting innit’s connected food platform with Google Assistant and LG’s smart ovens.
AI cooking app Chefling began working with Bosch Home Connect to bring about automated cooking experience through Bosch’s cooking appliances.
Cooking Platform SideChef has partnered with GE, LG and Amazon for the Echo devices, bringing coordinated cooking automation commands to modern homes.
Smart Kitchen is not about having just one connected appliance in the kitchen. Instead, it requires every hardware device to be connected, a central platform to control all the devices and an interface to let users choose recipes and monitor all the devices. To that end, more and more kitchen appliances will become connected in 2019 to fulfill the smart kitchen vision.
“One major difference between the smart home and the smart kitchen is that with the home, you are essentially turning things on and off: locks, cameras, lights, TVs. In the kitchen, consumers want appliances to help them make omelets one day and lasagna the next. A cook needs appliances to work in a coordinated way to help make different recipes every day,” said Kevin Yu, founder and CEO of SideChef.
Yu expects appliance makers to introduce smart refrigerators that can manage food inventory and to connect smart ovens to enable digital guided cooking experience in 2019. “It’s providing the most important component the smart kitchen needs to kick off - connectivity as a standard in all devices,” said Yu.

Streamline experience from home to work

Due to deep integration between Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa, voice assistants are used both in offices and homes more often. With in-car installation, the voice assistant is expected to serve users all day cross contexts.

With the launch of Alexa for Business, voice assistant was introduced to the office in 2018. This voice platform controllable and customizable by companies’ IT departments let employees organize voice meetings or physical meeting rooms with their voice. Companies including WeWork, Condé Nast, GE, Brooks Brothers, Saint Louis University and MicroStrategy have adopted this new voice applications in the work environment.
Each Alexa-empowered device also supports Cortana applications, and vice versa. In other words, users can access the two voice assistants via Echo speakers, Windows 10 PCs and third-party gadgets with Alexa built-in. They can say “Hi Alexa, open Cortana” or “Hey Cortana, open Alexa” to switch between the two.

The two assistants can serve users in the office to book a meeting room, in the car to adjust the temperature at home or at home to play their favorite Spotify music. The integration fulfills the all-around assistant experience, bringing voice assistant out of the private space.

Home entertainment devices and North America lead the market

2019 will be an exciting year for the smart home market. Industry players will make strategy changes in each segment and bring about overall growth.
Video entertainment devices, such as smart TVs and digital media adapters, will represent the largest share in shipment units and value, according to IDC’s forecast for 2019. Geographically North America will lead the rest of the world in shipment units and value, “due in part to the region’s saturation of home broadband subscriptions which serve as the foundation for consumers to embark on their smart home journeys,” said IDC analyst Wright.

The smart home market’s growth “will further be driven in part by rising broadband penetration and disposable incomes in developing countries, although consumer concerns around privacy, security, costs and interoperability will constrain the market’s development for the near future,” said Wright.
As the broadband penetration rises in Asia Pacific, Latin America and EMEA regions in the near future, users from these markets will also start to adopt smart home devices and contribute more shipment numbers to the quarterly industry report.
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