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Only 6% of smart speaker owners using them to control smart home devices

A new survey of smart speaker owners found that only 6% of them are currently using the device to control smart home devices like lighting and heating.

Interestingly, even for HomePod – which is a very music-focused device – playing music was only the third most common use …

The IHS Markit study found that answering a question and checking the news or weather led the way, with discovering and controlling music in third place. Controlling other smart home devices is currently the least common use of a smart speaker.

However, the company told us this is expected to change rapidly.

“Controlling smart home devices by voice currently represents only a small fraction of total smart-speaker interactions,” said Blake Kozak, principal analyst, smart home, IHS Markit. “However, this category will continue to trend upward as more video-streaming devices come to rely on voice control, as security alarm systems adopt voice control to arm and disarm, and as more builders embed smart devices throughout new homes.”

The firm counted some 4,100 connected devices on the market at the beginning of this year, and says it is only a matter of time before voice becomes the primary means of controlling them.

While devices like thermostats, connected appliances and door locks are important in their own rights, smart speakers will ultimately be the primary disruptor for smart home deployments, and the means by which consumers interact with all other devices.

One driver of connected devices is expected to be the insurance industry, likely offering premium discounts for those who use anti-flood devices.

IHS Markit estimates that by the end of 2018, more than 1 million home policies across North America will include at least one connected home device – most likely water-leak sensors, flow detectors or shutoff valves. Moreover, there will be about 450,000 smart speakers connected to insurance companies by end of this year.

The survey was carried out across the US, UK, Japan, Germany and Brazil among 937 smart speaker owners.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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