What’s Next for Voice Control?

Digital Assistants, Smart Speakers and the IoT

Voice control is shaping up to be a game changer. Despite their relative novelty, digital voice assistants, smart speakers and other connected, voice-first devices are already having a dramatic impact on consumer behavior. They are helping people search for information, conduct business, consume content and shop in more natural and frictionless ways. This report examines the state of the market for these technologies and what’s likely to happen next.

  • Voice control technologies represent the next phase in the evolution of human-machine interaction. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI), data collection and cloud computing—and the expansion of the internet of things (IoT)—are propelling the market.
  • Consumers worldwide are using voice control on a burgeoning number of smart devices, including smartphones and smart speakers. Currently, the US is the largest market, followed by China and South Korea.
  • Top voice platform providers around the world are engaged in fierce competition to win over consumers to use their tech. Companies in the technology, retail, telecom, services and hardware sectors are locked in battle to “own” a variety of ecosystems, including personal mobile devices, smart homes, cars and workplaces.
  • As adoption grows, the industry will turn its attention toward monetization models. Different companies are likely to pursue different strategies, based on their core lines of business.
  • A glut of incompatible voice assistants and devices will frustrate consumers and force more standardization and interconnectivity. This may ultimately help the technologies reach their full potential.

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Table of Contents

  1. Voice Control Is the Next Big Thing
  2. The Market Is Global
  3. A ‘Voice Race’ Is Escalating
  4. A Land Grab for Ecosystems
  1. Voice Control Gets Early High Marks
  2. Monetization Models Will (Eventually) Emerge
  3. Key Takeaways
  4. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Chris Papaleo
Executive Director, Emerging Technology
Interviewed May 21, 2018
Preston So
Acquia Labs
Director, Research and Innovation
Interviewed May 9, 2018
Dylan Collins
Interviewed March 15, 2018
Tom Goodwin
Executive Vice President and Head of Innovation
Interviewed April 17, 2018
Ryan Jones
SEO Director
Interviewed May 4, 2018
Christopher Lundquist
Vice President, Strategy and Consulting
Interviewed April 23, 2018
Jeff Malmad
Mindshare North America
Managing Director, Head of Life+
Interviewed May 18, 2018
Susan Panico
Senior Vice President, Strategic Solutions
Interviewed April 12, 2018
Nick Pino
Home Entertainment Techradar
Senior Editor
Interviewed May 17, 2018
Doug Robinson
Fresh Digital Group
Interviewed May 22, 2018
Tom Sepanski
Director, Verbal Identity and Naming Practice
Interviewed May 17, 2018
Christopher Neff
The Community
Senior Director, Innovation


Victoria Petrock


Caroline Cakebread
Junior Analyst
Sean Creamer
Jeane Han
Senior Researcher
Chris Keating
Research Director
Man-Chung Cheung
Research Analyst
Jennifer Pearson
VP, Research
Jaimie Chung
Associate Product Manager