Own a smart TV with built-in AI voice control or a digital assistant like an Amazon Echo or Google Home capable of operating a network of smart home devices? You’ve got a lot of company.

Thanks to voice-control smart devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo Plus speakers, the use of digital assistants to control smart home products is exploding and is forecast to reach global shipments of 555 million devices by 2024, up from 105 million this year, according to recent forecasts from U.K.-based market research firm Juniper Research.

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According to a report on TV programming-industry trade-site Advanced-Television.com, Juniper reported the findings through its newly released study entitled: “Smart Homes: Strategic Opportunities, Business Models & Competitive Landscape 2019-2024.” The study indicates that digital voice assistants are becoming an essential element in so-called smart homes, because they enable seamless control and interoperability running platforms that work with disparate smart devices and control systems.

The research firm, which had earlier predicted nearly 8 billion total digital voice assistants to be in use by 2023, said the “Do It For Me” model is gaining ground.

Linked to this, the report said it expects home automation revenues will exceed $57 million by 2024, up from $18 million in 2019 and that smart security solutions will lead the way.

Leading the way in this new ecosystem is Amazon, behind its Alexa voice-control platform that offers advanced hub features. The e-commerce giant has made heavy investments from its Alexa Fund, and is providing other manufacturers with access to its Alexa Skills to help kick start a global network of third-party apps. Further, the company has made key investments to build up its own portfolio of IP and productions by acquiring young and popular new smart device companies including Blink, Ring and eero, the report pointed out.

Similarly, Google is building its base with the acquisiton of Nest, and adding its voice Assistant capabilities in a new range of devices including the Google Nest Hub Max. Furthermore, Jupiter expects Google will expand its investment in AI to add more intelligent and autonomous functionality to the home along with new partnerships and products to offer a competitive ecosystem.

Other leading platform providers include: Samsung (through its SmartThings platform), Deutsche Telekom (through B2B and B2C solutions its white label and Magenta platform) and TP-Link.

As part of this, the market research found that subscription-based smart home security packages are now being successfully deployed by more players, including Hive, Vivint Smart Home and TP-Link, using new value propositions offering extra cloud storage, new devices and superior video quality.

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Much of the new growth is being driven by particiption of China-based device and indicates that as much as 90% of voice assistants are being used to control smart home devices.

Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturers, including Huawei, iFlytek and Baidu continue to build and advance new voice assistants for their domestic market, where market penetration is still quite low. But Juniper Research said it expects affordably positioned smart speakers to drive smart assistant adoption and usage in China, and in turn compatible smart home devices, to more than 100 million smart homes in 2024, up from just 4 million this year.

However, the report indicates that these manufacturers will have a tougher time expanding smart products outside of China, due primarily to security concerns raised in the United States with regard to Huawei. Indeed, the potential for digital eavesdropping through voice assistants and similar devices stands as the biggest impediment to the growth of some of these companies in Western markets.

By Greg Tarr

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