Ten years of Siri
Will the voice assistant be able to talk to Alexa soon?
Siri has been accompanying many people through everyday life for ten years. What does the future look like for Apple’s voice assistant and the smart home?
With the release of Siri with the iPhone 4s ten years ago, the triumph of voice assistants in everyday life began. While the intelligent assistants were initially mainly distributed via smartphones, many consumers can hardly imagine a life without Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant.
65 percent of users in Germany who have smart home devices in their homes access them using voice commands. This is the result of a survey commissioned by the industry association Bitkom, for which more than 1,250 people aged 16 and over were interviewed. A year earlier it was 52 percent. “The smart home has become the main area of application for voice assistants,” explains Dr. Sebastian Klöß, Head of Consumer Technology at Bitkom. “Recently, not only have the fear of contact with voice control decreased, but also concerns about hacker attacks, for example.”
According to this, 41 percent of people in Germany currently have smart home devices in their homes. And 88 percent of them believe that networked helpers will find their way into every household in the future. Perhaps the new Standard Matter will be decisive here, as it could eliminate one of the biggest problems for users.
Everyone is finally talking to each other
Due to numerous different standards, customers currently have to limit themselves to products that can communicate with certain language assistants. Smart lamps from one manufacturer may only work with a specific assistant. An intelligent socket from another manufacturer, however, only with one additional helper. If you want to use multiple devices in your home, you are limited to one of the ecosystems if you don’t want to use multiple assistants. But that should change.
Under the mantle of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), more than 200 companies with around 2,000 developers are currently working on the new standard. These include big names such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Ikea. The Munich-based company Eve Systems will also be there, for which, according to Managing Director Jerome Gackel, the question is not whether Matter will be successful, but when. All companies involved have the same say in the development.
Today the devices speak many different languages, in the future maybe only one. Matter is supposed to be a smart home Esperanto, if you will. In the future, it should be the language that connects all devices with one another – regardless of which company they come from. So it shouldn’t matter whether you prefer to use a smart speaker with the support of Siri, Alexa or the Google Assistant, for example, to control a variety of devices from different manufacturers.
The devices then also have to assert themselves on the market through special functions or quality – and not just through belonging to an ecosystem. This should then also benefit consumers.
A network of threads
The preferred way of communication is thread. This is a new technology with which devices are to be networked better. A mesh network is set up via thread, in which smart devices can also communicate with one another. This helps, among other things, with the stability of a system. If one device fails, the next one can be communicated directly. In addition, thread should be significantly faster than Bluetooth, for example.
Eve Systems will offer a total of twelve products that work with Thread by the end of 2021. With Eve MotionBlinds, intelligent roller blinds should then be available from January 2022 and by the middle of next year the company wants to be the first company to have a Matter-certified product on the market. It doesn’t matter whether you operate this via Siri, Alexa or the Google Assistant. Finally, the device then speaks technical Esperanto.