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Smart Home Speakers Now Echo In Indian Houses

If you have not engaged in a conversation with virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home on smart speakers in your living home yet, this is the time to start one.

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lot of awareness is still required among users to understand how the speakers work.

If you have not engaged in a conversation with virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home on smart speakers in your living home yet, this is the time to start one.

Voice is the new human-compute interface and the Indian masses — be it a 3-year-old toddler or a 65-year-old grandpa — are finally going to leverage voice to interact with the devices and digitally control their lives.

Smart home speakers are today helping people perform routine activities such as making voice calls, streaming music, reading eBooks, accessing news, knowing about weather and traffic updates and much more.

Among all smart home devices, smart speakers are one of the fastest adopted technologies in India and have a 97 per cent satisfaction rate among Indian consumers, said an Accenture report this month.

smart speakers
Smart Speakers are used widely in Indian Households,Pixabay

Half of online consumers globally now use digital voice assistants, led by emerging markets such as India with 72 per cent adoption.

“It goes with our behaviour, irrespective of age that we ‘call’ someone for help. Very rarely will we type for help. With the elderly, it removes all the hassles of maneuvering through the menus, apps (while ordering food online). It makes the life simple,” Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Principal Analyst of market research firm techARC, told IANS.

When it comes to the Indian market, American online retail giant Amazon’s Echo line-up of smart speakers appeals more to the masses than its rival Internet giant Google’s home speakers.

According to market research firm International Data Corp (IDC), the smart speakers category in India, led by Amazon, grew 43 per cent in the second quarter of 2018. Amazon with its Echo range of smart speakers led the category with 59 per cent market share, closely followed by Google.

Amazon’s Echo line-up of speakers has primarily focused on building its voice ecosystem around everyday services such as booking cabs on Uber, ordering food via and streaming Amazon’s own Prime Music service.

They can be also used to make Amazon purchases, turning on lighting and songs when prompted.

“With increasing adoption and satisfaction levels of smart speaker technology in India, we will see digital voice assistants influencing the whole consumer technology and service ecosystem in a way that no other device, including smartphones, has done before,” said Aditya Chaudhuri, Managing Director and lead in Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology practice in India.

TV
Smart televisions are becoming a popular trend.

The Accenture survey showed that 96 per cent of Indian consumers expect their home device purchases, such as smart TVs or computers, to be based on ease of integration with their standalone smart speaker.

“We are clearly heading towards a time in the not-too-distant future when voice becomes a standard mode of technology interaction alongside established approaches like keyboard mouse and touchscreen,” said David Watkins, Director at Strategy Analytics.

Highlighting the effect of smart speakers in our lives, Kawoosa said that while it is enabling more smartness to the tech space, it is also raising concerns like privacy.

“The technology, however, has a lot of power to redefine our future and the way we interface with devices as well as other things in the environment,” he added.

A lot of awareness is still required among users to understand how the speakers work.

In March last year, several Echo users complained of strange, unprompted laughter as the gadgets, equipped with Alexa, were responding with a slightly unnerving laugh when owners asked it to perform the simplest of tasks.

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“This anecdotally means ‘deewaron ke bi kaan hote hain’ (even the walls have ears). This is something users have to be aware of and be a bit more cautious while dealing with such devices who simply can listen and hear you,” said Kawoosa.

To make Alexa appeal more to the Indian users, Amazon has taught her Hindi and regional language phonetics to let her pronounce names of important places, events and places. Currently, Alexa supports English with an Indian accent in the country.

(IANS)

Next Story

Festival Sales by Amazon, Flipkart Violating FDI Norms

“Such festive sales offering deep discounts are nothing but influencing the prices directly or indirectly which is a clear violation of the policy,” it said

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Amazon, online retailer, Drones
The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

Reiterating its demand for ban on festival sales by Amazon and Flipkart, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Tuesday said that the two e-commerce majors are flouting the norms for foreign direct investment (FDI) by carrying out festival sales.

The traders’ body urged the Commerce Minister to look into the violation of the FDI policy by these e-commerce companies and impose a ban on the declared festival sales. It also urged the government to institute an investigation into the business models of these companies.

“Holding such sales and offering deep discounts are clear violations of Press Note No.2 of FDI policy 2018. The CAIT has earlier written to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to ban the declared festival sales by these e-commerce portals,” a CAIT statement said.

“CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal strongly opposed the statements of Amazon and Flipkart that appeared in media couple of days back that they empower the sellers on their respective platforms to decide the prices and offer their choice of selection to customers at the prices they deem fit and offer best value of their products to consumers.

“The said statement of both the companies are devoid of any logic and just an eye wash to keep right the wrong practices they are conducting on their platform,” it said.

Flipkart Buys Back Shares Worth $350 mn.
New e-commerce norms to impact e-tailers: Flipkart. IANS

Khandelwal also said that these companies are indulging in blatant violation of the FDI policy of the Centre. CAIT noted that the key provisions of the FDI policy say that 100 per cent FDI is allowed in the e-commerce marketplace model and under which e-commerce companies can act only act as technical platforms.

The policy clearly says that e-commerce entities will not influence the prices directly or indirectly and shall maintain a level playing field, the statement said.

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“Since these e-commerce companies are not owners of the inventory how can they offer deep discounts on the inventory hold by the sellers registered on their platform. As per policy, it should be the seller offering discounts but in this case the discounts are offered by e-commerce companies which is again a violation of e-commerce policy.

“Such festive sales offering deep discounts are nothing but influencing the prices directly or indirectly which is a clear violation of the policy,” it said. (IANS)