Advanced Television

Research: Media device voice command grows

January 12, 2022

Findings from Hub Entertainment Research’s study, Voice Control: The Future Speaks, show that nearly all consumers have used voice commands to control at least some devices. But there are still roadblocks to voice control becoming the default method of tech interaction – chief among them, concerns about privacy.

Voice command is commonplace among consumers. Four in five (83 per cent) consumers ages 16 to 74 say they have used voice command to control one or more devices: smartphones, tablets, smart speakers, TV sets, computers, or in car technology. And almost two thirds (62 per cent) use voice command with at least one of those devices “all the time’ or ‘regularly.’

But even enthusiastic users are concerned about privacy.

  • Fifty-three per cent of regular users say that privacy concerns are on their mind when using voice commands. This is lower than in Hub’s previous study in 2019 (59 per cent), but still represents a majority of users.
  • Big privacy concerns are whether devices are listening even when not asked to (38 per cent are very concerned), and concerns about personal data voice-controlled devices might be collecting (39 per cent).
  • While these were also major concerns in Hub’s 2019 study, the level of concern has dropped. In 2019, 46 per cent of regular users were very concerned about unwanted listening, and 48 per cent about data collection.

While reliance on connected TVs as aggregators of video content is climbing, adoption of voice tech to control television has yet to click. Only one in five consumers (20 per cent) say they use voice commands with TVs, TV remotes, or TV-connected devices. And voice commands in these cases are used more often to search for programmes or movies and less often for device control such as volume adjustments or controlling playback (play/pause/stop).

  • Among non-users of TV voice command, two in five (42 per cent) say they have a TV-voice-capable device but just don’t use it. Why? Most just don’t think about it (32 per cent), or are used to not using voice commands for TV (30 per cent).
  • Among users, satisfaction with the performance of TV-related voice commands is high, with almost all (93 per cent) of users saying they are “very” (53 per cent) or “somewhat” satisfied (40 per cent). This indicates that if the industry can get people to sample TV voice commands, consumers are likely to enjoy the experience.

“Voice command is here to stay, and very likely will end up being the main way we interact with our media choices,” suggests David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study. “But there are hurdles to overcome – some as simple as getting people to try it, and some as complex as assuaging consumer privacy fears. As we often see with new tech, consumer education is needed throughout the adoption cycle.”



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