Everyone is talking at CES® in Las Vegas this week about all of the applications and tools for Smart Speaker / Voice Assistant products. And STMicroelectronics has something to say too, with an IoT Voice and Edge demo at CES that shows Smart Home voice control with a BlueCoin or SensorTile reference design via BlueVoice link to an Amazon AVS Gateway on an STM32F769 Discovery board. The end-to-end solution and reference design for Smart Home includes voice front end, cloud connectivity and edge computing and supports different cloud providers.
From a standing start in 2014, Amazon’s Echo has jumped out to the early lead in the new and fast-growing market – Gartner credits Amazon with 67% of the market – Google Home is a strong number 2 (25% share), and Apple’s HomePod, among others are expected to make a significant impact.
Interest is growing globally, too: Korea’s Samsung has disclosed plans for its product and China’s Baidu used CES to launch three of its own smart speakers with different core functions: a lamp, a ceiling-mounted projector, and a screen.
While the early-generation smart speaker products from big-name tech giants have simplified getting the forecast, setting reminders and appointments, answering questions, and controlling the lights, developers of these Personal Assistants recognize the power of their products as microphones into the Internet of Things. So too, do other players with somewhat less powerful relationships with consumers. Still, those players want to get in the voice-controlled game.
These players are developing focused approaches to serve their special niches. For example LG, Sonos, and Roku, among others, are aiming specifically at giving consumers easier access to entertainment with stand-alone applications that could be embedded in a TV, for example. Some of them are also exploring opportunities to work with products from the pioneers. All of these are creating and expanding the Smart Home.
But the home isn’t the only place where voice-control is making inroads and making things Smarter. The office and Industrial markets also present an exciting opportunity where workers could control machinery with voice commands.
All of these opportunities play to ST’s product strengths, where the company is a leader in microcontrollers, sensors and actuators, power and power management, and communications technologies; all of the key components required for Internet of Things applications.