According to Consumer Electronics Show (CES) researchers, the voice-commanded virtual assistants packed into speakers and other devices will be a “game-changing” trend this year.

The two researchers, Lesley Rohrbaugh and Steve Koenig, who are the organizers of CES trade event, are expecting sales of smart speakers to be nearly doubled in the US, to $3.8 billion.

“That market is not just heating up, it is a wildfire,” Koenig said while discussing industry trends expected to play out at CES and globally in the coming year.

“Compatibility with digital assistants has become table stakes (in the consumer electronics industry).”

With great accessibilities such as being able to order items, select music, get information, and more by speaking to digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana has been such a hit that pressure will be on for more ways to interact with machines using voice, the researchers predicted.

At the same time, artificial intelligence will improve, with machines getting better at thinking like people, anticipating desires, and holding conversations instead of simply taking orders, according to Rohrbaugh.

The CES show-floor was expected to be rife with appliances, televisions, vehicles, speakers, robots, and more augmented with virtual assistant software such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant or Samsung’s Bixby.

“We will truly be able to converse with our AI devices,” Rohrbaugh said while envisioning where smart speaker technology was heading. “AI is going to know you and you will be able to trust the device.”


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