Press Release

STAMFORD, Conn., August 24, 2017 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says Worldwide Spending on VPA-Enabled Wireless Speakers Will Top $3.5 Billion by 2021

Enterprise Adoption Will Start in 2019 With Hospitality, Communications and Remote Healthcare Applications

End-user spending for the worldwide virtual personal assistant (VPA)-enabled wireless speaker market is forecast to reach $3.52 billion by 2021, up from $0.72 billion in 2016, according to Gartner, Inc.

"The market for VPA-enabled wireless speakers, such as the Amazon Echo devices and Google Home, is expanding rapidly with more vendors, device types and use cases," said Werner Goertz, research director at Gartner. "We expect a temporary slowing of growth in 2018, as other devices, such as lighting systems, hubs and Wi-Fi mesh devices, adopt VPA functionality, especially in connected home scenarios."

Beginning in 2019, third-generation VPA speaker products will start shipping with some artificial intelligence (AI) functions running on the device rather than in the cloud. Gartner expects these AI-enabled VPA speakers to use edge-device, machine-learning capabilities to enhance latency, alleviate privacy/security issues and utilize bandwidth more efficiently.

VPAs in the Enterprise

Although the VPA speaker is currently thought of as a consumer device, in 2019, starting with the hospitality and remote healthcare industries, enterprise adoption will drive further market growth through a fragmented portfolio of specialist devices.

"In healthcare, remote diagnostics and elder care applications will be enabled by VPA speakers. The cost of hardware and services will, at least in part, be subsidized by healthcare ecosystem partners who are likely to gain substantial efficiencies, and encourage patient adoption," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "Specialist VPA speakers with custom-made hardware and software configurations will roll out in the retail sector in 2020 and beyond. New self-service, voice-based shopping and payment experiences will be enabled, reducing friction in the bricks-and-mortar as well as e-commerce shopping environments."

By 2020, Enterprises' Data Privacy Will Not Be a Concern for 90 Percent of the Target Market

"Concurrent with the introduction of the Amazon Echo in 2014 were reports about personal devices 'snooping' on private conversations in the home," said Mr. Goertz. "Understandably, consumers raised concerns about intrusions into private conversations."

Although concerns over privacy have little technical merit — the device has no processing capability unless the trigger word is recognized — market psychology is a current obstacle. Gartner believes that by 2020, such concerns will have largely been mitigated through educational efforts, adoption by peers and regulatory approvals of the device category. By that time, lingering concerns will be confined to a percentage of the market that is small enough to be insignificant.

More detailed analysis is available to Gartner clients in the report "Forecast Snapshot: VPA-Enabled Wireless Speakers, Worldwide, 2016-2021."

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Additional analysis on AI and other emerging trends will be presented during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017, the world's most important gathering of CIOs and other senior IT executives. IT executives rely on these events to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to overcome business challenges and improve operational efficiency. Follow news and updates from the events on Twitter using #GartnerSYM.

Upcoming dates and locations for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo include:

September 18-21, Cape Town, South Africa

October 1-5, Orlando, Florida

October 23-26, Sao Paulo, Brazil

October 30-November 2, Gold Coast, Australia

October 31-November 2, Tokyo Japan

November 5-9, Barcelona, Spain

November 13-16, Goa, India

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About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading research and advisory company. The company helps business leaders across all major functions in every industry and enterprise size with the objective insights they need to make the right decisions. Gartner's comprehensive suite of services delivers strategic advice and proven best practices to help clients succeed in their mission-critical priorities. Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has more than 15,000 associates serving clients in 11,000 enterprises in 100 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

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