Smart speakers have quickly evolved from bizarre niche technology to a must-have device, with all of the major vendors tripping over themselves to try and steal some market share from Amazon and it’s Echo line. If you’re going to have a smart speaker in your home, the next thing you need to figure out is which AI virtual assistant that smart speaker should be built around.
Amid reports that Amazon controls 70-plus percent of the voice-controlled smart speaker market with its Echo devices, a new product from Harman Kardon offers the Microsoft Cortana AI, and there are rumors that Apple is working on a Siri-enabled device.
It wasn’t that long ago that this niche device didn’t even exist, and when Amazon first introduced the Echo there was some cynicism about whether anyone would even want such a device. I mean, most people already have a smartphone—which means they already have access to voice-assisted AI through Siri, Cortana, OK Google, or some other means. The question was whether or not anyone would even be interested in a standalone device that pretty much just listens to everything you say so you can interact with it. Apparently, the answer was, “Yes.”
Sitting on my desk right now I have my Surface Book running Windows 10, my iPhone charging, and an Echo Dot from Amazon. If I want to know what the weather is outside, I can say “Alexa”, “Hey Siri”, or “Hey Cortana”, and some virtual assistant will respond.
Most people don’t want or need to have every AI virtual assistant at their disposal, though. It’s probably better to settle on one. The question is, “Which one?”
My answer to that question is based on essentially the same logic I have used in the past for selecting a mobile platform. I do not believe that Windows is better than Mac OS X, or vice versa. I do not believe that Android is inherently better than iOS, or vice versa. I do not believe that Microsoft Office is better than Google Doc…oh wait. Yes I do. I definitely think Microsoft Office is better than Google Docs. But, if you disagree and choose Google Docs, that decision has implications for your computer and mobile device choices.
Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and the “right” platform for you is largely a function of your own personal preferences. However, once you have selected one of those, it makes sense to choose complimentary devices that integrate with your platform of choice. The same goes for the smart speaker you choose for your living room or kitchen counter.
Read the full story on Forbes: How To Choose The Right Smart Speaker For You.