IoT Forecast: Over 442 Million Connected Devices Will Be Sold In The U.S. In 2020

Consumers are showing a strong preference for voice as the interface for these devices, said Parks Associates' Elizabeth Parks.

With intelligent personal assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home leading the way, connected device sales as a whole are on the rise: Over 442 million — including connected entertainment, mobile, health, and smart home devices — will be sold in 2020, according to an IoT forecast from Parks Associates announced at the company’s CONNECTIONS connected home conference.

But while there is immense growth on the horizon, the shift towards an increasingly intelligent, connected world is already very much in motion: In fact, voice-activated connected device usage jumped 130 percent in the past year alone.

“Voice control is the top trend for 2017 in the IoT and smart home,” said Elizabeth Parks, SVP, Parks Associates. “Parks Associates research shows U.S. consumers will buy more than 2.3 billion connected devices between 2015 and 2020, and they are showing strong preferences for voice as the interface for their devices. Companies in the smart home, entertainment, and connected car ecosystems are pursuing partnerships that can add voice control to a variety of solutions in the connected home.”

The Rise Of ‘Connected Intelligence’

These changes in the level of connectivity and personalized interaction that consumers are beginning to expect from their devices have some analysts already cautioning CMOs to shift budgets to “connected intelligence” — an umbrella term broadly encompassing “smart” technology like connected home devices and wearables as well as personal assistant devices classified as “intelligent” due to their underlying AI.

That’s all a bit wordy, but the idea is that the popularity of certain devices within this ecosystem — first fitness wearables, for example, and now intelligent assistants like Amazon Alexa designed to power diverse aspects of consumers’ lives — have increased overall comfort with the idea of a connected world. And, as competition between tech giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and others heats up, more devices with improved capabilities are coming on the market, boosting sales as well.

In other words, now is the time for marketers to think about designing experiences for connected devices — as well as to think about how to optimize their underlying data layer so that they are discoverable in the voice-based searches customers are now turning to these devices to make.

“We’ve only scratched the surface of what the connected home can do for consumers and companies,” said William Greene, Product Manager, Energy Services, Nest Labs. “At Nest, we’ve learned that combining connected devices with simple — yet sophisticated — software can meet the connected consumer’s expectations for reliability and convenience while opening new opportunities for engagement. In addition to creating happier and more loyal customers, this enhanced engagement can benefit companies and precipitate revolutionary changes in verticals like energy utilities. Every connected consumer represents an opportunity for huge advancements in engagement strategy, operational efficiency, and the realization of shared benefits across industries and regions.”

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Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.