Most people have likely seen someone walking around looking like they’re talking to themselves.
This is even more pronounced at airports, as many business travelers connect with clients or colleagues before jumping on a plane.
The communication, of course, is via an unseen smartphone, thanks to Bluetooth headsets or a small mic that’s part of a phone cord.
Sometimes they wear earphones to hear and when speaking, they hold up the phone as if it’s an extension of their chin.
At times, some of these people get a bit carried away, speaking as if they’re communicating across a conference table in a large meeting room. You’ve likely seen at least one of these, speaking loudly as if a person walking near them is the actual listener.
Now, good or bad, it looks like a lot of that behavior is moving inside the home as consumers verbalize commands to get connected objects to do something.
It could be turning lights on or off, playing music via Amazon Echo or controlling appliances from the couch.
The majority (64%) of smart home product owners already use a smartphone to control such devices, according to an online survey of 7,000 heads of households with Internet access, conducted by the NPD Group.
And most (73%) smart home owners use voice commands, with 61% of them wanting to use voice to control even more products in their homes.
One of the obvious drivers of smartphone usage to control or monitor smart objects is that the objects typically are designed to be run from a mobile app.
And family members are likely to hear more ‘speaking-to-no-one’ activities. Home automation sales are up 41% from the previous year, according to the survey. These range from smart thermostats to sensors, lighting and security systems, all of which can be addressed by voice.
While new screens in the home, like on new appliances or security systems, may look like a new marketing platform, it just may turn out that there’s more opportunity in voice interaction.
Marketers may have to figure how to literally become part of the conversation between consumers and things.