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Smart speaker ownership is on the rise, albeit slower than expected, and those who own them are becoming more and more comfortable using voice technology. However, smart speaker owners may not know all that their devices truly have to offer, with a new report [download page] by NPR and Edison finding that 7 in 10 smart speaker owners agree that they don’t know enough about their smart speaker to use all of its features.

NPR’s research found that the number of smart speakers in US households increased by 78% year-over-year in December 2018 to reach a total of 118.5 million smart speakers owned. The quantity of smart speakers per household has also increased. Only 17% of smart speaker owners said they owned three or more smart speakers in 2017. In just one year, three or more smart speaker households reached 30%.

Smart speaker owners are using their devices to do things like play music (77%), get the weather (75%), answer a general question (74%), setting a timer or alarm (53%) or checking the time (53%). However, when asked if they have used their smart speaker in the past week to control household devices in the past week, almost three-quarters (73%) said they had not.

So, for those companies who are developing smart speaker skills, what are the best avenues to reach owners to educate them on these skills? Good old-fashioned word-of-mouth may be one answer. The largest proportion (45%) of respondents who own a smart speaker discover new skills or action for their smart speaker through recommendations from friends or family.

One-third (34%) of owners say they learn about new skills for their smart speaker from emails from the smart speaker brands. Another 3 in 10 say they discover new skills by search their smart speaker app, while one-quarter (24%) actually learn through recommendations from their smart speaker.

What skills do owners wish their smart speaks were capable of? More than half (55%) say they would be interested in having a feature where the smart speaker called 911 if multiple smoke alarms went off in the home. One-quarter (24%) of respondents also said they would be interested in their smart speaker being equipped with a function that would recommend mental health resources if it detected depressed or suicidal feelings.

To find read more, you can download the full report here.

About the Data: The report was put together using data from a national online survey of US adults (age 18 years and older). A total of 812 respondents own a smart speaker while 829 respondents do not own a smart speaker.

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