Voice control on the rise for security systems, IHS Markit says

Convenience and consumer choice among factors pushing voice forward
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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

LONDON—IHS Markit, a research firm based here, recently released findings that forecast an uptick coming for voice activation in security systems.

IHS Markit examined ways that intruder alarm users interact with their systems, including the more traditional keypad or fob as well as apps or potentially voice, and how popular methods will be in coming years. “In the latest update to our Global Remote Monitoring Services Report, which forms a key part of the Intruder Alarms and Monitoring Services Intelligence Service, we looked at the number of smart speakers, but also other connected devices which are increasingly attached to professionally monitored systems,” report author and IHS Markit analyst Anna Sliwon told Security Systems News.

“Globally, 92 percent of intruder alarm systems sold in 2017 were operated by either keypad or key fob; however, this category is expected to fall to 81 percent by 2022,” the report highlighted, and the firm expects the percentage of voice operated alarm system to increase at a CAGR of 7 percent between 2017 and 2022.

“In 2017 21 percent of residential professionally monitored intruder alarm systems had additional connectivity and functionality beyond primary alarm signaling, which will grow at a CAGR of 17 percent to reach 35 percent by 2022,” Sliwon noted in the recently released findings.

“Looking at the intruder alarms industry, you look at several things. You look at the technologies available in the systems as well as the functionality that they offer. Traditionally, looking at all [of the] physical, everyone says that it is just slow to innovate and come up with new products or new functionality,” Sliwon said. “With the influx of the Internet of Things technologies, and various connected devices, home automation devices, smart lights or smart blinds—consumers have started … demanding more functionality from their traditional intrusion systems.”

Devices like the Amazon Echo offer integration with other home automation devices, and that prompted manufacturers to think about how to incorporate the technology into intrusion systems, Sliwon said.

Voice control offers a good selling technique, such as through including a voice assistant device with alarm systems, said Sliwon. “When you’re approaching a customer, they are presented with a system which can basically very well integrate into their daily living, it makes sure that it protects their property, but also makes the whole process of interacting with the system much easier, and simpler, and nicer.”

Convenience is a main benefit of voice integration, Sliwon said. Consumers value choice, such as with the products they have, she noted, and voice interaction gives users a choice of how to interact with their system.

Advanced voice recognition could potentially increase security if incorporated in the future, Sliwon added.

When looking at the drawbacks to voice control, “one has to be aware where voice control technology … is right now,” said Sliwon. “The level of its advancement is still not at the level that everyone is hoping for.”

Perception of voice assistants is one draw back, Sliwon said. Devices like Google Home “listen” for a wake-up term, and then they start recording conversations. “It still creates that perception that there’s someone in the house that’s actively listening to me, and that may put off some of the consumers from actually choosing the voice assistant and choosing to integrate them with their intrusion systems,” she said. “With all the connected devices, this is going to be slowly evolving into a way of living where it’s natural.”

Another drawback is the potential for recordings with a voice assistant to be intercepted. This is problematic when users have to provide a pin code to disarm their intrusion system. Connecting more devices into an intrusion system also means more concerns about compromising the cybersecurity of the network and the system.

“We are still at early, early stages of deploying voice control in intrusion systems. Therefore, the operational side of things still has to be worked out in terms of what [is] the safest way, and what is still the most convenient way,” Sliwon said.