Smart sound solution analysis
- Categories:Company news
- Time of issue:2019-11-27
Smart sound solution analysis
Smart sound solution analysis
I. Overview of the Smart Audio Industry
Smart audio refers to intelligent terminal products with intelligent voice interaction system and Internet service content, and can expand more devices and content access. Smart audio is the addition of intelligent functions based on traditional audio. On the one hand, it has Wi-Fi connection for voice interaction; on the other hand, it can provide content services such as music and audiobooks, and Internet services such as APP applications. Smart home control. As a new smart hardware product, the smart audio market is huge. It is a tool for home consumers to use the voice to surf the Internet, such as ordering songs, shopping online, or understanding the weather. It can also control smart home devices, such as opening curtains, setting the temperature of refrigerators, and heating water heaters in advance.
Around 2013, smart speakers began to enter the domestic market, but at that time it was not called smart speakers but WiFi speakers. In terms of connection, it is more complicated than Bluetooth audio. It needs a smartphone to complete the connection to the network. After networking, it can play streaming music and other content. The development of Wi-Fi audio is not smooth. Since 2015, Wi-Fi audio on the market has gradually withdrawn from the stage, and everyone has stopped producing Wi-Fi audio, leaving only Bluetooth audio to continue to sell. From the market point of view, the wave of companies doing domestic Wi-Fi audio is generally closed or transformed.
After the demise of Wi-Fi audio in China in 2016, smart audio gradually began to enter everyone's horizons. There are two key time nodes, one is the opening of the Amazon Alexa platform, and the other is in January 2017 in Las Vegas CES (International Consumer Electronics Show) in Gas. With the opening of Amazon Alexa in 2016 and the popularity of Amazon Echo, two groups of people have risen in China. One wave began to study smart speakers to build a domestic voice interaction system. Another group of people rely on Alexa to start foreign trade and produce Smart speakers are exported overseas.
Traditional audio is connected to mobile phones, tablets, computers, and other devices through Bluetooth. The downloaded music resources are encoded by Bluetooth and transmitted to the audio for playback. Therefore, traditional audio functions more as a "speaker". Smart audio's better hardware performance and network connection capabilities make its advantages in music playback more obvious. On the one hand, smart speakers have higher bandwidth. Smart audio uses WiFi networking, with a bandwidth of more than 150Mbps, which facilitates lossless music transmission. The traditional Bluetooth audio bandwidth is generally 24Mbps, which is not enough to transmit high-quality music. Secondly, smart speakers can interact with multiple speakers, and multiple smart speakers can be networked to form a synchronous playback network, which can form synchronous playback in different rooms to improve the user experience At the same time, smart audio is connected to the cloud music library, which is rich in resources. The smart speaker itself can connect to various music APPs to play songs on the Internet. The Internet's massive music resources can be used by the smart speaker.
Smart audio has greatly expanded the capabilities of traditional audio. As far as music is concerned, smart audio not only retains but also has better inheritance and development. According to a survey of the reasons why users purchase smart speakers, listening to music is still the primary purpose, accounting for up to 90%, of which smart home equipment is controlled by 48%, and old audio is 36%.
Data source: public information
The 2017 Smart Audio Survey results released by NPR (National Public Radio) and Edison Research (a well-known research organization in the United States) show that nearly one-sixth (16%) of people in the United States own a smart speaker. If calculated according to the country's 320 million people (US Census Bureau, 3/26/2017), that is to say, 51.2 million people in the United States have smart speakers, and it is even more amazing that this number has increased by 128% compared to a year ago. According to Gartner Group, another authoritative consulting firm in the United States, by 2020, 75% of US households will have smart speakers.
According to the "China Smart Audio Market Analysis" report released by the authoritative research organization GfK (one of the world's five largest market research companies) in October 2017, China ’s smart audio retail volume in 2015 was only 10,000 units, which increased to 60,000 units in 2016. In January-August 2017, a total of more than 100,000 units were sold. With the launch of many new products in the third quarter of 2017, the sales volume of smart audio has made a significant leap. In August 2017 alone, the smart audio market reached a year-on-year growth rate of 178%. However, for 2017 as a whole, the two more important time points are actually November (Double 11) and December (Double 12). On the day of "Double 11" in 2017, Ali Tmall Elf Smart Audio that sold only 99 yuan (after coupon price) sold more than 1 million units. Of course, it is important to emphasize that the low-price promotion strategy is the key factor that led to its completion of millions of sales. . The smart audio Ding Dong TOP also broke through the million sales mark on the day of Double 11 Days. Similarly, the high sales volume of this smart audio, which only costs 49 yuan, is also a low-price promotion strategy. Other products such as Xiaomi AI Audio and Cool Dog Smart Audio also achieved rapid sales growth in November and December.
Analysis of Development Issues in the Smart Audio Industry
Voice interaction technology needs to be improved. In terms of intelligent audio interaction, voice technology is a hard power. The more devices that wake up and activate, the more frequently users use them. The better the speech recognition ability, reaction speed, and learning ability are trained, the more they will be recognized by users, and the more Can beat competitors to get more markets. Voice interaction involves a very complex technical chain, including core technologies such as acoustic processing, speech recognition, semantic understanding, and speech synthesis, as well as necessary technologies in interactive experiences such as algorithm noise reduction, sound source localization, and voiceprint recognition. Although Chinese companies such as Baidu and HKUST have also made good progress in terms of patent applications and technological breakthroughs in recent years, in general, the gap is still significant compared to the Silicon Valley giants. The reality is that domestic manufacturers are more focused on the innovation of "business models" such as content resource integration and sales channels, rather than creating a new business model or establishing core technological competitiveness barriers through technological breakthroughs.
The domestic market is immature. There are nearly a hundred (product / brand) companies that make smart audio products in overseas markets. If they expand to the entire smart audio industry chain (chips, software, testing, solutions, foundry, etc.), there are about thousands of participating companies. And there are a lot of companies that do smart audio around the domestic market. The domestic smart audio market is still in the early stages of the industry, and the market is immature. There are only dozens of (product / brand) companies doing domestic smart audio, such as Ali, Jingdong, and Xiaomi. , Go out and ask, Himalayan, etc. On the one hand, the research and development of domestic voice interaction technology needs to be improved and perfected, and the research and development of voice interaction technology is by no means affordable for small and medium-sized companies. This has set a technical industry threshold for many small and medium enterprises, making many small and medium enterprises interested in development but unable to move forward; On the one hand, the domestic market is far from up, and Xiaomi, Ali and JD.com have started a price war, which has led many companies to be blocked from the market by costs and prices.
Poor user interaction experience. At present, users generally report problems such as poor far-field recognition of smart audio, high rate of false awake, unstable continuous dialogue function, poor semantic understanding ability, and poor sound quality. Improving the interactive experience has become an important content of the development of smart audio. The essence of smart audio is still audio. At present, in order to provide convenient use and rich functions, most smart audio on the market adopt integrated design. However, the implementation of many applications requires a large amount of investment and the space of smart audio is limited. The sound quality of most smart speakers is slowly improving, and it is difficult to meet the user's demand for high-quality sound quality. The problem of sound quality has become a major focus for users. At present, the lower-priced smart audio products in the market have poor sound quality, but the smart audio products with excellent sound quality all start at a thousand yuan, and the high price of ordinary users has no intention to bear it.
The user's usage habits are to be cultivated. The kitchen and living room in the United States are open, and the housewife listens to music while cooking is in line with the real needs and scenes of American users. But in China, this may not have happened. Most of the pastimes of family members are watching TV and playing mobile phones. Therefore, there is a large difference in the demand for smart speakers between Chinese and American families, which also determines that the demand for smart speakers is very different and at the same time, it has led to such a huge gap in the popularity of smart speakers in China and the United States. But in general, the potential demand for China's smart audio market has always existed, just as broadcasting has prevailed in China. Although smart speakers have many functions and rich content resources at this stage, these do not meet the pain points of the users, or do not make the users form durable usage habits, and the lack of user usage habits directly leads to user stickiness and product recognition. Degree is low.
The process towards a smart home control hub is slow. As we all know, many large and medium-sized enterprises in China have laid out smart speakers. What they value is not the rich profits that their hardware can bring, but the vast value market that they can bring after the establishment of a smart home "control center" through voice interaction. . Since China has not yet established a complete smart home ecosystem, issues such as fragmented use scenarios and complex hardware operations have not been resolved. At the same time, domestic smart homes lack supporting regulations and unified standards, products are mixed, and consumer experience is poor. These two issues stem from the ecological environment of the smart home, which has led to a lack of fertile soil for the development of smart audio. At present, many consumers only experience “new products” with a curious mindset, and more of them regard smart speakers as decorations, rather than as home essentials, let alone to act as a smart home control center.
Third, future development trends
Get software profits. In the past few years, the price of smart audio was high. At that time, hardware profits were still the main value acquisition point. However, with the development of smart audio products and smart homes in recent years, the profits of smart audio products have declined. The profits of various content application services provided are increasing. Smart audio has rich content resources, and users can use various audio resources on the audio, such as music and audiobook content. For users, the basic music attributes of smart speakers are the basis for attracting their purchases. Expanded content applications based on voice interaction are the key to attracting their purchases, and this has also become the main point of profit growth. In the future, smart speakers will continue to enrich content applications to meet users' multiple needs for content. Each participating company will also carry the development logic of its own software content services with hardware, and vigorously develop its own unique software services such as music resources and related content resources through smart audio hardware to obtain more profits and market space.
The combination of voice and vision. At present, in the Chinese intelligent audio market, combination products that can be independently and jointly controlled are more mainstream, such as combining intelligent audio with tablets and wearable products to achieve dual interaction between voice and screen. Intelligent audio breakthrough innovation can start from two aspects of increasing user interaction and rich function applications to help users achieve more functions and penetrate more application scenarios. Compared with intelligent audio with pure voice interaction, intelligent audio with screen can enhance the experience of human-computer interaction. On the one hand, the touch screen can make the wake-up rate of smart speakers higher, which can solve the problem of low utilization of smart speakers; on the other hand, the multi-dimensional output mode of images and voices can not only enrich the output content, but also provide more Multi-intuitive interactive information, solves the problem of limited use scenarios of pure voice interaction. For example, you can further open up various scenarios such as shopping, watching movies, and video calls.
Improved sound quality. Sound quality is an important criterion for judging the quality of smart sound, and it should be placed at the core at all times. A smart sound function that is even more powerful will be rejected by users if the sound quality is not up to standard. Public data shows that since 2014, the poor sound quality of smart audio has been among the most criticized by users. As a smart audio product, sound quality is a key indicator that determines whether it will complete its breakthrough innovation and lead the industry's change. For participating companies in the intelligent audio industry, only by improving the sound quality can we better talk about the degree of intelligence and content resources. Therefore, smart audio products will inevitably return to sound quality while enriching functional applications, and improve the sound quality effect to a higher and more suitable level for functional applications.
Pay more attention to intelligent experience. The purpose of the birth of smart speakers is to bring rich and thoughtful Internet services to users, so that users can put down their phones and better enjoy high-quality music and life. In the future, more services that could only be completed through mobile phone apps will be transplanted into smart speakers. By accessing rich Internet services, smart speakers will become an Internet service distribution platform. At the same time, smart speakers will also pay more attention to the improvement of personalized technology and emotional interaction experience. For example, more customized wake-up words, personalized speech synthesis, voiceprint + face recognition, ARVR and other personalized functions will appear on smart speakers. With the continuous advancement of artificial intelligence technology and the AI chip, intelligent voice technology will further penetrate into production and life. Voice will become a form of new human-computer interaction. Intelligent audio will make intelligent audio available through more universal product forms. Thinking ability is embedded in any product.
Become the control center of smart home. Among the many products that have been identified as possible entrances to smart homes, smart TVs, smart phones, and smart speakers are the three most highly anticipated smart products. Among them, smart audio is different from the other two possible entrances for input and output in the form of voice. With the continuous development of artificial intelligence technology, the call for smart audio to become the mainstream entrance is getting higher and higher, the reason is that as voice interaction technology continues to mature As a voice interaction carrier, smart speakers will gradually outperform smart phones and smart TVs in the convenience and experience of controlling smart homes. In the future, smart speakers are expected to become the control center of smart homes and become an open platform that connects smart TVs, lights, air conditioners, etc. in the home, and can control other smart homes through voice interaction.