A new report from ABI Research predicts that the integration of smart home technology will fuel the widespread adoption of home robotics. The firm notes that while consumers have been slow to warm to residential robotics, the introduction of smart home features – and voice control in particular – would drastically increase the appeal and utility of such devices, to the point that ABI expects there to be a robot in 79 million homes by 2024.
“Artificial Intelligence and voice recognition are the two smart home integrations needed to bring personal/social robots to life,” said ABI Smart Home Research Director Jonathan Collins.
ABI’s report goes on to divide the home robotics market into two distinct segments. On the one hand, there are care robots like the Roomba that were built to perform one specific task. On the other, there are companion robots that are able to interact with people in a more human way.
So far, the care robots have been a much easier sell for consumers. However, ABI suggests that virtual assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home could pave the way for companion robots in the future, as the companies add robotic capabilities to their existing smart speaker functionality. Amazon’s Alexa, for instance, was already placed in a humanoid Lynx robot in 2017, and such devices will likely become more affordable as technology continues to improve.