Qualcomm released its “2018 State of Play” report on the consumer market this week, at its IoT Industry Analyst Workshop.
The report’s findings, based on surveys of 6,000 consumer across China, the UK, and the US, outline a couple of key, ongoing trends. One is the rise of the voice interface for consumer electronics, with 78 percent of respondents indicating that “using voice or natural language to interface with their smart speaker, home hub or other electronic devices does or would make life easier,” according to a report synopsis. It’s a trend fueled by the significant advances in artificial intelligence technology over the last few years, with major brands like Apple, Google, and Samsung continuing to invest heavily in making sure that their AI assistants are state-of-the-art.
Meanwhile, the same percentage of respondents – 78 percent – indicated that they were more interested in wireless headphones that “support additional features such as calling, fitness tracking or voice assistant capabilities.” That further underscores the rise of voice interfaces, but also points to another trend in the growing prominence of biometric sensors in fitness-tracking wearable devices.
Remarkably, another trend highlighted in Qualcomm’s report is an increase in the number of consumers self-identifying as audiophiles. That same number – 78 percent – comes up again here in the number of respondents saying they looking for high-fidelity, 24-bit audio and noise cancellation features in their headphone and speaker devices. It sounds like there may be a Venn diagram with some heavy overlap in these results, all with a majority of consumers looking for high-end, AI-driven, biometric headphones right in the middle.