Voice control technology is becoming the key user interface within the smart home, according to new research.

ABI Research forecasts that more than 120 million voice-enabled devices will ship annually by 2021.

In particular it said new microphone-enhanced products, including cameras, doorbells and smart lighting, would extend the ability to hear voice commands throughout a smart home environment.

“Led by the success of Amazon’s Alexa platform, smart home voice control is creating new competition and demands for wireless speaker [vendors] and other vendors to include voice capabilities in their devices,” said ABI Research Director Jonathan Collins.

“But the scaling of voice control applications in the smart home breeds complexity.

“Vendors will need to evaluate how and when to bring voice control into smart home devices in order to best tackle adding the service into wider smart home systems.”

The research firm warned that a shared voice platform would be required for the technology to reach its potential.

Each of the primary home voice platform providers - Apple, Amazon, and Google - all have their own approaches and ways of leveraging their voice capabilities to extend and support their core businesses, it said.

Telcos continue to focus time and money on rolling out smart home platforms.

Telia became the latest operator to do so, unveiling its Zone offering in June.

In March, KPN announced plans to deploy Deutsche Telekom’s Qivicon platform in the Netherlands.

O2 UK is slated to launch an offering based on AT&T’s Digital Life platform before the end of this year.

Nokia launched its smart home product in June and hopes to sign up its first operator partners later this year.

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