Swisscom’s Voice Assistant Fuels Smart TV Market Growth
Swisscom’s smart television set-top box is pushing the company to new success, according to its latest quarterly report. The box and its integrated voice assistant have added 2.4% to Swisscom’s TV market footprint, a growth of 1.56 million in 2019.
Smart TV Box
The Swisscom Box acts similarly to other set-top devices, with streaming and traditional television offerings, as well as recording capabilities. It comes with its own voice assistant that can handle not only the television but other smart home devices that the user chooses to connect to the voice assistant. In a way, it turns the television into a kind of smart display, with the weather and other information displayed along with the television programs. The voice assistant is also multilingual and speaks German, French, Italian, and English and uses “Hey Swisscom” as its default wake word. Swisscom is currently working on expanding the language options to the various Swiss dialects of all its national languages.
“We achieved success with new products: inOne mobile, which was launched in February and offers unlimited roaming in Europe, is used by 1.15 million customers. And the new Swisscom box takes the TV experience to the next level,” Swisscom CEO Urs Schaeppi said in a statement. “The integrated voice assistant can be used to control not only the TV but also smart home applications. Our investment in the network is paying off, as shown by our top ranking in all relevant network tests.”
Competition in the Smart Home
Swisscom has an overwhelming presence in Switzerland, with a 5G mobile data network that covers 90% of the Swiss population. Having a voice assistant built into the television box that can control smart home devices is a good way to keep customers using its services. It’s the same model used by Amazon and Google as they leverage smart TVs and other devices as hubs for smart homes. Google Nest is adding new partnerships and connections to smart home products even as it tries to keep those products exclusive to the Google Nest platform.
Amazon is more focused on TV options, with Fire TV using Alexa to run smart homes from top to bottom. Fire TV recently got a big boost that could send it to more places after Amazon agreed to a partnership with Samsung and Skyworth to add the voice assistant to the televisions they build. Samsung, which started supporting Alexa as a voice assistant option last year, will now integrate Alexa into its systems. The smart TV will act as a large Echo Show in some regards, offering visual answers and connecting with security cameras. Swisscom isn’t likely to lose its crown in Switzerland any time soon, but the focus on the smart TV and smart home extension shows that the company knows it will face more pressure from other voice assistant platforms soon.