The rise of voice assistants in Brazil
The rise of voice assistants in Brazil. Photo: ShutterStock

Voice assistants are the big bet of Brazil's tech market for 2020

Among all the new tech products released, the big promise for next year are connected home items.

In the cartoon The Jetsons, released in 1962, the characters lived in the distant future, using flying saucers as cars, having the robot Rose to do the family’s housework and a wide connected house. The first two topics are still just fantasy, but the third one, however, may already be a reality.

Already very popular in the United States, in 2019 arrived in Brazil the two main models of voice assistants in the market: Alexa from Amazon and Google Nest Mini, and for the first time these devices were bringing Portuguese as a language. It sounds quite a simple feature, but it is no exaggeration to say that language adaptation was widely responsible for opening the market for this device category.

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Even though it was no longer surprising to Brazilians the American custom of having a fully connected home, in a country such as Brazil, where only a minority of the population has advanced English skills, the chances of having this type of device at home were very low. At first, because of the idea that it would all take too long to start be selling in the country or even that it would only be affordable for Class A.

The reality, however, brought much more encouraging news than Brazilians had expected. As soon as Alexa and Nest Mini launched the Portuguese version of their products, the market understood the potential of this segment in the country and a sequence of accessories compatible with them also began to be offered, from lamps to cleaning robots compatible with assistants. voice.

In addition, a number of previously released products started to be prepared to receive updates and become compatible with both Amazon and Google Assistant.

And while devices from Amazon and Google can be purchased for around BRL 300, the accessories to transform the whole house into a connected environment can be found with values ​​starting at BRL 100, turning it into a product that Brazilians from the middle class can afford and have easy access to.

Culture is the biggest challenge

Alexa's speaker
One of Amazon speakers connected to Alexa, the voice assistant of the brand. Photo: ShutterStock

While in the United States, even before connected homes became popular, the use of voice assistants on smartphones was already a common habit, in Brazil the lack of understanding of the language on these platforms has always kept consumers away from using it on a daily basis.

In English, the commands were perfectly understood, but in Portuguese, even when the assistant was available in the language, several mistakes and misinterpretations were made, turning the usage into a challenge.

This meant that Brazilians did not see Siri’s improvements as a huge advantage when launching new iPhone models, for instance, and much less considering this type of evolution as a purchase influencer. When it came to smartphones, attributes such as camera quality, memory, and processing speed were always more appealing to the Brazilian audience.

Now, the big challenge for brands is to prove Brazilians that the new devices are far away from being another failure and will really be more efficient in understanding the commands given on its first try, breaking the cultural barrier imposed by the previous assistant’s mistakes and showing the real added value of the products.

Therefore, if 2019 was the real launch year of the category for the Brazilian market, regarding that this year was marked by the several options related to the segment offered in the country, by 2020 the market is expected to live a maturity stage, with Google and Amazon at the center of the battle for the key role in Brazil.

Security is the most attractive attribute for Brazilians

Google Nest Mini device. Photo: ShutterStock

Although smart security systems are already available in Brazil, brands are betting that the ease of not only seeing what is happening at home from a distance but also being able to send commands to connected devices in there will be a big argument to win the consumers.

In an interview for Estadão Brazilian media outlet, Alessandro Germano, Google’s director of business development for Latin America, points out that “being able to see at a distance what happens on the doorstep with a connected camera is something that can bring a lot of value to the user.

Firstly, safety is always one of the biggest concerns of Brazilians and therefore one of the most considered attributes when buying any device. In addition, there is also the added value of controlling all the major devices in the house through one single electronic gadget, without the need for several independent systems, whether simply to get home with the already air-conditioned environment you have requested from a distance. to be turned on, or even to act quickly in cases of robberies.

The world evolution of this segment

Even though the voice assistant market is already much more consolidated in other countries, the future still holds a world of new possibilities. One would imagine, for instance, that Apple, Amazon and Google would come together as partners for the launch of a new project, and it was precisely in the evolving connected-home market that this happened, considering that the three brands are the main worldwide competitors in the battle for leadership in voice assistants.

With the goal of facilitating communication between devices of all brands and not forcing the consumer to renew all the equipment of their houses to choose only one of them, the three brands are working to develop a way to facilitate the creation of smart products that can be connected to any voice assistant.

Whether in Brazil or in other countries, the reality of connected homes can no longer be ignored, it remains to be seen how fast the Brazilian market will respond to this fact. Place your bets!