When it comes to smart wearables, everyone’s first reaction is smart watches, which are the most popular smart wearable products in recent years. However, the plot seems to be reversed. A few days ago, according to the latest prediction of the world-renowned research organization Gartner, the dominance of smart watches in the wearable device market is short-lived. By 2022, ear-worn devices will be replaced by the smart headsets we often call now.
Starting this year, we have gradually seen major global and domestic manufacturers have invested in the research and development and update of smart headsets. In addition to the familiar Apple Airpods, Xiaomi, Lenovo, Honor, Tencent, JD, Microsoft, etc. have all joined them. What is worthy of the joy of the wearable device industry is that the forecast shows that the market is expected to usher in a 26% growth next year compared to the upcoming 2018. What is a smart headset, and what kind of intelligent life scene can it bring to us?
Smart earphones become a de-mobile device
Starting this year, smart headphones have become one of the most popular smart devices after smart speakers. According to the latest data released by the research organization Gartner, the shipment of ear-worn devices, which we often call smart headphones, will reach 33.44 million units this year, compared to more than 21.49 million units in 2017, an increase of 55.6% year-on-year. It is estimated that by next year 2019, shipments of this type of equipment will reach 46.12 million units. What is most surprising to the industry is that the data predicts that by 2022, the shipment of ear-worn smart devices will reach 158 million units, accounting for more than 30% of all wearable device shipments, far exceeding the current popularity. The highest smart watch. By then, the latter's shipments will also reach 111.5 million.
Wearable smart devices have always been a field that technology manufacturers are keen to "explore", from the initial smart bracelets, smart watches, wearable headgear, somatosensory clothing, etc., to smart headphones. Everyone has used or even used earphones a lot, so what is a smart earphone? Although there is no unified concept yet, the industry's more consistent understanding is that smart headsets are equipped with chips, emphasize the use of voice interaction functions, and add more components such as sensors (such as gravity accelerators) to optimize or expand the headset experience and Function.
According to the China Industry Information Research Report, the entire smart headset industry will become a market of more than 40 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. It is expected to increase from 5 million in 2016 to 71 million in 2020.
At present, smart earphones are mostly used for talking and listening to songs, and are especially suitable for listening to songs and watching videos in public spaces, or wearing them during running, fitness, or driving. However, the industry has more room for imagination. According to Gints Klimanis, Doppler's former head of audio engineering, the ultimate idea is to steal the "cake" from the smartphone. Smartphones may never completely disappear, but the combination of voice commands and hearing may become the main interface for any spontaneous behavior.
The mainstream market of earphones is also the leading technology of an era brought by Apple's earphone AirPods, so for Bluetooth earphones, some major Bluetooth earphone technologies are also inspired by Apple!
Unlike the Bluetooth headsets of traditional manufacturers, it is a truly "wireless" in-ear headset. At that time, Apple CEO Cook even personally wore headphones for exercise to prove that this device would not fall even during strenuous exercise such as running. Since the beginning of this year, the smart headphones launched by domestic manufacturers such as Lenovo, Honor, Xiaomi, etc., are also completely "wireless" in shape. Charging in the charging case.
According to the reporter's experience, the biggest "embarrassment" of the current wireless headset is not that it is easy to fall during exercise, but that it is "unstable" or easy to lose during daily use. Technology enthusiast Cheng told reporters that soon after he started AirPods, he put an earphone in his bag after listening to the music, and then he couldn't find it, "I don't know how it was lost." Therefore, some manufacturers choose another design direction, which is to use a head-mounted or ear-hook type, which is closer to the traditional Bluetooth wireless headset.
Secondly, it emphasizes voice interaction. At the current stage of the development of smart headsets, one of its main intelligent experiences is to have voice interaction functions. According to the report "Analysis of China's Smart Earphone Market" released by GEF, the voice control of earphones has been mentioned as an important position at the moment. The physical buttons of the headset are gradually cancelled, which breaks people's habit of using the headset and forces users to perform related operations through the voice assistant.
Today, the development of smart headsets is closely related to voice interaction. For example, you can wake up Siri by tapping AirPods twice; Honor's latest wireless headset Flypods series is "combined" with its smart life form YOYO, and it can be turned on as long as the voice wake-up command is used. Operations such as applications, WeChat or Alipay QR codes, car-hailing, and song switching; the recently launched Microsoft Smart Headphone Surface Headphone has a built-in smart voice assistant Cortana, which is the familiar "Xiao Na" smart voice platform.
In the future, smart headphones will "replace" more mobile phone functions
According to "Analysis of China's Smart Headset Market", in 2017, China's Bluetooth headset retail volume reached 13.63 million units, accounting for 56% of the entire headset market. China's smart headset retail market will reach 500,000 units this year. In addition to the aforementioned domestic hardware equipment manufacturers such as Lenovo, Honor and Xiaomi, Internet companies such as Tencent and Baidu have also joined forces with traditional headset manufacturers to "test the water" of smart headsets. In addition, artificial intelligence companies such as AI voice, etc. Go out to ask, iFlytek, etc. also launched their own smart headset products.
Going out to ask CEO Li Zhifei said that in the future voice interaction, smart headsets are a central position. He believes that to become the next hot spot for voice interaction, it needs to have several characteristics: first, more portable; second, privacy; third, clear. A particularly important device for voice interaction is the AI wireless smart headset.
In addition to being used in conjunction with voice recognition, smart headphones are implanted with exercise-related functions, such as heart rate and exercise monitoring. It is understood that some smart headsets that support heart rate monitoring have a built-in heart rate monitoring module. After downloading the corresponding App through the mobile phone, the recorded data can be displayed on the App to inform users of their heart rate during different exercise periods. According to the heart rate data, suggestions are made for the user's exercise mode and exercise intensity, which is a good feature for players who are keen on sports.
In fact, heart rate monitoring is one of the mainstream functions of many smart wearable devices, such as smart watches, bracelets, running shoes, earphones, and so on. Apple said that heart rate monitoring is one of the most popular features on Apple Watch.
In the future, the role of smart headphones is far more than that. According to the survey report, smart earphones will have a larger storage capacity and exercise system built-in, so that more functions will be implemented independently on the earphones. It is worth noting that a new bone voiceprint recognition technology is used on Flypods Pro.
For this brand-new voice recognition technology, Honor President Zhao Ming said that bone voiceprint, the sound propagation characteristics of this kind of sound are different from the propagation characteristics of air sound. After research, it was found that it can be used as an ID for identification. After wearing the headset, the user can use it to open the Alipay page and unlock the phone.
Gartner believes that at present, ear-worn wearable devices are mainly used for fitness, communication and entertainment. As their functional scope continues to increase, their shipments are expected to start to rise. “In the future, ear-worn devices will support virtual personal assistants. , Can be used for various tasks such as query and hands-free navigation. Advanced headset devices can reduce the use of smart phones, because they will take over many tasks that are currently solved with smart phones.”