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AI to be biggest 2017 tech trend: experts

Press Association logoPress Association 4/01/2017

Artificial intelligence that creates smart homes powered by virtual assistants will be the biggest tech trend of 2017, analysts predict.

Experts from tech analyst firm CCS Insight said this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which begins on Thursday, will be remembered for the unveiling of products designed to help users control their entire home using voice controls, apps and artificial intelligence (AI) assistants.

They said waves of new products are likely to go on show that will look to build on the early success of the Amazon Echo and Google Home, two smart home systems which went on sale in 2016.

Both products connect to the internet and can link up with other internet-enabled devices and appliances around homes, including TVs, lights and thermostats, enabling users to control all these items using just voice commands.

CCS Insight's Martin Garner said the success of the Amazon Echo smart speaker in the UK meant that many companies were looking to work with it rather than challenge it themselves.

"Success in the smart speaker market will be determined by the software platform, not the hardware," he said adding that the analyst firm believes AI will go on to be the biggest technology trend of 2017 because of this shift.

CES organisers the Consumer Technology Association has also revealed new research ahead of the Las Vegas show that suggests a similar trend.

It said the emergence of smart home devices such as the Echo that are driven by AI and machine learning will cause a 1.5 per cent growth in industry revenue in the US alone this year.

Chief executive Gary Shapiro said: "Our forecast reinforces our belief that connectivity is going to be one of the driving trends of our time.

"More and more consumers are discovering the remarkable benefits connected products deliver, providing any time, anywhere access to information, entertainment and each other."

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