There’s going to be a lot of chatter about and with voice-activated assistants in Best Buy stores thanks to new Amazon Alexa and Google Home experiences that the retailer will soon be rolling out.
Best Buy announced Wednesday that the experiences showcasing what is possible with voice technology and smart homes are unique to its stores and about 700 locations across the U.S. will feature the spaces starting next month. A nationwide rollout will be complete by the end of the year.
Located near Best Buy’s existing smart home department, the Amazon and Google experiences will feature such products as Amazon’s new Echo Show and Google’s new Home. Products nearby that can interact with these voice-enabled devices include Nest thermostats, Philips Hue lighting, Insignia Smart Plug, and more.
The hope is that consumers will do an AI test drive in the spaces to best determine what it is they think they’d want an assistant to perform for them, whether it’s turning on lights, turning up the music, finding a recipe or checking the traffic.
“Smart home, especially voice technology, can meaningfully change and improve the way we live our lives,” Amy College, senior vice president of merchandising at Best Buy, said in a news release. “In collaboration with Amazon and Google, these experiences will help people understand and use this ground-breaking technology to make their lives safer, easier and simply more fun.”
Best Buy promises that its trained “Blue Shirts” can adequately demonstrate the products and Geek Squad Agents can help with installation and set-up.
Business analytics firm IHS Markit reported that 80 million smart home devices were delivered globally in 2016, up 64 percent from 2015. The number of units delivered is expected to increase to around 130 million in 2017, up another 60 percent year over year.