It’s early days in the burgeoning smart-display universe. Still, it’s important to understand how very different it will be compared with virtual assistants and their audio appliances.
Ultimately, the core attributes of virtual assistants, virtual assistant appliances and smart displays are very different.
The core attribute of virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana and others is ubiquity. You’ll be able to interact with them on your watch, phone, laptop, desktop, car dashboard, smart glasses, home appliance, office appliance and others. They’ll always be “there,” even outdoors.
The core attribute of audio-only virtual assistant appliances such as the original Echo line or the current Google Home product is indoor “ambience.” To use an Amazon Echo, for example, you don’t even have to know where it is. You just “talk to the room,” and the room talks back. It seems logical to put virtual assistant appliances in every room of a house. They're perfect for consumers.
But smart displays are completely different. Instead of offering ubiquity or ambience, they’re used like a terminal. To take advantage of their screens and cameras, you’ll face the device from a close distance, and they’ll face you.
The ideal place to interact with a smart display is when you’re alone in a room with it — or when a group of people are all using the device. In other words, it’s the ultimate office or meeting room appliance, with very highly defined practical functions.
And that’s why smart displays are better for offices, work and productivity.