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AI Wishlist: Smart Home is #1 for Consumers

Photo by Dries Augustyns / Unsplas

Consumers leaning into AI for home, education, and career, but less likely to trust AI for money and health uses

Businesses across nearly every industry are envisioning an AI-powered future. Firms from McKinsey to BCG to Gartner have released reports speculating about ways that corporations can use AI to move faster and leaner – many times with outlooks that border on science fiction. But what do consumers see themselves using in the near-term?

We asked our Pulse IQ consumer group "Where do you see yourself using AI enabled features if they were available now?" Most of the options users chose indicated a preference for AI enhancements of technologies they already use. We gave users 16 options to choose from across smart home, mobile tech, commerce, automotive, and workspace categories. This is what we found:

  • AI-enabled features were most desired within the confines of the home. This included managing infotainment (smart speaker: 70%, smart TV: 65%), temperature control, home safety, and other smart home devices.
  • AI users indicated access while in their cars was very important. 60% wanted to use AI enabled features via their phones, and 51% wanted AI access through the voice systems in their vehicles.
  • School and work were also frequently selected with 57% indicating they would use features via desktop, laptop, or tablet and 53% on their phone.
  • The least selected uses for AI were for help with navigating businesses online or in person. People were more likely to choose AI help via phone (at stores: 50%, at a bank: 44%, at a medical office: 38%) than they were to choose AI use at a kiosk (store: 27%, bank: 27%, medical office: 28%). This indicates hesitance to use AI for interactions involving money and health, and that businesses may be better served by beefing up their apps than by building out kiosk systems.


  • Many peoples' first introduction to AI was through smart speakers. Consumers see these and adjacent smart home devices as accessible, safe ways to use generative AI. This gives corporations like Amazon, Google, and Apple a leg up in the AI arms race. With millions of devices already in consumers' homes, they are poised to bring generative AI from the computer screen to the smart home.

    In April, Amazon announced they are developing an improved LLM to power Alexa. In July, Bard announced that the chatbot could talk back, giving users the option to receive a written response or an audio one. In July, rumors started surfacing that Apple is testing generative AI tools. The new power and conversational capabilities of generative AI could take voice interactions that have historically been clunky and time consuming to the next level.

  • With more companies announcing return-to-office orders, commute times are on the rise. Even Zoom, the darling child of the remote work revolution, is forcing employees back to the office twice a week. More and more people who were very accustomed to working from home during the pandemic are now hitting the road several times a week, and there's a strong desire to make that time more enjoyable or productive.

    Existing tools like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and other vehicle systems allow easy use of music, calling, messaging, and navigation. Auto manufacturers and the tech companies that power them have a huge opportunity to leverage generative AI via infotainment systems and phone apps to ease the pain of longer, more frequent commutes. The average US commuter now spends 52 minutes a day making their way to and from work. Leveraging AI capabilities to allow consumers to make better use of this time stands to improve quality of life or business productivity levels.

  • Workplace and school use of AI is surging. See our story Workers' AI Use Magnifies Corporate Risks to learn more about the implications this has for companies and educational institutions.