Roku Planning on entering smart speaker space

Smart speakers are being made by almost every manufacturer that can make speakers now. The latest company to make its way to the realm of the smart speaker is Roku, based on recent reports.

There have been a few listings of job offers that Roku has been advertising for multiple job roles on offer for senior software engineers, voice user interface designers and other roles that will involve working to build a “center of audio excellence”. Based on the description of the job titles and the job descriptions, Roku seems to be in the process of forming a team for an upcoming smart speaker with an interface. If not a smart speaker, it may well incorporate smart AI integrated into their Roku sticks and media players for content consumption and interaction.

Mashable thinks that the company is on track to create smart speaker as there are already existing employees that have experience in the smart speaker space. The only element which the company lacks, is its own smart AI assistant. The company will be headed into crowded territory as the space is already occupied by Google Amazon, Apple and Harmon Kardon, to name a few. Even Facebook and Samsung are expected to release their own smart speakers soon. Roku could alternatively, use Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa to be integrated into their devices, but seems Roku is making its own. The company had already filed for $100 million in IPO in the beginning of the month and also recently launched its own TV channel.

Roku does have experience in voice interfaces already as its media players can also work based on voice recognition, offering basic navigation on their set-top-boxes through the integrated microphones that come with the remote. Making its own smart assistant would take the company a significant amount of time and testing, as even Samsung’s Bixby was released pre-maturely to markets. Currently, Roku’s software can be found on a variety of affordable smart TVs, meaning that the company already has stored enough consumer data to integrate intuitive smart capabilities.

Roku has remained quiet on the issue so far and has refrained from commenting, but there is some speculation that the company will be continuing its efforts to make this smart speaker a reality sometime in the next year. But whether smart speakers will still be a lucrative market to tap into by then, is fairly uncertain.