One of the winners of the 2018 Winter Olympics is voice control, if new data from Comcast is any indication: The cable TV operator has seen voice queries more than double for Pyeonchang when compared to the 2016 Summer Olympics. “This is the Olympics of voice,” said Comcast executive VP and chief product officer Chris Satchell.
Voice isn’t just growing as a way to access information about the games on Comcast’s X1 set-top, it’s getting ready to overtake the old-fashioned way of pressing buttons on your remote. During the first few days of the games, voice was driving nearly 50% of all traffic to the Olympics homepage on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 set-top box. Two years ago, voice was driving about 22% of traffic to the Rio Olympics homepage.
Comcast’s voice remotes work with the company’s X1 set-top box, which is capable of running Netflix and other apps, and is now approaching 60% of the company’s total set-top install base. Satchell said that Comcast had delivered close to 20 million voice remotes to its customers. And once customers have a voice remote, they start using it a lot, he said: “It becomes habitual really quickly.”
For the Winter Olympics, Comcast has built a dedicated homepage on X1 that offers access to live TV broadcasts as well as catch-up videos sorted by sports. There’s also a daily summary of the games, and additional data, including a medal count by country. Comcast even has specific information for each and every athlete.
These athlete summaries have proven very popular with voice users as well, with some obvious contenders for the most-requested profiles. Shaun White has seen the most voice requests thus far, but Red Gerard saw a big spike of 3000 voice queries per minute after he won his gold medal Saturday evening, according to Comcast.