Who wins at virtual smart home assistance?
• 4 min read
With smart homes growing in popularity, so is the rise of the ever-capable virtual assistants. While at the outset, you will see that while they offer similar functions, they often have their own advantages and disadvantages.
What we know is that people are passionate about their chosen assistant and the ones made by the biggest and most influential tech companies in the world lead the way. No longer just fringe technology, they have been pushed into the spotlight, and people are loving them.
What is a smart home assistant and what do they do?
People either love them or hate them, but we think they are a huge part of any successful smart home. While they may take a bit of getting used to, adding a virtual personal assistant to your smart home will help integrate all your devices, blending them seamlessly. The smart home assistant will help them all operate more smoothly while adding value to your smart home experience.
While many of us are already using smartphone assistants through either Google Chrome or iPhone’s Siri, using a smart home assistant aids home automation and allows personal preferences to take centre stage. They will assist you in setting room temperatures, remind you whether you need to buy milk or an anniversary present, and control the gates. They are usually activated by a phrase particular to their software. For example, Google’s Home is awoken by the phrase, “Okay, Google”. From there, you can make an array of requests and automate a range of activities. You can play a radio station of your choice, set your alarm for 5am the next day or ask for a joke.
Siri from Apple
Activated by using “Hey, Siri”, Apple’s HomeKit is a popular option for smart homes. You can then connect any other compatible smart devices to Apple’s HomeKit. Philips Hue bulbs are one such item, as are Honeywell thermostats.
All you have to do is download the app and connect to your HomePod. Then, you can control your rooms to your heart content. If you have smart bulbs, you can control the brightness by voicing the command, “ Hey Siri, adjust kitchen lights to 60%.” But one of the best functions is her ability to check on the status of a particular room. If you are worried you left the door open or the lights on, you don’t need to burn valuable brain cells trying to remember. Now, all you have to do is ask.
If you use the following Amazon products including Echo, Dot, Tap or Show you will have access to Alexa as a virtual assistant. Triggered by using the voice command “Alexa”, you can connect to your favourite music programme – Spotify, Pandora, iheartradio – and Alexa will help suggest new music for you or respond to a specific music request you make. Handy, right?
As an assistant, she is also always on the lookout, and can prompt you to buy presents for events on your calendar, and remind you if you have something in the oven. Her built-in reminder and timer is one of her best features.
Plus, she can even help you out with your shopping by connecting to Amazon. All you have to do is tell her what to get on Amazon Prime and she takes care of the rest.
Google Assistant from Google Home
While only launched in 2016, this device has captured the world’s attention in a major way. Geared towards answering any questions that you would type into the main Google search engine, this device will satisfy any curiosities you may have. Perhaps you need to find a particular favourite smoothie recipe while chopping fruit for breakfast, or need a restaurant recommendation for later that evening, Google Assistant will be on hand to help you out.
If you desire a more complete sound system for the house, this device is part of the integrated system for Google Home speakers and will work with the Mini and Max sets. It interfaces with Android Smartphones making it easy to use, and gives you access to it through your smartphone – helping to make you mobile, no matter how big your house is.See all stories