Tips From The Top

  • Alexa-powered voice recognition refrigerator

    Your Future Smarthome Will Know Your Voice

    *Image courtesy of Engadget

    Each January, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the place to track the newest trends in tech, and this year, one trend was clear: voice controls. As tech manufacturers introduced their newest and upcoming products and concepts, voice recognition capabilities appeared over and over. And with voice control possible on everything from home theater remotes to crock pots, chances are very good that your smart home will soon know—and obey—the sound of your voice.

    Why voice and why now? Shawn Dubravac, chief economist for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), says that the reason voice is rising to the top now is because the technology, which had a 100 percent error rate when it was first being developed in 1994, now gets commands right 97 percent of the time

    What Can I Expect?

    It’s true, a lot of the oohs and ahhs at CES come from concept products that might never come to fruition, certainly not for years, that is not the case with voice recognition (also called VR). There are truly a wide range of ready-to-go voice recognition solutions that you should consider for your smarthome today. 

    Virtual Assistants. If you’re in the market for a device that helps you perform relatively simple tasks—think turning on music, setting a timer, making a grocery list—you have options aplenty. Amazon Echo is one that has gotten great reviews, as is Google Home. Get more information on how the two stack up here. 

    Soon, you’ll be able to tell your refrigerator to add eggs to the shopping list—or even tell it to order the eggs itself. That’s because Alexa is giving all kinds of devices their own VR capabilities, as well. Ford announced that it is incorporating Alexa into its vehicles, and an Alexa-powered refrigerator is on the way from LG

    Virtual Guard/Petsitter/Playmate. If you’ve ever asked a neighbor to go over to your house to check on the dogs, or maybe wished you had someone to read a book to your kid while you wash dishes, this might be the VR tech for you. The Mayfield Robotics home protection robot Kuri combines the virtual assistant-type skills of something like Amazon Echo with the ability to move around independently so that it can use its security camera to provide 24/7 eyes on your home. 

    All of these personal assistant-type VR technologies have the potential to make your home smarter all the way around because of their ability to connect with other smart devices. You can connect independently to various devices, like LIFX smart light bulbs or a Nest thermostat, or you can connect to your smarthome hub, uniting all your smarthome connections into one powerful system. To get an idea of just some of the smarthome tech that you can connect to voice controlled assistants, check out this article.

    When it comes to smarthome and voice controlled technology, a couple of things are clear: the options are endless … and they’re a little overwhelming. If you’re ready to start putting together a plan for your own smarthome, give us a call. We’d love to help you sort through the options to create the ideal smarthome for your unique needs. If you'd just like to see some of these technologies in action, stop by our offices! All our audio, video, lights and shades are voice controlled and ready for action!