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A Voice for Your Commands

Written by Shawn P. Lemay, Owner, Sound & Theater
Imagery by Sound & Theater

Are you familiar with your voice assistant?
The one who lives inside your smartphone and tablet waiting to obey your commands? Voice assistants have taken the next evolutionary step. Today, they can operate inside your home as a dedicated device connected to your WiFi and home’s automated devices. Bringing voice control into your home is surprisingly affordable. The Amazon Echo (Alexa), the current market leader, starts at $50. Google Home (Ask Google) costs a modest $130.

Your Wish is My Command
Home voice assistants do everything your smartphone and tablet assistants do but with greater reliability and accuracy.The temperature, your calendar schedule, a flight status, or a request for a certain playlist or song in your music collection are among the many questions you can ask.
    But don’t stop there. There is an array of home control devices that are compatible with home voice assistants. For example, you can install a thermostat or a light bulb with Alexa. This means you can tell Alexa to turn up the heat five degrees as you walk in the door after work; or to turn the lights down.
    With whole house automation, you can have voice control over nearly everything. The television, lights, music, thermostats, garage door – are a voice command away. You can even request to see who is at the front door on your television screen via the front door camera. Home voice assistants are simple to use ... once they are configured to your WiFi. Taking advantage of connectivity to your home’s functions is inexpensive if you can do it yourself. If not, you will need to hire a professional to configure the system
for you. Connecting additional pieces (e.g. Nest thermostat or Philips Hue lighting) does require a certain level of technological savvy. Expense also hinges on another factor: you have to own the compatible technology or invest in an automation system.
    There are other considerations. Home voice assistants are currently in their first generation and improving daily. However, it is important to know that they rely on the internet. If your internet goes down, so does your voice control.

Worth It?
People often ask me if there is value in voice automation. There is no single answer. The elegance and ease of these innovations are invaluable to some and a luxury to others. Ultimately, the voice of the future is up to you and your lifestyle. 

Shawn P. Lemay is the owner of Sound & Theater, established in 2001. He is recognized in the region for his expertise in the areas of audio/video, home theater, security, commercial installations.

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