The Power of Voice Control

By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

Controlling a smart home is primarily focused on being able to do things as quickly as possible. Sorting through various apps for different buttons to control smart devices is cumbersome and time consuming. While it is still nice to have the ability to control devices from a smart phone, advancements in voice recognition have made voice control a more accessible convenience. Not only do users have the luxury of not having to navigate through their phones, the time it takes to complete a task is significantly reduced.

Voice control is the vehicle that will allow the smart home industry to thrive. When it boils down to it, clicking a button on a phone is not much faster than clicking a button on a device. This is especially true if the user is trying to complete a more complex task. In a Digital Trends article, the potential of voice control is explained, “Being able to issue these really complex requests that you could never really emulate using traditional input modalities, that’s where speech and language on the TV is providing tremendous value.” Utilizing voice commands enable users to find solutions to complex problems in a way that is extremely simple to navigate.

The convenience voice control brings to users is unparalleled by touch controls, making it a central part of future smart home infrastructure. Even though the power of voice commands is undeniable, it is not at the point where it can give users enough control over their homes without a mobile control device. This may not be the case in a couple years, as voice recognition continues to improve, but for now, voice controls should be coupled with some other physical/visual interface.

The current status of voice control can be observed within current smart home technology. With Amazon Echo, there isn’t a touch interface, so the user has to rely on voice commands. When it comes to asking Alexa to do something such as search the web, the user doesn’t have the control to browse through their options; they have to trust that Alexa is optimized to fit their needs at that point in time. Apple HomeKit has the voice assistant Siri, who can take the voice command and present the user with their options. They can then select the option tailored to their preferences with the touch controls on a mobile device. These smart home platforms are both powerful, but Apple HomeKit is better equipped to deal with the transition to voice control as the primary tool for home control.

Advancements in voice recognition have placed voice control at the forefront of innovation within the smart home industry. This technology is not perfect at its current stage, but it is something that will make consumers more satisfied and willing to invest in internet-enabled devices. The continual improvements to voice control technology will allow for speech-oriented commands to be the main interface for smart home control in the coming years.

Why Devices Need Animal Instincts Provided by the IoT

Many of you probably have smart phones in your pocket or possibly smart thermostats at home, but for the most part, objects in our lives today are unintelligent and not connected.

Out in nature, animals use their senses to survive. They are looking for movement, listening for predators and using their sense of smell to track prey. All of these are instincts animals and humans have deep in our brains. The problem with computers is that they rely heavily on humans for the information around them.

So how do you give a computer a brain? Or how about natural, animalistic instincts?

At its core, the Internet of Things (IoT) is about using sensors and networking technology to connect computers and give them similar kinds of animal "instincts." Then, like those animals and humans, computers can understand the context of the world around them. Understanding that information around them and allows the computers to react appropriately, whether is is by alerting their user of a problem, lowering the temperature when a room gets too hot, or starting the coffee maker when your alarm goes off in the morning.

Computers understanding what is going on around them, lessens their dependence on humans and allows for much more intelligent and exciting devices.