With time more and more smart devices will be present in our home. We have smartphones, smart TV’s, smartwatches, and who knows, even smart light bulbs or smart outlets. These smart things can be way more comfortable and safer than their non-intelligent versions. For example, if you have a smart thermostat, you can set the temperature even before you’re arriving home, or you can preset the temperature when you wake up, so the house can be warm and cosy when you’re sipping your coffee in the morning. Or perhaps with wirelessly connected cameras, you can see all the time who is in front of your home, even when you’re on vacation over the sea.
So there is no doubt that smart things are useful things. Not just for comfort but to automatise our daily tasks, which makes our lives easier. But after you got all this equipment, you would need a “universal remote” to control all these devices from one point. And this is the point where smart speakers appear.
What are smart speakers?
You may have heard about these speakers like Amazon, Echo, Google Home, Apple home pad. As the name suggests, these are speakers so that they can play different sounds. But what makes them unique is their purpose. They not only can play sounds, music, etc. But they can also receive voice commands.
Just like your assistant in your phone like Siri or Google Assistant, they have an integrated AI which can interpret your commands and make adjustments through your smart devices.
How do they work?
First of all, if you want to set up a smart speaker, or any smart device, you need good and strong internet. A 2.4GHz bandwidth might be enough, but for the real deal, you can get even a dual bandwidth router. Now, all these wireless devices always upload and download information, and for that, they use your routers internet. So my advice is to get a device like Samsung SmartThings Hub, which connects to all of your wireless devices at once and makes you able to control them from one place. This hardware not only lets you easily control, monitor, and secure your home from anywhere in the world. But it also gives your internet more speed by controlling these devices and taking the “pressure” from your router.
And this is where smart speakers can glow. They can collect the signal from all the wirelessly connected devices and control them from one place. So basically it’s just like a universal controller that can adjust every compatible device in your home.
Why isn’t a phone enough?
You can control all these devices and stuff from your phone with apps like “Google Home”, which is available even from iOs devices. But to be honest, your phone is not available all the time. What I mean by that is that there are times where you do certain things that require both of your hands, or you just can’t find your phone. This is when smart speakers are the most useful. No wonder they are called virtual assistants, because they do everything that you ask them.
Also, there are certain times when you use your phone for a different purpose. Like to play a game, make a call, read the news. And maybe you can take a break from news reading to adjust some things. But when you’re in the middle of a game, or a call, you can’t change the apps. For example, if you’re in the middle of a blackjack game, and you’re just the about to find out your final card, you won’t leave the game just to adjust the temperature. The game can also close, and all your process will be forgotten.
This could be a very concrete example, but the point is that your phone won’t always be available. And it’s better to have another source to control your smart devices that can be accessed anytime. It’s also easier to say some words, rather than to unlock your phone and open the app, especially if you multitask.
Are they worth it?
In America, 1 out of 4 people owns a smart speaker, and they really enjoy it. Therefore there is something enjoyable about them. However, there are some cases in which they are not worth it. Like if you only have 2 or 3 smart things in your home. Just for the enjoyment of having a smart home assistant, it might not be a wise decision.
But if you have multiple devices, it will be a game-changer. You can create a lot of automated processes. Like to create a relaxing atmosphere where are the light will go as low as possible, your phone will go in airplane mode, and some calming music will play—all that with some single words.
However, there are more ways why they could be useful. Other than automatisation, and multitasking it can execute task what might be difficult for a human person. This voice-activated smart assistant could be the only way for people with physical problems. Or it could give more security for elderly people by automatically turning off the lights, or setting reminders for them.