Smart Speakers And Controlling Your Smart Home

Smart Speakers And Controlling Your Smart Home

Your smart speaker is equipped with a powerful Artificial intelligence. It’s built with a solid and expandable foundation. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi circuits are churning all day long while contacting natural language servers in the cloud. Simultaneously, the same communication modules are streaming music, fetching weather forecasts, reading football scores, and pulling up the next episode of your weekly podcast. Then, while these actions ping-pong back and forth, a localised processing thread is dealing with your expanding Smart Home. It makes an opening move by downloading a few Skills, Routines or Actions. The downloads finish, the wireless instructions alter subtly, and your home listens.

Types of Smart Speaker Compliant Smart Home Devices

So what requests can your listening virtual assistant accommodate? Answer that question by investigating the smart accessories that fill out the shelves at your local electronics store. Better yet, divide the gear into categories. Home security systems are a good place to begin, for they’re capable of some cross over. Light fixtures fit both applications. They dim or brighten automatically as you enter a room. Later on, when you and your family have popped out for the evening, the lights take on a second job by flipping to the fully illuminated position when a potential intruder is detected.

IFTTT and Smart Speakers

Your AI can even add a little extra flare to the instructions by adding a few IFTTT commands. IFTTT is a standardised means of building conditional statements. This is a simple instructional format that’s quickly becoming a standard part of the Smart Home command structure. If that intruder scenario were to occur at your property, imagine using a conditional statement and your own IoT to program the lights to flip fully ON when the alarm is triggered. Your virtual assistant would then take the commands several stages deeper, perhaps by sending a notification to the local authorities and the activated security camera feed straight to your smartphone.

Security and Smart Home Speakers

You’re under complete control of home security, then, which leaves you with an opportunity to consider the finer things in life. Your smartphone is pocketed, your smart assistant is tied into your smart home security system, and your smart camera is wirelessly guarding your property. Everything is wireless, although there may be a need for a Hub if the wireless standards can’t talk to each other. An AI feedback mechanism is invaluable here, with the naturally voiced response telling you the status of the various sensors and whether the primary siren is armed or not armed. Again, the Scout Alarm system bonds to mobile devices and your AI with hassle-free ease, but some of Samsung’s gear (Via The SmartThings Hub) is reportedly a little more stubborn. Experienced Smart Home adopters seem to favour The Nest family, at least in terms of security, for these security accessories deliver an enviable degree of plug-in-and-go conformability. Keep in mind, however, the fact that Nest products are designed to work with Google Home, not Alexa and her Echo housing. Amazon Echo, however, does have a “Works With Nest” certification and supports a number of IFTTT “recipes.”

Smart Heating and Smart Home Speakers

The last sentence acts as a nice segue, a way of connecting hands-free home security monitoring to a hands-free, environmentally controlled home. The Nest range, like many of these smart kits, targets every part of the home, from your alarm system to your air conditioning gear, and beyond. The Nest thermostat, unequivocally speaking, is a centrepiece in the Google connected home. It’s a multigenerational device, so it’s based on a mature wireless platform. The rounded hardware doesn’t require some indecipherable setup script, just a few configuration settings. From here, it begins learning your heating habits so that it can tailor a heating plan that satisfies your unique comfort requirements. Learning ability, as any philosophy student will tell you, is a mark of intelligence. Therefore, follow this line of reasoning, if you can, when you join your Google Home AI to your Nest. You’re truly augmenting the IQ of your smart home. That uber-intelligent learning intellect incorporates every Nest product, all the way to the Indoor and Outdoor cameras and the Nest Protect, a learning-capable carbon monoxide detection system.

Smart Lighting and Smart Home Speakers

Further down the comfort trail, you’ll find yourself itching to see what else the devices can automate. You’ve purchased your first Philips Hue kit. It works with HomeKit (Apple’s home communications framework). It also hooks seamlessly to your Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, or any other Alexa-enabled device. Google Home, as driven by your Google Assistant, also controls your new kit. You’ve got a Hue Bridge (A Hub) and a few bulbs to play with, so what happens next? Start by asking your virtual assistant to dim the lights, because the work day was hard and your eyes are sore. Percentages also work in this scenario. Instruct your Hue bridge, via Google Home this time, to brighten the lights by fifty percent. This is all done hands-free, naturally, plus there’s a Skill in the Alexa store that enhances the feature. In theory, and we have to mention this fact to stay unbiased, Google’s own Actions will also incorporate a similar Hue control service, but Alexa has something of a head start here. In point of fact, Alexa now has access to over several thousand skills.

Smart Plugs and Smart Home Speakers

General switching duties are left in the capable control circuits of wireless plug-ins. The TP-Link Smart Plug Mini fits the bill on this occasion, with its simple Wi-Fi circuit playing the part of a basic binary device. Still, that little squarish block of plastic has the power to amplify your comfort level while simultaneously tempering your frustrations. If you go to bed late one night and forget to turn off the downstairs lights, why there’s no need to swear under your breath as you stomp downstairs to locate the switch. Just tell your AI to turn off the lights. Is the virtual assistant down there as well? That’s not a problem, not if you have your microphone-equipped remote control on your bedside table. Alternatively, make your smart assistant omnipresent. Buy another one, and another, then place the multiplying AI bases in the rooms you need them.

Other Smart Devices and Smart Home Speakers

One of those ideal AI spots has to be right beside your comfy living room chair. From here, ask your virtual assistant to dim the lights or reduce the speed of your ceiling fan. Ask your Nest Thermostat for a 21°C (69.8°F) environment in the living room. Then, if the garden lawn needs sprinkling, ask Alexa or Google Home to do the work. The Rachio water irrigation system will listen for the AI command and obey, leaving you to lounge. If that lazy afternoon lounge should become a bore, why not turn on your Chromecast device and watch a movie? Google Home excels here as a voice-activated television controller, an Android television lounge master. If the question is on the tip of your tongue, the answer is yes, the Chromecast line is part of the Google ecosystem, so the award-winning hardware will couple effortlessly to your Google Home.

Smart Speakers Connecting to Smart Devices

The number of branded corporate identities squeezing their way into your home is astounding, really. It’s amazing that all this gear manages to talk to any other piece of hardware. Indeed, that part of the design work is probably half the battle. The communications standards are designed to mesh through a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. If a secure device sidesteps these common standards, perhaps by opting for a proprietary Zigbee wireless protocol, then a wired Hub must be on hand to translate or “Bridge” the language gap. Now, while you’re still in that comfy chair, another brand is interested in your entertainment needs. This is an opportune moment to introduce the Hopper DVR from Dish. Classed as a state-of-the-art digital entertainment universe (As described by Dish marketers), the media box integrates into the Alexa platform as a hands-free audio/video service. Searches and channel hops are all accelerated by this move, which is handy, as you sometimes need both hands to really get into those big bags of popcorn.

Final Smart Home Thoughts

A true Smart Home is a harmonised network, a wireless system that uses a handful of language protocols to manage every connected device. Your AI sits at the top of this connected tree. It sends out Wi-Fi and Bluetooth requests, into the air and through the ether, through even the thickest walls, so that a listening camera or window switch can be armed. Your smart security system sends a message back along the same information conduit to tell you the status of the switch, camera, or door lock. A smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector uses the same smart system attributes to monitor your home, with yet another feedback thread informing you of the hardware’s current status. This network subset embodies the workings of an intelligent, hands-free, and voice activated home security system. With that said, there aren’t many differences between the various Smart Home systems links. They all communicate wirelessly with each other, or they call in a hub to bridge the language barrier. Either way, they’re part of that oft-mentioned internet of things, which, incidentally, is a term that’s in danger of becoming an overused buzzword.

This invisible system chatter is indeed an example of the connections that couple the Internet of Things (IoT), but those “Things” are not featureless products, nor should they be pigeonholed as some ineffectual product codifier. Every component has its own unique address. The AI polls the connected accessories, knows where they’re installed, and reports their condition straight back to your virtual assistant. Let’s use that hypothetical burglar alarm system to illustrate the advantages of your smart layout. Importantly, that aforementioned hands-free feedback feature doesn’t truly exist on your dumb alarm systems. Yes, you can hike your way to the central control station and inspect the various sensors, but by the time you did that, well, the intruder could be in your home. It’s better by far to have at least an App that relays the location of the break-in. Then, on following this progression to its natural conclusion, the Smart Home and your Smart Home Security system should be under the jurisdiction of your personal virtual assistant, a digital presence that can use its Skills or Actions to execute any possible reaction. Imagine your Amazon Echo or Google Home, or even your Homekit system (Apple’s Siri) automatically voicing the location of the intruder while casting a video feed of the crime straight to your smartphone. Finally, those actions would likely be supplemented by a call to the police and a recording of all criminal activity.

The IoT and IFTTT jargon discussed up to this point are part of a fairly advanced topic. There’s a lot of computer science involved, so software coding and hardware protocols are the norms here, plus there’s a lot of proprietary hardware to be installed in the rooms of your house. In the end, though, the goal is to make your life and the lives of your family easier. The Nest thermostat and its associated parts follow this maxim because they’re mostly automated. They learn independently so that informed decisions can be made on the spot. Meanwhile, the other comfort brands are distributed throughout your property, again as semi-autonomous hardware. In the media domain, your Fire TV stick or Android TV interfaces with your personalised artificial intelligence. Chromecast connectivity and third-party media providers (Courtesy of the Dish Hopper) are also on hand. Then, as if all this wasn’t already enough, these entertainment avenues are also supported by a specialised remote control hardware database, so multiple routes to the best available media streaming experience are taken care of from several angles. That latter provision, the smart remote control feature, is part of Logitech’s Harmony service, an Alexa Skill that grants users access to thousands of connected devices, as long as you’re lucky enough to own either a Harmony Elite or one of its higher-echelon remote controlling associates. Meanwhile, the Hub of a Philips Hue unit expands automatically as you add new light bulbs to the Philips sub-network. Smart doorbells also work autonomously as visitor inspectors, so their only duty is to relay the video and audio feed to your mobile device. The true power of all of this smart gear, however, is its scalability, its ability to connect to one far-reaching network. This singular digital framework now demonstrates a unified architecture, a meshed form that takes its cues from your AI and, inevitably, from your voice.

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ICT professional, author, serial Internet entrepreneur, investor, and of course, a smart home enthusiast!

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