Will Virtual Assistants Transform Home Automation?

Apple has Siri, Google has something which might be even better, and Amazon has been doing it for a wile already. We’re talking about Virtual assistants and Home Automation systems, of course.

These devices have been making people’s lives easier for a long time, yet which brand should you go with? With modern home automation, there are three primary competitors when it comes to linking smartphone virtual assistants to home automation systems and components. These ‘new’ smartphone compatible systems have meant that home automation is increasingly available in more and more homes, and progressively more accessible.

Below, we look at the three main options out there, and what the positives and negatives are.


Amazon gives (but also asks) a lot


Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo and Alexa are great for anyone wanting to give their home automation and virtual assistant a level of versatility which competitors just don’t seem to match up to. Amazon’s entry allows for up to 10,000 individual commands, meaning you can control almost anything you can think of in your home. Amazon’s product is also capable of connecting with a huge range of other devices, meaning you’re less likely to find that the system you want is impossible due to incompatibility.

However, Amazon’s entry isn’t all perfect. One of the big problems with their virtual assistant is that there is no integrated APP for controlling it with your smartphone. You can run it through the amazon store APP, but it’s just not the same. Some users might find this a tad frustrating.

Also, 10,000 commands might seem like a lot (and it is), but then think about how you’ll manage to remember all of them individually. Whilst it will allow a huge range of versatility, it might (possibly) be too much versatility.


Google looks to the future


So, in comes google with the Google Home and Home Control. Google is a household name. Everyone has heard of it and their search engine accepts over 67.5 percent of search total queries. Moreover, they have now entered into the Smartphone market.

Google Home
Google Home

With this, they’re now headed towards integrating all their products; this means great things for home automation and the versatility of virtual assistants. Yet whilst Google has been increasing their home automation partners (groups with whom their technology will work) competitor Amazon still matches up with more compatible devices.

Unfortunately, whilst Google may be making headway in the smartphone market, their home automation product still doesn’t fully integrate with smartphones. If you’ve got an Android smartphone, then you’ve probably seen the google assistant. The issue is that this isn’t the same one as the one the home automation system and virtual assistant require.


Rumours of Apple taking it to the next level


Despite Apple’s Siri drawing fire for being inferior to Google virtual assistant, Apple have been making moves to start is fighting back. They’re doing this with the Apple Homekit. Similar to the tech giant’s trademark love of simplicity, the Apply Homekit works by keeping things simple and clean. The home integration system works in conjunction with Siri, and allows for the user to select ‘scenes’, which will adjust entire settings instead of ones individually.

Unfortunately, Apple is the one competitor who doesn’t have a bundled Wi-Fi speaker in their home automation ecosystem… yet. This has led to some questioning as to whether Apple is really able to keep up with its competitors. That being said, there are rumours that they will be releasing a speaker in 2017 (along with Facial recognition and a built-in camera). If rumours are true, then Apple looks set to have one of the most integrated home automation and virtual assistant systems out there (in the future).

Whichever device you choose to go with, Apple seems to have the most going for it in the future, yet you’re going to have to invest more money down the line. The Google device is simple, but it might be best to hold off for a while to see how well they do in securing home automation partners. Meanwhile, Amazon’s entry is strong and has a good history, but their lack of activity in the smartphone market might just mean that both Google and Apple will overtake them.


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