It's 2018 and if you thought we'd have robots in our homes by now, you'd be right – at least partially.
They're called smart speakers and these automated home assistants have only recently touched down in Australia, though they've been on the US market for some time.
The capabilities of these digital assistants are pretty impressive, but could they actually enhance your Gold Coast home? Let's take a look.
In the simplest terms, a smart speaker is a digital device that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to perform a range of tasks.
While you may not be familiar with smart speakers, you've probably heard of Apple's original automated assistant, Siri. Introduced to the world in 2010, Siri represented the first time AI would be in the hands of anyone who owned an iPhone.
Today, Siri also lives inside the Apple HomePod, one of the many smart speakers available that can help owners perform various, everyday functions. There's also Google Assistant, the AI inside popular Smart Speaker Google Home and Alexa, who powers Amazon's smart speaker offering, Amazon Echo.
Eight years ago, the world was blown away by Siri's ability to help iPhone owners make a call, send a text message, get directions or check the opening hours of a local business. Today, AI is much more advanced.
The quality and capability of a smart speaker will depend on the one you buy, but most will integrate with various web services and applications to manage various household functions. With a verbal command, you can ask your smart speaker to:
Here's the big thing to keep in mind when deciding to buy a smart speaker: what they can do for you largely depends on how well you're integrated with other applications and devices. On its own, a smart speaker can be an excellent source of information – and not to mention, entertainment!
But for a smart speaker to really change your life at home, it needs to be integrated with other devices and systems, such as your lighting, temperature control, security and so on. You'll only be able to use your Google Home to play music, for example, if your audiovisual system is compatible with the device.
Therefore, before running out and buying a home assistant, think critically about how much one will actually change your life. Observe your daily routine. Do you regularly run into tasks that could be automated by a smart speaker? If so, it's probably worth investing in a device. Otherwise, you might find that a speaker would be more amusing than practical.
It's also important to keep in mind that we're only just beginning to see what smart speakers are capable of. If you're not impressed yet, you probably will be in a few years after this form of AI advances even further.
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