Voice control used to be a novelty in the smart home arena, more of an aid or those with disabilities than the next hot thing. Well times are a changing. In 2016 Echo and Amazon Alexa speech engine have made voice control not only acceptable for the average home but an important part of everyday life.
As owners of a smart home business; my husband and I try out new technology before a client wants to buy it and put it in their home. This allows us to live with it and understand the technology’s strengths and weaknesses to give our clients all the information to make an intelligent choice for their home. After using Siri for the last several years I was skeptic about using voice control. Have you ever asked Siri somethign and she just didn’t understand and finally you realize you’ve wasted way too much time trying to get her to understand you and it’s faster to do it on your own? Well I have and this is a few times a week situation for me. I knew that voice control technology would either be a godsend or a nightmare. So when my husband brought home the Echo dot (AKA Alexa) for us to try out I was not very excited.
Now I’ve been living with voice control for the last several months and here are a few of my thoughts. Alexa seems to understand me quite well, in fact I believe that it should tutor Siri on voice recognition. I can connect Alexa to my amazon account and have it order things for me. I live in the mountains and rely quite heavily on Amazon for my purchasing because I live at least 40 minutes from the closets Walmart, Costco, clothing shop, etc. Last but most importantly, The Echo Dot works seamlessly with our home system Control4. We can ask her to turn off the lights, turn up the heat, turn the TV on and off, change channels in the TV, play music and play scenes that we have created. This is such an advantage to anyone who constantly has their hands full. For example, my 2 year old daughter is falling asleep on my lap on the couch. I can tell Alexa to to dim or turn off lights, turn down the television and turn on her nap scene (her bedroom lights turn off, white noise begins, and her humidifier turns on in her room). Sometimes I feel like I’m living at the Jetson’s home. Now where is my robot maid?
Things I Love About The Echo Dot
- When I am cooking and my hands are covered in egg or raw meat I can ask Alexa to set a timer.
- I can ask Alexa to add items to my Amazon shopping bag for me, which is good because I never remember later when I’m at the computer.
- I can ask Alexa to play music. This can be almost any genre.
- Alexa can read my audio to me. I am an audible fan and you can link your audible account and play it through your Echo Dot.
- We easily connected the Echo Dot to our Control4 automation system. In fact, it seemed to sense that we had Control4 and took only a few minutes configuring it in Control4.
- I can ask Alexa what the weather will be and any news headlines when I get up in the morning.
- I like that the Dot is small and low profile. I’m not ready for Hal 9000 from Space oddysey size.
- The Echo Dot voice controller is about $50. That’s worth checking out if you are interested.
Things I Don’t Love About the Echo Dot
- I really don’t like that I can’t change the name Alexa. Alexa happens to be my daughter in-law’s name and when she comes over we must unplug the Echo Dot because it thinks I’m talking to it when I’m not. I’d prefer Jeeves…
- Sometimes Alexa thinks that the TV is talking to it. It is not all the time, but it’s annoying.
Overall you can see that there are move Love’s then Don’t Loves. As a multi-tasker I am impressed with the Echo Dot voice control and it does make my life easier. I am enjoying having it and look forward to playing and finding more uses. For more information on this product Click Here
Nexus Electric and Smart Home