In the past, controlling your smart home boiled down to apps and automation. You can program a lamp to turn on at sunset with a scene or using your phone, touch screen or remote to turn it off after you’ve climbed into bed. But the newest of technology you can tell your smart home to turn it off with a voice control smart home system.
This always makes me think of “Star Trek” where they tell the computer what they want it to do. But today speech recognition technology is a part of our every day lives, just ask Siri. There are many new products now available that claim to make that “Star Trek” daydream a reality. While some are still in the beta startup phase, some are from some pretty familiar companies we all know. Here is a rundown on some of the newest products that CNET has reviewed.
Voice Control Product Reviews:
The Amazon Echo
“It started as a smart speaker capable of streaming whatever music you asked it to play, but it quickly became clear that Amazon Echo was capable of a whole lot more. Sync it up with your Belkin WeMo Switches , your Philips Hue Smart LEDs , or your Wink Hub-connected gadgets, and “Alexa,” the cloud-connected AI that powers Amazon Echo, will help you turn things on and off with simple voice commands. There’s also an Amazon Echo channel on IFTTT, the popular online automation service that’ll allow you to connect Alexa with Twitter, Facebook, or a whole host of compatible smart gadgets. Deeper smart home integrations are sure to follow, since Amazon released a software development kit for Echo that allows manufacturers and tinkerers to craft their own custom uses for Alexa’s voice-controlled smarts. Stay tuned — Alexa is just getting started.” -Ry Crist
“The elephant in the voice-controlled smart room is Siri, the AI assistant found in Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad and the Apple Watch. Apple granted her smart-home access with HomeKit, a set of control protocols built into the latest versions of its iOS operating system. Purchase and install a HomeKit-compatible smart-home gadget, and you’ll be able to control it directly through your device by telling Siri what you want to do.
There are only a handful of compatible devices for sale so far, but more are expected to arrive this fall and next year. HomeKit’s development also seems somewhat tied to the Apple TV streaming box, which already acts as a sort of HomeKit hub to let you use those Siri-powered voice controls from beyond your home’s Wi-Fi network. Rumors point to a possible Apple TV update in the near future, perhaps as soon as September — such a reveal might bring new HomeKit functionality with it.” -Ry Crist
“Based out of the Netherlands, Athom is a startup that wants to bring voice control to the smart home via Homey, a colorful, futuristic-looking sphere. Plug it into your router, and Homey promises to control a wide range of smart home products, complete with multilingual voice recognition.
Homey surpassed its crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter back in 2014, and plans to begin shipping out beta units in September before a formal launch in October. For now, it’s only available outside of the US and Canada, with a focus on European smart-home enthusiasts.” -Ry Crist
“Lest you think there’s only one voice-controlled smart-home sphere on the market, there’s the CastleHub, from CastleOS. Billing itself as the first smart hub to run off of Windows 10, the CastleHub is basically a round PC built to control the connected home. Sync it up with Microsoft Kinect, and you’ll be able to tell it what to do. If you’re an advanced user, you can even program your own custom commands. Unlike Homey, CastleHub ships worldwide, but at $500 (about £320 or AU$675, converted roughly), it won’t come cheap.” -Ry Crist
Reviews taken from the Article “Talk to your house with these voice-activated smart-home systems,” by Ry Crist on CNET online HERE