Do We Need Voice Assistant Devices? The Pros and Cons.

We are living in a post PC era. On one hand, smartphones and tablets are more powerful than 15-years old desktops. On the other hand, new smart devices—such as smart watches, glasses, shoes, lights, locks, thermostats, vacuum cleaners, pet feeder, shades, TVs, smart watering-planters, and more—exist and are becoming a part of everyday life.

Most smart devices are designed to facilitate limited tasks. For example, an iRobot vacuum cleaner is simply designed to clean your house—not be a music player. The SmartLock provides keyless access to you, your family, and guests, but it doesn’t work as a weather sensor.
Computing devices that connect to a network and have the ability to transmit data are called internet of things (IoT) devices. They may be connected to each other, connected to a central hub, connected to an internet cloud service, or connected to your smartphone using Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi.

Consumer IoT products help us improve our lifestyle and optimize our time by taking care of, or even reducing, time consuming and unpleasant tasks. For example, with IoT devices, we don’t need to worry about mundane things like cleaning the house or watering our plants when we’re away on vacation. With an iRobot mobile application, you can send a command to start cleaning. In Goldoon’s mobile application, you can see the amount of water left in a plant’s container. By Philips Hue mobile application, you can turn your smart lights on, off, or dim them. While smart devices save us time and money, with every triumph comes a challenge. As people adopt more and smarter devices, they need an effective solution to manage them. What can people do when they have 25, 50, or even 100 IoT devices?

Sooner than later, our houses will run off of smart gadgets. According to Business Insider, 24 Billion IoT devices will be installed globally by 2020. With an average of 7 IoT devices per person, we need an efficient solution for managing and controlling our gadgets.

Voice assistant devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo are designed to help us to interact with our smart home quickly and easily—because of their standard communication protocols, they can connect to multiple IoT devices at the same time. For instance, you can say “turn off the bedroom light” to interact with your voice assistant and it will send a command to the targeted light. To start your iRobot, you can send a command to your Google home by saying, “OK Google, tell Roomba to start cleaning.”

Applied machine learning and artificial intelligence in voice assistant devices, like Google Home and Amazon Echo, turn them into a fast response solution for searching or sending commands to connected systems. Receiving feedback from the internal speaker on the devices creates an environment of natural two-way communication. Another important thing to note is, these cutting-edge devices are relatively inexpensive, with prices being marked as low as $49 during Black Friday 2017.

While there are many pros to IoT devices, it’s important to also examine the cons.
When we set up a Google home device in our living room, we will often see the device is activated and receives a command when the TV is on and playing TV shows or the news. These learning devices require time to learn and identify who is speaking. Our Google Home catches commands very well, but it can grow lazy when identifying simple commands like “OK Google” or “Hey Google”. Having one of them in your kitchen or living room is a good idea, but to have your assistant everywhere you need it, you have to add more devices in different locations, such as your basement or bedrooms. The volume of the internal speaker is good enough for a room or two, but if you want more devices to make controlling your Google home easier, it’s going to cost you.

Finally, smart gadgets will be populated similarly to smartphones and tablets. Discussing available solutions would be a good warm up so we’re not shocked when the IoTs knocks at the door.

Any thoughts? We’d love to hear what you think about IoT devices and how to effectively manage them. Leave a comment and share this post with your friends and family!

Special thanks go to my friend Elizabeth O’Hanley for editing and proofreading