• Ali Egan

The Future of Voice Control in Automation

Voice control is quickly becoming a dominant means of controlling smart technology in both home and work spaces. While the Amazon Alexa is the dominant device right now to enable voice control functions of Smart Devices, the Google Home is a direct competitor. Even Apple is now dipping its toe into voice control by using Siri paired with the Home Kit app to control smart home devices.

The most intriguing thing about voice control innovations is not that you can give simple voice commands, but that the devices can make conclusions based on what you’ve said, referencing past behaviors or device settings. Instead of saying “Turn the oven to 350 degrees”, you can say “I’m baking chicken thighs tonight” and your oven will turn to its remembered settings from the last time you baked chicken thighs. This sort of technological advancement is amazing, as it opens the door to a more intuitive home automation experience. The future of voice control can find answers to the questions within a command. “Play that song about Major Tom” will be answered by the soothing tones of David Bowie. A preset group of lights can turn off after being told “I’m going to bed now”, and “I’m awake” can start the coffee pot.

Not only do these voice control devices have the artificial intelligence capabilities to draw conclusions based on vague commands, they now have the capability to diagnose health issues. Dr. AI is a new voice activated software for the Amazon Alexa that works to aid users who are less technologically literate. This software aggregates medical records to filter through various symptoms in an effort to create an accurate diagnosis and provide information to the user. If necessary, Dr. AI can even contact a medical professional and connect them to the user.

As a user of voice control for my home automation (I use Alexa), what I am looking forward to the most for the future of voice control is voice recognition for use by multiple members of the same household. Anyone in the home can use Alexa now, but only one Amazon account can be connected, as well as only one calendar, and one set of lists. As companies like us make use of these existing voice control features, consumers and businesses are starting to want better, more intuitive functionality from their home automation voice-control devices. The advancement of voice-activated technology is happening quickly, and the gaps of functionality we have now within the field are shrinking, and are soon to be eliminated.

Updated 12/22/2020 - In 2019 I swapped from using Alexa to Google Home, which DOES now have voice recognition.

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