Alexa, Google Home, Nest, Hue
Can you believe 2017 is here already? You know if you take a look at some of the depictions of the future from the 1940’s and 1950’s you’d see an entirely different depiction than the way our world looks right now. We don’t have flying cars, people aren’t living on the moon, and we haven’t made contact with aliens from outer space. There are a few things that they all got right, and it may or may not be a coincidence that all of those things happened to come from Star Trek.
There are three particular technological advancements that we want to cover today, all of which help to contribute to the ‘smart home’ atmosphere. You know what’s really cool about this? There was a time when a smart house was incredibly expensive; it had to be wired, it had to be built, it had to be integrated, and it was all incredibly expensive. Today, however, the idea of a smart house is reduce to a handheld device that can take commands, look up recipes, play music, and even order pizza if you’re so inclined. Yes, we’re living in the future and it’s fantastic!
The Amazon Echo
There are some who say that the Echo is as close as we are ever going to get to the Star Trek computer, and we have to admit, it’s pretty amazing. The cool thing about the echo is that it can play all of the music from your Amazon library, but will also connect to other music services like Pandora, Spotify, iHeart Radio, and more. When these services are selected, the device will be able to fill the room with 360 degree omnidirectional audio, and the best part? It’s all controlled with your voice. It will hear you from across the room, even if you have music playing, and it can do far more than that.
The Echo, powered by Alexa, is able to control a wide variety of systems within your home which include:
Think that’s amazing? Just wait, there’s more. It can read audiobooks to you, report the news, give you information on local businesses, and even supply you with scheduling information. Alexa is always getting smarter by analyzing your habits, and if you want to extend its influence, you can use the Amazon Echo Dot, which connects to your existing Echo and allows you to control it from any room in the home.
Google Home is very similar to the Alexa controlled Echo in many ways, though instead of calling on ‘Alexa’, you simply say ‘Okay Google’ just as you would to your smartphone. Google home, with superior sound technology is able to connect to a wide variety of music services that allow you to listen to virtually anything you want, any time you want.
Google home is able to seamlessly connect with several other smart home technologies including:
- Philips Hue
- Samsung SmarThings
- Nest Thermostats
All you need to do is say something along the lines of “Ok Google, dim the lights” and you’re on your way. You don’t have to get up, you don’t have to interrupt anything, you don’t have to do ANYTHING other than voice your commands. You can even have it stream shows to your TV using Chromecast. This is the smart house that humans of the past dreamed of.
Nest, also known as The NEST Learning Thermostat which is capable of programming itself and therefore saving you a considerable amount of money, especially if you happen to be out of the house. The best part is you can program it anywhere using a multitude of different devices which include your smartphone, your tablet, and even your computer. If you have a problem, Nest Protect will tell you, for example if the alarm goes off or the batteries are low. Nest is capable of integrating with Google Home, making it a contender of the best thermostat control on the market.
Want to control your lights with a few swipes of your finger? The Phillips Hue system has you covered there with intuitive technology and the ability to control a series of light bulbs that can adjust to cover all colors of the spectrum. It may or may not be a bit of a gimmick, but either way it’s fun and great for entertaining – even if you’re only entertaining yourself.
The smart house of the future is already here and it’s time for you to start living in it. It doesn’t even have to cost that much! Just use one or all of the devices we mentioned and move into the future.
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