Who wouldn’t like a home handyman to control via voice commands? Home automation aims at this, with increasingly amazing results and technologies within everyone’s reach
Already in the ’70s and’ 80s we fantasized about the possibility of living in a ‘smart’ house capable of responding to our voice commands and gestures, providing us with maximum comfort in any situation. In some more extreme cases it was also thought to be able to communicate with one’s home, fascinated by the creation of artificial intelligence at our service able to satisfy any of our requests.
Everyone is tempted to get home and ask the kitchen to prepare a plate of pasta for us, the washing machine to start up and the TV to switch on and tune in to the channel where the football match or the evening’s film is broadcast. Waiting times and fatigue would be reduced, thus being able to optimize the day to live with less stress.
The house of the future
At the moment these technologies exist and are on the market, but obviously the skyrocketing prices are certainly not among the most accessible, mainly because the most advanced voice commands are quite difficult to integrate into devices. Furthermore, their actual usefulness is still questioned, on the other hand the home automation technologies to make the home Smart are considered more a luxury than a necessity. Most users limit themselves to using voice commands with portable devices such as smartphones or tablets and only in more recent times are they trying products such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, assistants that should in theory manage all the other Smart products present in the home.
But is it really necessary to use voice commands in order to set up your own Smart Home? In reality, recent studies have proven how it is possible to increase comfort at home without spending a fortune, simply covering the most pressing needs and leaving out those that could only be a whim or luxury.
Let’s start with home audio diffusion: is it really necessary? It seems superfluous to equip every room with a cash desk or an assistant with voice commands, especially in the bathroom or perhaps in the bedroom, rooms where you usually don’t spend much time. You can start with a single device and then build a larger plant once a good budget is reached.
To sleep peacefully
As for home security, you can focus on an IP camera or a kit of cameras with centralized control, they do not cost a lot and can be easily installed without too many worries. Obviously, if you don’t want to give too much attention, you can opt for intelligent Smart models, such as bulbs with integrated camera. Alternatively, there are small cams that can be controlled with smartphones or tablets, useful for monitoring children in their room or perhaps their pets when not at home.
And for remote control of devices? You can try with a smart plug controllable via voice commands given by Amazon Echo or Google Home. They are special adapters for the power socket in which to connect a television or other devices to be able to switch them on or off remotely.
In the same way, you can opt for a Smart TV with voice commands, or perhaps add an intelligent Soundbar or Google Chromecast to your Full HD or 4K flat screen TV without smart functions to access a series of functions and apps such as Netflix streaming services.
Warm and cool on command
But the convenience does not end there, you can also think of using voice commands to adjust the temperature in the house via the thermostat. Of course you need to have an autonomous heating to make things easier and buy a suitable product. At the moment, however, the prices of these thermostats are really high and far exceed the economic possibilities of most users. Of course it is very convenient to be able to raise or lower the temperature by voice, especially if you are in a room far from the thermostat, but perhaps if you do not have great possibilities it is better to concentrate on other home automation features.
So far we have talked about voice commands but, although this seems to be the direction of interactivity with devices for the foreseeable future, not everyone is comfortable ‘communicating’ with an artificial intelligence. On the other hand, it could be a bit alienating to make repeated requests to an invisible entity to start a dishwasher so as not to take those ten seconds it takes to press two or three buttons.
However, if you still want to take advantage of home automation technologies, but avoid voice commands, you can always use Bluetooth and wireless connections to control everything via smartphone or tablet. There are several appliances on the market that can interact with Bluetooth, for example washing machines or microwave ovens that can be switched on remotely or perhaps the lights in the house.
The evolution of sound
Ensuring high-level listening is one of the priorities that audio and home theater speaker manufacturers have set themselves . This is because people want to have an increasingly satisfying listening experience, whether they decide to listen to their favorite albums or to totally immerse themselves in a movie.
This is why the proposed solutions are aimed at ensuring crystal clear audio, rich in nuances, but above all at reducing the elements of a home theater system without damaging listening fidelity. In this perspective, for example, sound bars or 2.1 systems are inserted which, however, are able to guarantee a surround effect, until recently the prerogative of 5.1 systems or higher.
The door becomes intelligent
Recently, Smart Locks have also become available on the market, i.e. locks that can be controlled via smartphone, completely eliminating the need to carry house keys. Of course, it does not inspire a lot of security since internet or Bluetooth connections are always at risk of viruses, but if we think of the access codes used by hotels or in some condominiums, in fact it does not seem so unlikely.
There are Smart Locks to simply apply to the doors of the house, although the usefulness of these devices has not yet convinced everyone. Furthermore, at the moment house keys are definitely the cheapest solution, since the prices of Smart Locks are still quite prohibitive, not to mention the assembly costs.
Perhaps the most convenient solution is to wait further for home automation prices to drop, which will likely happen in the near future when voice or Bluetooth commands become the standard for all appliances and devices.