Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Home with Google Assistant made a big splash at CES this year. Everything from smart speakers to toilets now includes these two digital assistants. Why are they such a big deal, and why do even more devices come with both installed?
The answer is pretty simple. Both the Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant digital personal assistants are an easy value add to pack into products. Customers love both of these services, and both make sense to have within smart speakers.
The digital personal assistant space has also revolutionized the smart home market. Both of these assistants make speaking to your home to issue smart home commands much easier. Before the Amazon Echo was released with its Alexa service, using your voice to control your house was not an easy, if not impossible, thing task.
Of course, retrofitting your home with smart devices to make it a truly smart home is not an easy task. Companies can use all sorts of different standards to create a smart device. These devices may require smart hubs that control them and connect with protocols like Z-Wave or Zigbee, or they might connect straight to your home network via WIFI. Some may be compatible with the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant services while others may not. Sometimes you need bridges to make your smart doorbell to work with your smart speakers. In these cases, it’s wise to contact a Control4 dealer or similar. Control4 is a popular solution to bring all the devices in your smart home together.
I think the biggest takeaway from this year’s smart speaker announcements is that we will finally be getting stand-alone speakers with true high fidelity. The Echo and Home products are good products that have okay speakers built in. Many have bought the cheaper models, like the Echo Dot, because it has the capability to easily connect itself to a true stereo system. This year we are seeing standalone speakers from other vendors with really good audio quality and either the Alexa or Assistant services included, and that is amazing!
This also means that consumers will be able to get Sonos-like capabilities without the high price tag. Sonos speakers can easily cost hundreds of dollars. Though they sound great and serve a specific purpose, other speakers are capable of sounding better. The problem has been that no other services are capable of matching Sonos’ sound sync technology with the exception of Alexa and Assistant. With more speakers offering these digital assistants, our options have just expanded heavily.