Are you ready to upgrade to a smart home? From smart light bulbs to thermostats and security systems, there’s plenty of devices available on the market. One of these is a smart home assistant, that can control other devices linked to the same network.
If you're just getting started with smart home assistants, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. With so many options to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? This guide will help make your decision easier, by outlining the benefits, as well as looking at the main two devices on the market today.
What is a smart home?
A smart home is one that connects the tech in your home with your Wi-Fi network to conveniently control different aspects of your home, such as your heating.
Usually, you can control the tech through voice control as well as through an app on your smartphone or tablet.
Pros of smart home assistants
- Convenience. As already mentioned, you can control your appliances easily through either voice-activation or an app on your device.
- Information. Your smart home gadget will be able to quickly provide an accurate list of data on your home, such as a full history of activity on your smart security camera. For smart energy meters, you can quickly find out how much gas and electricity you are using. This can help you take control of your usage and keep bills down.
- Automation. Although slightly time-consuming at the start, you can set up routines and rules for your smart assistants to action automatically. For example, when your security sensor is triggered by you entering your home, you can set a rule for the lights to turn on.
Of course, using smart home technology does require some digital ability, but most of these devices come with easy to follow instructions, and they’re designed for everyone to access.
Popular smart home assistants
There are currently two main smart home assistants that are leading the market, the Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. Both offer models at different price points, so it can be hard to know which option to go for. Let’s look at a comparison below.
Alexa and Assistant are both activated by 'wake words' – 'Ok, Google' or 'Hey Google,' for the Assistant, while the Amazon Alexa allows you to select from a set of wake words from the app.
When it comes to the AI conversation between you both, there really isn't much difference. Both assistants are good at understanding follow-up questions, as well as interpreting the context around situations.
When it comes to performing functions around your house and collating information for you, the two are closely tied. For Google, the Assistant has an extensive knowledge graph, meaning a faster rate of providing information when you need it. However, Amazon's Alexa is showing rapid growth, with easy information access on the rise.
In terms of connecting to the rest of your devices in your smart home, the assistants are again divided. For Google, their number of services means ease of access. For example, Google Express allows for easy purchasing of items online that are delivered to your door. It also features a Digital Wellbeing service, helping you to take a break and enjoy some 'me time.'
For Alexa, there are obviously tight integrations with Amazon services, meaning easy ordering through Prime, as well as music playback and reminders.
To sum up
Smart assistants, once you’re used to how they work, can become invaluable in making your everyday life easier and less time consuming. Both of the main brands are good options, so think about the services you already have subscriptions for, and start your decision there.