Even Smarter: What Smart Speakers Can Do, and Why Buy Them
The history of “smart” speakers with voice assistants began several years ago when Amazon announced its release of a new product. The smart speaker was created with one goal – to bring together the scattered functionality of the Amazon ecosystem with the help of voice commands and make the user’s life even more enjoyable.
After Amazon, Smart speakers have become more common with Google’s smart speaker and then Apple’s HomePod following in line. Each device, its creators assure us, has its advantages over the competition.
Wireless speakers with built-in voice assistants became a trend in 2018 and are widely on the market. A speaker with a voice assistant can be a good study companion. For example, experts of cheap writing service say that a smart speaker will make work easier. It helps in finding information, explaining difficult points, remind about essential things. Let’s look back at the smart speakers of the loudest brands and see what features they can offer.
What is a smart speaker?
A smart speaker is a component of smart home devices that have gained popularity over the years. A smart speaker is therefore an internet-enabled speaker that you can easily operate and control using voice commands. The speaker is useful in streaming your audio content, giving you information, and connecting and communicating with other devices.
The smart speaker, therefore, is connected to the Wi-Fi and gives you the easiest of times in operating them. In some instances, you can use them to control other devices using the built-in virtual assistant feature.
Additional reading: How To Make Regular Speakers Wireless
The most important features in a smart speaker include:
- Playing music
- Answering questions for you
- Performing automated tasks such as informing you of the weather or turning off the lights
- Controlling and communicating with compatible smart devices
To note is that the smart speakers turn to ordinary speakers without an internet connection. Some even become pretty useless. Therefore, to effectively use the smart speakers, you need a WiFi connection.
The market in 2021 is controlled mainly by two devices; Amazon and Google smart speakers. Amazon Alexa is the most advanced voice assistant. Therefore, Amazon smart speakers are the most popular (Dominating two-thirds of the market share) over the last 4 years.
What Does A Smart Speaker Do?
What can it do, besides just being your virtual assistant and relieving you of some tasks? Well, the capabilities mentioned in this article are only scratching at their potential with new features coming out all the time!
In fact, many people use these devices as an entire home hub. This is because they have so much power packed into them nowadays that is unheard-of before a few years ago when we had no idea what would happen next.
You are able to connect them to smart bulbs, smart thermostats, smart locks, security systems, TVs, and even the coffee maker! Thus, as a home hub, you can use the voice assistant to control all these devices.
Additional reading: Specific Smart Home Technologies Everyone Needs
Different companies have different models that have different functionality and size. You may get a small speaker that does have mediocre sound or a large one. Moreover, you may also be able to connect some speakers with other speakers for better sound.
As part of the different features of smart speakers, some come with color displays. This is a feature that can make your home lively.
To improve functionality, you need to interact with your speaker more. It recognizes your voice, learns the accent and tone, and uses it to improve functionality. To relay the information, the smart speaker uses IoT (Internet of Things) to ensure the command goes to the right device.
Types of Smart speakers and their advantages
Since Amazon’s smart speaker introduction, several other companies have introduced smart speaker products. The best smart speaker product lines are:
Google’s wireless speaker, introduced in 2016, uses Google Assistant to contact the user. It launches with the traditional “OK, Google” command and immediately identifies the host by voice – you can make a voice “passport” for all family members.
Why do we need Google home (Nest)?
The gadget is convenient for Android users. It will help turn on music on Google Play Music and Spotify. Moreover, you can use it to find videos on YouTube without touching your smartphone or keyboard.
Plus, it can tell you the latest information about the weather, traffic jams on the roads, call a cab on-demand, find information on the Internet on request and display the results on your mobile device.
The speaker connects to the TV and is “friendly” with “smart home” systems Nest, Philips Nue, IFTTT, and others. Google Home can be “brought to life” by touching the touch panel at the speaker’s top. There is a button on the body that disables the microphone that receives voice commands.
Read more: Best Bluetooth Speakers with a Microphone
Amazon Echo Show
The smart speaker from Amazon is a hybrid of a tablet and speaker with eight built-in microphones and has a touch screen. The Echo Show communicates with users thanks to the Amazon Echo personal assistant. It knows how to wake the owner in the morning, call a cab, tell the latest news, and order products on Amazon.com.
The speaker responds to the call sign “Alexa,” but the user can change the code word.
Alexa remains the digital virtual assistant that lives in our smart speakers. She is software, and as such, she has more third-party compatibility than any other voice-activated platform out there.
I prefer using Alexa over others because of how many different skills are available from companies like Uber or Spotify which make life easier. This is because it allows me to order a ride without having to step foot outside my house when I’m feeling really lazy. Moreover, I like being able to ask her anything!
The new Amazon Echo 4th gen offers so many features including better quality sound output and a smart home hub as compared to previous models.
Why do we need Amazon Echo?
The speaker is a handy addition to Amazon’s ecosystem, which millions of users use. The Echo Show is connected to music services from Amazon, Spotify, and others. Thus, it lets you watch clips on Amazon Video and YouTube.
The main feature is a built-in camera that allows you to make free video calls to devices with Alexa voice assistant.
The Echo Show connects to your home Wi-Fi and can receive security camera footage as well as photos from other devices. In addition, the speaker supports intelligent home systems from Samsung SmartThings, Philips, and Ring.
Apple released a smart speaker in early 2018, announcing that the small-sized device could replace an entire audio system. The company focused on sound quality and didn’t forget to add a Siri voice assistant to each speaker.
Why do we need Apple HomePod?
HomePod willingly and quickly connects to Apple’s ecosystem of products and allows you to listen to music, search for clips online and watch them on your big screen TV or laptop screen, giving you great sound provided by seven built-in speakers and a subwoofer.
The speaker’s owner will be surrounded by sound. This is thanks to the automatic orientation system – wherever you go, the music will follow you.
Apple considers the HomePod speaker to be like “a new magical music experience.”
The heart of the “smart” speaker from Microsoft and Harman Kardon is the voice assistant Cortana. As the manufacturer promises, the gadget combines perfectly with Android and iOS devices. It gives a “360-degree” sound and recognizes the user’s voice. You can connect the speaker to a smartphone or laptop via Bluetooth.
Why do we need Microsoft Invoke?
With Invoke, you can make Skype calls – the speaker works as a very high-quality loudspeaker. But, of course, in addition to this, the speaker is designed for listening to music, voice control of the smart home system, searching for information and videos on the Internet.
For example, if you don’t know how to choose an essay writing service, leave that task to a smart speaker. It will easily scour the Internet and report on the best essay writing service based on user reviews and other reliable information.
Cortana is also happy to set reminders, alarms to make notes and control the work of “smart” home appliances.
Echo cancellation and noise-canceling technology help the speaker to hear the command even under challenging conditions.
Six built-in microphones, one tweeter, one woofer, and Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, are an intermediary between human desires and device functions.
Why do we need
Sonos One supports an impressive number of online services, including Last.Fm. Users also praise this speaker more often for its excellent sound quality.
At the same time, you have to power the Sonos One by the mains and cannot work independently. The speaker goes online via Wi-Fi, and it is the only way to interact with devices in wireless mode – there are no other modules in the speaker.
Additional reading: Best Routers for Home Automation (Smart Home Routers)
Challenges with smart speakers
One of the main challenges that have been noted with smart speakers is privacy and data security.
The voice of someone’s home can give them a sense of security and warmth. However, you may be less aware that it also gives away valuable information about their personal life- without consent!
In the near past, there have been many concerns with “smart speakers” where users worry if conversations will recorded or listened in on by hackers. The worry is that they can use the voice print to access accounts using specific commands like ” Alexa play music.”
One solution being proposed is better encryption technology so our voices remain safe from prying ears. This is for both physical ones outside your house through windows etc. Moreover, you can ensure that you create a better WiFi password.
The most convenient such speaker will be those who store all music and videos in the cloud. Smart speakers have become one of the common features of our homes. They give you so much convenience.
You can choose between Amazon Alexa and Google voice assistant if you want the best virtual assistant. This way you can get the best speaker for your home.
When it comes to music, Amazon Echo Studio with Alexa easily takes the top spot. It’s more advanced than any other collection of speakers released by them so far, including a “3D” effect that was created using 5 separate 2-inch mid-range drivers and five inches down subwoofer which is all combined together to produce an even better rendering soundstage as well making it feel like you’re actually there! It has the following a built-in Smart Home Hub, a 3.5 mm/mini-optical line in, and 3D music that you can get through the Amazon Music HD subscription.
I would go for either Amazon or Google smart speakers depending on the versatility required and the common smart devices in our homes. If your home has more nest products, I would recommend Google smart speakers but if you have a mix or have more Alexa products then Amazon would be the best.
Yes, you need a WiFi connection to use the smart speaker optimally. Most smart speakers are rendered useless when there is no internet connection. Therefore, we recommend having a strong and secure WiFi connection for your smart speaker functionality.
A smart speaker uses a virtual assistant when connected to WiFi to use voice commands to carry out different functions such as playing music, answering verbally introduced questions, controlling other smart home devices, making calls, and even features like ordering an online taxi ride. Thus, it adds functionality to your playback music system