Can I operate different systems in my home with voice control?
The short answer is yes. Many systems in the home work now days with Alexa, Siri & Google Home. For example, Lutron’s home systems such as Caseta, RadioRa & Homeworks all work with Alexa and Siri (through Apple HomeKit). You can give commands such as ‘Bedroom Shades Open’ or ‘Turn On Entertain’. In our showroom we set Alexa to initiate a ‘Watch Movie’ scene which brings down a projector screen, turns on the projector and DVD player, shuts the curtains and dims the lights.
Do all these three voice control systems work with every system you provide?
No, each one of those have some restrictions or systems they don’t work with. At present Alexa is the more robust of the three with more services they work with. Apple HomeKit is somewhat restricted as it can’t work with large systems. That rules out Home Automation systems such as Control4, Elan & RTi. At present Google Home works primarily with Nest products. However, Google is working hard to expand to other systems they can work with and when they do expend, they’ll make this field very interesting. Unlike Alexa or Siri the Google Home platform will be more conversational; to take the movie scene as an example, when you ask Google to turn on the movie, Google will ask ‘what source would you like to stream, cable, DVD or Roku?’ and based on your answer will switch to the right input.
How can I ensure voice commands can be heard throughout my house?
Well, for HomeKit you’d need your phone or iPad with you. For Alexa, you’d need to have Alexa enabled devices such as the Eco Dot spread throughout your house. To that end there’s a new product on the market that houses and conceals Eco Dots. The device looks like a ceiling mounted speaker so that it will integrate with the look of your audio speakers. It has the option to connect an Ethernet wire so that the Eco Dot can be wired back to your home network for better performance. It also has audio outputs allowing you to stream music from the Eco Dot to any room in the house using a multi-room amplifier. So, you can be sitting in your living room and ask Alexa to stream your favorite Pandora channel or lay in bed and ask to stream your Spotify playlist, then listen through your high quality home speakers rather than the Alexa speakers.
In short, Voice Control is gaining momentum. This is just the beginning, there’s much more to come in the very near future.