We’ve had smart speakers for a few years now, with the latest versions helping to transform living spaces into voice powered, remotely controlled homes like something from the future! Tech giant Google has made it clear that it sees AI, or Artificial Intelligence, as its top priority, investing in the algorithms and the hardware to make that happen. It looks like more and more people are buying into this technology for the home as it offers convenience, making our lives easier and more streamlined. Here’s a roundup of some of the essential AI smart tech homeowners should be considering investing in in 2018.
AI Smart Speaker Home Hubs
Usually, your first investment when it comes to turning your home into a smart home is a voice-controlled smart speaker hub, with integrated AI system that recognises your questions and commands. You can effectively control any integrated smart LED lights, thermostats, locks and security systems without leaving your seat. The big players are Amazon Echo, integrated with their voice AI, Alexa, and Google Home, though there are many other systems now appearing on the market. AI systems are also developing, no longer confined to cylindrical shapes and pods but now in robot form, such as the Alexa-infused Ubtech Robotics Lynx, LG Hub Robot, and Omate Yumi.
Amazon Echo, integrated with their voice AI Alexa, was one of the first devices of it’s kind on the market and is still a front runner, playing music, answering your questions, controlling smart home devices and can even make phone calls for you without having to lift a mobile device. It’s connected to the cloud and so is always getting smarter and developing more integration potential with other services and smart home systems.
Google Home is powered with Google Assistant and like the Echo it can connect with smart home systems such as Nest thermostats, Philips Hue lightbulbs and Samsung’s SmartThings, with more hardware integration being introduced all the time to give you control of your burgeoning smart home. Home’s real strength is as a control centre for playing music and video around the house. You can also use it to speak commands to any smart TV or speaker that has Chromecast built in. Give the simple ‘Ok Google’ command and you’re good to go!
Apple Homepod, eagerly awaited after a delayed launch, is expected to come on the market early this year as Apple’s answer to Google Home and Amazon Echo. Integrated with Siri and Apple Music, it’s being heralded as ‘the breakthrough home speaker’, with several built in speakers and a woofer for great sound quality and extra microphones for better voice recognition. It also uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room, automatically adjusting the audio. When away from home, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, it can provide remote access through the Home app on either an iPhone or iPad.
To make the best use of your hub, you need to install smart tech throughout the home to connect to. Here are a few suggestions:
AI Home Security
Days of the traditional home alarm are numbered thanks to numerous AI home security systems on the market. The Netatmo Welcome system, for example, is so sophisticated it can recognise the faces of you and your family, raising an alarm if any unrecognised strangers are trying to enter your property, putting it ahead of the standard motion sensor home alarm systems.
Give extra security and convenience by installing smart locks on doors to your home. The August Smart Lock system is reviewed as one of the more reliable systems in terms of consistency with which it works. When it senses your mobile phone on return to your home it automatically unlocks the door. Consulting the app also lets you see if you remembered to lock your door, even if miles away, and gives you the ability to lock it remotely if not.
Liking your hub to a smart thermostat, such as the Nest Thermostat with its own integrated AI, helps the device to learn the heating patterns that your family and home require over time. It can turn the heating on for you on return from a holiday and works to make your home maximum energy efficient, helping to cut energy bills overall.
A simple smart addition, and an important one to help get your home fully AI integrated, are smart sockets. By plugging in your devices to connected outlets, it gives you the ability to control devices plugged into them (even if they aren’t “smart”) using your smart hub. For example, when headed to bed, give the command “Alexa/Siri/Ok Google, turn off the living room,” which turns off the lights, the TV, and any other devices in that room – easy peasy!