Smart speakers. These voice-controlled devices can give you music, news, podcasts, weather, set reminders and help out with the shopping list. But wait, there’s more!
In fact, the name is a bit of a misnomer. Think of the smart speaker more as your virtual assistant and you get the picture. Here are some examples of what else a smart speaker can enable, all at the command of your voice.
Light up your room
There’s no need to fumble for the light switch when you come back late at night. You can let there be light with just your voice.
Set up: You can connect your light to Alexa via the Philips Hue Bluetooth App. Follow the set-up prompts and go to the settings for voice assistants. Once connected, Alexa will say ‘found first light’.
If you want to set up voice control for five lights or more, it’s best to use the Philips Hue Bridge V2.0 which is sold separately. You can set up customised lighting, which can be voice-controlled by Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit – whichever option suits you best.
Monitor your home security
See who’s at the front door, or do a house reconnaissance, right from your couch.
Set up: Once your Arlo security cameras are in place, the best way to set up Google Assistant is via the Google Home App. Select Arlo via Devices, and sign in. Once Google Home has synced with the Arlo account and devices, you can then specify the camera locations. To stream the Arlo camera from a part of your house to your Chromecast-enabled TV, say ‘OK Google, show [camera name] on [Chromecast TV name]’.
Music where you want it via voice command
Multi-room audio has never been easier. And you can even configure the room combination so everyone has their own music zone. No one has to miss a beat again!
What you will need: Two or more Google Nest Audio (2020) or two or more Amazon Echo (Gen 4).
The sound quality of smart speakers has come a long way. For example, the 2020 Google Nest offers a vastly improved listening experience. It’s 75 per cent louder than the original Google Home, with 50 per cent stronger bass. Similarly, Amazon Echo with Alexa (Gen 4) puts the original Alexa speaker to shame.
Set up: For multi-room audio, it’s simply a matter of placing the smart speaker model of your choice in rooms where you want music. You can set up via voice but it’s probably easier to manage the speakers via an app, be it Google Home for Nest, or Amazon Alexa for the Echo. Customise and name your multi-room audio combinations and use voice control to get the music going. For example, “OK Google, play some eighties hits downstairs.”