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Welcome to the Connected Home

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Recently, Peter Taylor had an epiphany. He was at a restaurant with his young daughter who was annoyed that the lights were too bright.

At home she was used to controlling the lights with her voice using Amazon Echo so she shouted:

“Alexa, lights off!”

The waiter was perplexed as to why a girl would talk to the lights, but it made Taylor and his wife laugh. To their daughter, all lights inherently would respond to her voice commands.

“It made me realize that the connected home is already here,” says Taylor, vice president of products at WeMo, a line of connected home devices by Belkin International, in an interview for ArchiExpo.

Over the 10 years he has been in the industry, people have continued to predict that the connected home would be just around the corner, and though different categories of devices have seen rapid growth rates of 15 to 40 percent annually, most studies estimate that no more than one in four Americans owns a smart home device.

“We’re still in the first wave of connected home devices, and it’s mostly early adopters using it. However, the trend is accelerating and big players like Google, Amazon and Apple are beginning to drive awareness to the category,” says Neil Strother, research analyst with Navigant Research focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT).

“It’s a Kind of Magic”

The promise of a truly intelligent home is alluring and some devices are gaining traction such as home security cameras, thermostats, lighting, door locks and smart plugs. This year Amazon Echo has people excited about home automation, a Bluetooth speaker acting as a personal assistant that sits in your home and responds to voice commands that can turn on the music, adjust your thermostat or add milk to your shopping list.

Read the article: Home Voice Assistant Showdown: Amazon Echo vs. Google Home

“It changes how you interact with things and it feels kind of magical,” says Strother.

While some connected devices still feel clunky and impractical—having to get your smartphone out of your pocket, unlocking the screen and finding the correct app to turn on the light—voice commands are intuitive and natural.

“Our living room has three lamps, a fan and a fish tank and when I say, ‘Alexa, turn on the living room,’ it’s a quite powerful moment to see all five things turn on at the same time,” says Taylor.

Read the article: How to Fix 11 Common Google Home Problems

Courtesy of Nest
Courtesy of Nest

Amazon Echo

“Google Home: a speaker to finally take on the Amazon Echo” via The Verge.

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