6 Things You Didn’t Know Your Smart Speaker Could Do
September 4, 2019
Text by Kristin Amico
If the rapid-fire debut of smart speaker devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s Siri have anything to say about it, voice-activated technology is here to stay. While their novelty is often the initial draw that lures customers in, the true power of these devices lies beyond their ability to tell you the weather on command.
“Out of the box, these devices come with some ‘lite’ automation of their own, and are fun for a month or so,” says Jared O’Mara, principal of Smart Home and Theater Systems in Milford, Conn. “You can add items to your shopping list or set a timer or turn on music. But they really shine when paired with other ‘smart’ devices that are built to do specific tasks.”
O’Mara’s company specializes in programming voice-command devices to work with almost any smart or programmable feature in the home. “We’re controlling the third-party devices with our own processor and just having your voice assistant activate that command. It doesn’t have to know about your sprinkler system or your garage door, we’ll program that on our end and you just tell it what to do. We’re the middleman between your assistant and a device that it doesn’t usually control,” he says.
With proper programming, the possibilities are vast, says O’Mara. In addition to synching up multiple smart-home devices to voice-command speakers, one of Smarthome and Theater Systems most sought-after services is the creation of “macros” or a single voice command that completes a series of smart-home tasks all at once.
Here, O’Mara shares six examples of macro commands that show, with the right programming and integration, just how robust a voice-command system can be.
One of Smart Home and Theater System’s most in-demand commands is “Good morning!” “Typically, the lights will come on in specific rooms, the shades will roll up, the heat or cooling will kick on to a set temperature, and the TV will automatically turn on to a favorite news channel,” says O’Mara.
Long day? Tell your assistant that it’s time to relax. “We can program this command to dim the lights, roll the shades down, and turn on the music to a specific relaxing station,” says O’Mara.
It’s party time.
On the contrary, if it’s a high-energy atmosphere you’re looking for, a simple “Let’s party” can set the scene. “We can set this command to turn on Sonos speakers in certain rooms, and even set it for specific volumes in different areas of the home; for example, you might want the music quieter in the kitchen and living room so people can have a conversation but louder outside so you can rock out.”
Heading out for the day? Have your smart speaker tell you the weather then turn off the lights, adjust the thermostat, and even lock up the house behind you.
I’m going for a dip.
Do you have a hot tub? “Most people who have hot tubs don’t keep them hot all of the time because of the energy usage, and it takes half an hour or so for hot tubs to warm up,” says O’Mara. The solution: have your smart speaker preheat the tub with a simple command. “If your hot tub allows other systems to control it, we can make a command that says turn on the hot tub, and it’ll raise the temperature. You can even program it to turn on the outdoor lights and music after half an hour when the water is ready,” O’Mara says.
“Good night might turn on the lights in the master bedroom, close the shades and the garage, and set the temperature to a certain point,” says O’Mara.
Have another macro idea in mind? There’s a good chance O’Mara and his team can make it happen. “The sky really is the limit,” he says.
Smart Home and Theater Systems, connecticuthometheaters.com
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