If your home is outfitted with multiple smart devices, you know how complicated it can be to control them all. You are either dealing with dozens of apps on your smartphone or you have a centralized hub through which you manage everything. Have you ever considered using a smart speaker as your hub?
Not every smart speaker has this capability. Furthermore, not all smart devices are compatible with every smart speaker on the market. But if you have a hub-capable speaker and smart devices compatible with it, you can do some amazing things.
Amazon and Google Rule
For better or worse, Amazon and Google rule the smart speaker market. Between the two of them, they have pretty much locked up most of the market share. Fortunately, device manufactures want to appeal to owners of Amazon and Google smart speakers, so they are likely to make their devices compatible with both brands.
Vivint Smart Home is a good example. The company sells, installs, and monitors smart home and home security equipment. All their devices are compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Home smart speakers.
Vivint discusses pairing a smart speaker with a smart thermostat on its website. When the two devices are paired, a homeowner can actually control the thermostat with voice commands. Saying something as simple as, “raise the temperature by two degrees” will initiate a thermostat change. It is pretty interesting.
Controlling Devices With Your Voice
Any kind of hub is a good deal because it offers an easy way to access and program your smart devices. And just for the record, programming is one of the keys to maximizing smart device features. If you are not programming your devices, you are leaving a lot of unused potential on the table.
In terms of using a smart speaker specifically, you get the added benefit of controlling smart devices with your voice. Sure, you could turn on the patio lights from inside the home by pulling up a mobile app on your phone and tapping the right option. But what if you haveyour hands full with food as you’re heading toward the patio door?
Utilizing a smart speaker as a hub solves that problem. You don’t need your phone. Just say, “turn on patio lights” and it’s done. Apply the same concept to dozens of scenarios around your home and you quickly realize that you don’t need a phone or central touchpad to enjoy smart home functions. If you can speak, you’re golden.
A Work in Progress
None of this is meant to give you the impression that smart speakers work flawlessly as hubs. That is not the case. Smart speakers themselves are still a work in progress – especially where natural language processing is concerned. But they are much better at recognizing commands compared to just a few years ago.
Using a smart speaker as a hub eliminates the need to use your phone as often. It also eliminates the need to buy a separate hub if you don’t currently own one. Already having a smart speaker with a bunch of compatible devices eliminates the need for an extra expense. But the obvious downside here is potentially being limited in your device choices.
It is really a tradeoff. To get the benefits of a smart speaker as a hub, you may have to be more choosy about the smart devices you purchase. On the other hand, you might prefer a particular smart device brand that isn’t compatible with your smart speaker. You will need a separate hub or multiple mobile apps to manage everything. That’s fine, too.