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Synopsis: This post explores the key points to consider in creating the ultimate smart home ecosystem. It answers questions like: Should I get an Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, or something else? How do I set all my devices to work together? Is my smart home spying on me?
Thanks to Jennifer Karami ofredfin.comfor contributing to this publication.
Tony Stark would be proud
Tsmart home used to be the stuff of science fiction. Viewers watched as Tony Stark controlled his mansion with nothing more than his voice, or they wished they had the kind of technology that made Batman's life so incredible. These days, you don't have to be a billionaire businessman or eccentric crime fighter to create the ultimate smart home: tools like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Home Kit have put home automation within the reach of just about everyone.
Tony Stark is Iron Man [Photo Credit: Flickr.com]
Smart home technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) to talk to you, respond to commands, and answer questions. For example, you can ask Alexa to "add bananas to shopping list" or "tell me last night's game score."
Home automation isn't just cool, it's convenient, sustainable, and can even save you money by lowering your electric bill.
Smart hubs can also communicate with other devices on the Internet, allowing you to control all of your smart home devices simultaneously. They can turn down the thermostat, turn on the lights, scare off burglars, and even make you coffee.
Home automation isn't just cool, it's practical, sustainable, and can even save you money.reducing your electricity bill. When looking to automate your home, it's important to consider the different types of smart home ecosystems and devices and how they will work together to create a seamless experience.
What are the best smart home ecosystems?
Home automation systems typically have three components: the virtual assistant (the AI that talks to you), the speaker (the hardware), and the phone app (where you control your devices). Each system has its own instructions for pairing devices, as well as the ability to set up an automation "flow" that performs a series of actions. It is important to note that not all smart hubs support all smart devices and vice versa. To find compatible products, look in the product description for "Works with..." and make sure it works with the virtual assistant of your choice.
Remember that all home automation products use bandwidth; so regardless of the type of home automation system you choose, it's important to assess your current connectivity and network speed. Before you begin, you'll need to verify that the tablet or smartphone you're using is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your home automation hub, and that the device you're adding is turned on.
Ecosistema Amazon Alexa
Application:Amazon Alexa para iOS, Android y Google Play
Amazon Echo Dot [Photo credit: Pixabay.com]
Alexa is Amazon's virtual assistant, designed to answer questions, play music, read the news, "talk" to your other devices, and much more. Alexa is an industry leader, and withmore than 7,000
compatible third-party smart devices, it won't be hard to find accessories that work with this option.
To make sure a device works with Alexa, look for "Works with Alexa" in the product description of the device you plan to buy. Once both devices are connected to WiFi, simply tap 'Add Device' in the Alexa app and it will pair them. You can also use your voice to ask Alexa to discover new devices.
Alexa's Routines feature makes it easy to automate a flow of actions between devices so they work together. For example, you can create a group called "Upper Lights" that will turn all lights on and off simultaneously.
Google Assistant ecosystem
virtual assistant:google assistant
Spokesman:google home page
Application:Google Assistant for iOS, Android and Google Play
The Google Assistant is built into Android phones, making it a seamless experience for Android users. The assistant can play music, get weather updates, answer calls, and control your other devices through the Google Home app. You can also answer almost any question because the technology works with the sophisticated algorithms behind Google search.
Google Home Mini [Photo credit: Pexels.com]
There are many third-party devices that are compatible with Google Home/Assistant. Look at the label on devices that are "powered by Google." To sync devices with the Google Assistant, make sure both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Then open the app, tap "Home Control" and select the device you want to pair. Similar to Alexa routines, you can create action streams on Google Home using the Actions feature, which groups connected devices to work together simultaneously.
Ecosistema HomeKit de Apple
Application: Home for iOS
HomeKit works with Siri, the popular iPhone assistant. HomeKit has fewer compatible devices available than its competitors, in part because Apple's encryption kept it closed to developers until recently. The added encryption is a plus for those who care aboutprivacy, but users report that it can be a pain to set up.
HomeKit has a Rooms feature that lets you group devices by room, while the Automation feature lets you create a flow of commands, like turning on lights and playing music at the same time.
To sync devices with Apple HomeKit, open the app and click the plus sign to add a new accessory. You will need to scan the QR code on the device or enter it manually. Because of Apple's encryption, it's especially important to make sure the device you choose supports HomeKit.
Smart home gadgets/accessories/devices are designed to work with a smartphone app and pair with the home ecosystem of your choice. There are many smart home accessories on the market today to fulfill a variety of home functions, including entertainment, cooking, petting, security, energy conservation, and more.
The best smart home devices for entertainment
Since most modern TVs, stereos, and entertainment devices are already Wi-Fi-enabled, your living room is a natural place to start building your smart home ecosystem. There are plenty of smart home devices to bring your home entertainment experience together, such as theSonos sound bar, a smartphone-controlled speaker that sits right under your TV. pair withsubwoofersfor a truly immersive home theater system.
Speaking of home theaters, Samsung offerssurround sound systemsthat are Wi-Fi enabled.players of the yearThey are streaming devices that you connect to a TV with HDMI, allowing you to stream content from Hulu, Netflix, HBO, etc. Imagine walking into your living room and saying, “Alexa, play Game of Thrones” and having your TV and surround sound instantly turn on to start streaming. Family movie nights just got better.
The best smart home devices for cooking
Smart home cooking technologyIt's a huge market, and for good reason. Imagine waking up to a fresh cup of coffee every weekday, ready before you even get out of bed. This dream can come true with aWeMo Smart Coffee Maker. Just program it to automatically get ready at the same time each morning and enjoy an extra 15-minute nap.
Sure, Alexa can make a grocery list on command, but there's nothing worse than being at the store and not being able to remember if you're out of eggs or milk. introduce theSmarter FridgeCam– a camera that allows you to see the contents of your fridge from anywhere through an application on your smartphone. Smart technology at its finest.
Do you love cooking but hate getting out all your measuring tools? EITHERcurfew scaleMeasure the ingredients so that you can make the following recipes in the blink of an eye. If you're more of a smart person when it comes to food, consider thesmart crock potwho cooks food for you while you're at work. This device allows you to change your slow cooker settings from anywhere via a smartphone app.
The best smart home devices for pets
Smart technology is not just for humans. Self-cleaning litter boxesLitter-RobotSeparate litter from litter and monitor your cat's litter box usage through an app. Set automatic feeding times for your dog or cat with thesmart food, which you control from your phone (no Alexa integration yet).
Let your dog in and out with ease (and keep the cat in) with thepetsafe smart door, a canine door that opens with a small "key" that you attach to your dog's collar. smart collars likeLINK AKCThey are GPS-enabled to track your dogs location from an app, giving you ultimate peace of mind.
The best smart home devices for security
Protect your home, inside and out, with smart home security devices. systems likejust sureThey come equipped with motion sensors and alarms to scare off intruders. When the security system is activated, it alerts you via a phone app and starts recording, capturing the criminals on camera. Beware of thieves!
Speaking of cameras, theLogitech CircleThe camera helps you keep an eye on your front porch and make sure packages aren't stolen. It can also be used indoors to make sure your little kids, pets, etc. stay safe.
Forgot the keys? no problem with asmart lock like august, which allows you to remotely lock and unlock your door, gain keyless entry, grant guest access, and much more.
The best smart home devices to save energy
No more having to unplug your devices when you head out for the day.smart plugsIt turns on and off automatically, saving electricity when not in use.
A smart thermostat (such as theNiño) programs itself based on your schedule and adjusts the temperature accordingly. Is it always cold down there? You can heat and cool individual areas depending on where you spend your time. Smart thermostats are green and pay for themselves relatively quickly.
Turning off the lights when you leave a room is an easy way to save energy, but in practice it's hard to remember. introduce thesmart light switch, which controls the lights automatically. Likewise, smart bulbs like thePhilips Hue bulbmakes it easy to turn on all the lights at once and can even change colors on command.
Automate your existing blinds and shutters withSOMA Smart Ringtones. This device is controlled through an app, where you slide your finger to the desired amount of coverage. Or just use your voice to tell Siri to "close the blinds." voila!
Basement prone to flooding? A smart water sensor like theGROHEdetects water leaks early, preventing costly flooding and structural damage to your home.
Smart home security and privacy
Security of the smart home ecosystem [Photo credit: Pixabay.com]
Is your smart device spying on you? Users have raised concerns about data collection by companies that make smart home devices, especially since their privacy policies are somewhat vague. Amazon says it "doesn't use customer voice recordings for targeted advertising," and Google emphasized that they only store voice recordings after the device has been intentionally activated. Still, watchdog groups are pushing for more transparency and regulation for voice-enabled smart home hubs.
Like any device that depends on Internet access, smart home devices are susceptible to attacks including password theft, cryptocurrency mining, and other nefarious activities. Fortunately, you can take precautions to greatly reduce your risk and keep your devices safe:
- Make your passwords hard. Use alternating numbers, capital letters, and symbols so they're hard to guess, and don't use the same passwords on different sites.
- Update your software frequently or set it to update automatically.
- Consider creating aWi-Fi network for gueststhat separates your smart devices from your personal computers for added security.
There are all kinds of gadgets, accessories, and assistants on the market today. Devices that were once clunky and unintuitive can now function seamlessly via a smartphone app. From coffee makers to light bulbs, you wonder: what are they going to automate next?
If you want to improve your home IQ, start by choosing one or more smart devices, a smart hub, and then sync them together to create the ultimate smart home ecosystem. You'll be talking to your home and impressing your guests in no time. The future is here.
Infographic: Smart homes conquer the world
Thanks to our friend Ana Beara fromSafeatlast.comfor contributing this beautiful and useful infographic to our publication.
Amazon vs. Google vs. Apple - Which is your favourite?
Do you have a smart home? What is your favorite smart home device? Please leave us a comment below.
📚Related:Airpods vs Earpods: Which Apple Headphones Are Right For You?
Both Google Home and Amazon Alexa are excellent smart home platforms, and whichever one you pick, it'll be available in a wide range of different affordable or premium speakers. We recommend going with Alexa if you want the most home integrations.Who is better Alexa or Siri or Google? ›
Each personal assistant has its pros and cons. If you want the smartest, you'll want a device with Google Assistant. If you want the most compatibility with apps and services, you'll want a device with Alexa. If you want the funniest, you'll want an Apple device for Siri.What is better the Google Home or the eco? ›
The DB range is more for the Amazon Echo device compared to Google Home device. The Google Home device provides better rich quality of sound. Both type of device supports multiple sound platforms that provides flexibility to the user. In the Google Home device, the user can upload its own library on Google Cloud.Is Apple HomePod better than Echo? ›
The Apple HomePod (1st generation) and the Amazon Echo Gen 4 are both excellent speakers for voice assistants, but the Apple is more versatile overall. Out-of-the-box, the Apple has a more balanced sound profile, and it has a better soundstage. It supports Apple AirPlay, while the Amazon speaker supports Bluetooth.Is Alexa or Google more accurate? ›
Google Assistant answered 93% of questions correctly, while Amazon's Alexa scored 79.8%. However, do bear in mind that this test only provides a snapshot of each system's capabilities, as the more you talk into one, the more intuitive and responsive it'll become with time.Is Google Home slower than Alexa? ›
Google Home is slower to respond vs Alexa. This extra lag is very unnatural and makes using the devices unpleasant.Is there a monthly fee for Alexa? ›
A: There is no monthly fee to operate Alexa on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. There are subscription services that you can buy which have monthly fees, such as Amazon Prime Services. Helpful?Why is Alexa so much better than Siri? ›
Alexa maintains voice profile for all users and provide personalized services in media, shopping and call options. Siri is trained on the individual voices before the users start using the devices thus providing personalized services and prevent disclosing personal information to wrong persons.What does Alexa have that Siri doesn t? ›
However, Siri only supports Apple Music for its music streaming service, while Alexa supports many different music streaming services including Amazon Prime Music and Spotify, making it easier to use. Alexa also supports many, many more IoT devices than Siri, from things like a Nest thermostat to a Ring doorbell.Can Google Home call 911? ›
Nest Aware's Emergency Calling connects you to the 911 call center closest to your home, based on the home address you enter in the Google Home app . This lets you quickly contact your local emergency services no matter where you are, even if you're far away from home.
The Google Nest line of devices is capable of everything the Google Home was. As smart speakers, they respond to user questions and commands, and can play music and video, too. The main change from the Google Home line of devices is the addition of screens on most Google Nest devices.What are the differences with Google Home and Alexa? ›
Best smart home routines: Amazon Alexa
Alexa has a more robust approach to smart home functionality than Google Assistant: Alexa can trigger actions and react to conditions in your smart home. Google Assistant only triggers actions. It can't react to most smart home devices.
Apple executives say that "growing interest" in a larger HomePod caused them to revisit the decision to discontinue the original model. When Apple discontinued its first HomePod in March 2021, the company said that it would be focusing instead on the lower-cost HomePod mini.What is the Amazon Echo equivalent for Apple? ›
Siri is your do-it-all intelligent assistant
And with multiple HomePod mini speakers around the house, it's easy to call on Siri from anywhere. HomePod mini and Siri can do even more by seamlessly connecting to your iPhone, and Apple Music Voice gives you access to every song in the catalog — all with just your voice.
HomePod mini - Apple (UK)Is Google Home always listening? ›
Mute the Microphone
Your Google Nest/Home speaker is always listening, but you can easily stop it by pressing the button on the back. What will happen if you switch the microphone off? Your voice or music will no longer be picked up and processed through Google's servers.
We tasked each of the digital assistants with a battery of 20 general-knowledge questions. While both assistants are more competent than ever, Alexa continues to narrowly edge out Google Assistant in the general knowledge realm, taking top honors largely because it provided better answers to several questions.Do you think Siri is better than Alexa? ›
Siri: Great for Apple Users
If you have an iPhone, setting up and using Siri is easier than using Alexa or Google Assistant. Despite being one of the first virtual assistants, Siri isn't always the most reliable, but you just have to know how to phrase your commands.
Google Home is Slow or Buggy
Try restarting your device. Open the Google Home app and select the device you are trying to reboot. Go to Settings (three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the device card) and tap More and then Reboot.
When it comes to Google Home Mini vs Echo Dot, the Echo Dot comes out on top for sound quality because it has a slightly deeper, richer sound than its competitor. The Google Home Mini delivers louder audio with punchy bass.
You can't ask Alexa to dial 911 or other emergency services directly, unless you have an Echo Connect hooked up to a landline phone. You can, however, set up a personal emergency contact, and turn on Alexa Guard for home security.Do calls from Alexa cost? ›
Making calls with an Amazon Alexa Echo device is free. However, you do need wi-fi.What's Google's Alexa called? ›
Google Nest Audio Review
The Echo has multiple wake word options, but only one female voice. You can alert it with "Alexa," "Amazon," "Echo," or "Computer." The Google Home only has one wake word option, "Hey Google," but it has both male and female voices.
Susan Alice Bennett (née Cameron, born July 31, 1949) is an American voice actress and a former backup singer for Roy Orbison and Burt Bacharach. She is best known as female American voice of Apple's Siri personal assistant, since the service was introduced on the iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011.Which virtual assistant is best? ›
- Best Overall: Time etc.
- Best for Solopreneurs: Prialto.
- Best for Small Businesses: Upwork.
- Best for On-Demand Tasks: Fancy Hands.
- Best for Specialized VAs: Belay.
- Best for Rush Projects: Magic.
- Best Service Guarantee: Wood Bows.
Why Alexa Does Not Work Without Wi-Fi. Amazon's Alexa is a device that strictly revolves around Wi-Fi to access everything from Google to various music-streaming services. Without Wi-Fi it is simply impossible to connect to these applications and features.Which AI assistant is the best? ›
Cortana. One of the best AI assistants is Cortana under the flag of Microsoft. And this ai app is the biggest competitor of Siri. It boasts a large usage base because it's available on Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, Windows 10, Invoke smart speaker, Microsoft Band, Alexa, Xbox One, Windows Mixed Reality (MR), and Amazon ...Can someone call me on my Google Home? ›
With household contacts set up, you can allow anyone with access to your Google Nest speakers or displays to call specific contacts that you choose.Can Google Home call someone? ›
With Google-supported calling on Google Nest and Home speakers and displays, you can call friends, family and businesses using just your voice. This functionality is available in the US and Canada (excluding territories). Additional calling methods may also be available in your area.Can Google Home talk to you? ›
How it works. Say “Hey Google” and ask your question or give a command. You'll know your Assistant listens if the lights on top of the device spin (Google Home) or pulse (Google Nest Mini (2nd gen), Google Home Mini (1st gen), Google Home Max, Google Nest Audio, Google Nest Hub, and Google Nest Hub Max).
The Apple HomePod (1st generation) is a better voice assistant speaker than the Google Nest Audio. The Apple speaker has a better-balanced default sound profile and a better soundstage. Its latency over a Wi-Fi connection is lower, so it's more suitable for watching videos.
Google Nest or Home speakers or displays make life easier by helping you do things like access media, manage your tasks, and plan your day using only your voice.What replaced Google Home? ›
Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) offers a 7-inch display, sleep tracking and all the features of Google Assistant. It replaced the original Google Home Hub that launched in 2018.Does Alexa and Google Home listen to everything you say? ›
The short answer is yes, Alexa is always listening to you. Or, rather, the microphone on your Alexa smart speaker is always active (by default, at least) and is constantly monitoring voices in your home in order to hear its wake word.How many homes have an Alexa or Google Home? ›
Alexa and Google Home smart speakers bring A.I. to nearly one in three U.S. homes. A new Consumer Technology Association (CTA) study found that 31% of American households now own smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.What is the difference between Google and Google Home? ›
Google Home and Google Assistant are two separate entities and they both have their own names. Google Home is the Google's line of smart home speakers and voice-based digital assistant, whereas Google Assistant is the voice behind Google Home but is not limited to Google Home.Will Apple replace HomePods? ›
The Apple Limited Warranty covers your HomePod and the Apple-branded accessories that come in the box with your product against manufacturing issues for one year from the date you bought them.Is the HomePod a flop? ›
For as good as it may have sounded, and despite six years of development time, the inaugural HomePod was a flop due to its high price and Siri's shortcomings. Apple discontinued it in March 2021, leaving the $99 HomePod Mini as its lone smart speaker for nearly two years.Why can t you buy the HomePod? ›
Apple has officially discontinued it and will stop selling them as soon as current stock runs out. Apple first introduced the HomePod back at WWDC 2017, but it didn't have an auspicious start.Is echo the same as Siri? ›
Siri is exclusive to Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, while Alexa is available on a wide range of devices from Amazon, including the Echo line of smart speakers, as well as on other manufacturers devices with Alexa built-in. If you're going for compatibility, Alexa should certainly be preferred.
Google Home relies on Google Assistant, similar to the way Amazon Echo relies on Alexa and Apple devices use Siri. The Google Home mobile app controls Google Home smart speakers, and it's available for both Android and iOS devices. Here's how to set up and use Google Home and Google Assistant with your iPhone or iPad.Can you FaceTime on Echo show? ›
No, you can't FaceTime on an Echo Show. FaceTime is Apple's proprietary video chat app which only runs on Apple devices. Echo Show devices can only place video calls to other Echo Show devices and the Alexa phone app, and only Apple devices can FaceTime.What's the difference between Google Home Hub and Alexa? ›
So, what is the difference between Google Home and Alexa? The most literal answer to this question is that Google Home is a smart speaker powered by Google Assistant while Alexa is the virtual smart assistant behind Amazon's Echo smart speaker.Can Google Home do stuff like Alexa? ›
The answer is both. Alexa and Google offer plenty of connected home prowess, allowing each voice assistant to live in harmony under one roof. For the most part, they're both capable of answering the same questions, executing the same smart home commands, and performing the same tricks.Is there a monthly fee for Google Home Hub? ›
Does Google Nest Hub Require a Subscription? Basic features of Google Nest Hub are available without a subscription, but users must have a free Google account to use the Hub.Why do I need a Google Home Hub? ›
Google Nest Hub provides help at a glance in any room at home. With the Google Assistant built-in, you'll always get your best and latest shots from Google Photos. Plus, view and control your connected devices from a single dashboard.Can I watch movies on Google Home Hub? ›
Play and control TV shows and films on your Google Nest display or on any TV with Chromecast or Chromecast Built-In using only your voice. Currently, you can only use select partners to play shows and films on Nest displays or TVs using speakers or displays.