Even natural and earthy log cabins and log homes can be tricked out with some of today’s most advanced technology. If you enjoy listening to music, checking sports statistics, keeping tabs on the weather, or relaxing to the soothing sound of an audiobook, a new generation of smart devices may be just the thing for you.
Voice-activated personal assistants are a new phenomenon that is sweeping not only the technology field but individual homes across the globe. These devices are designed to listen to your commands and provide help with a variety of tasks, from looking up information and helping with calculations to streaming media and controlling electronic devices. Operating off your home’s WiFi network, these include a microphone to listen to your commands and one or more speakers to provide feedback to the listener.
Voice-Activated Assistants: Options for Your Home
While there are an increasing number of contenders on the market, the primary competitors remain as Amazon’s Echo – the first widely-accepted product on the market – and the newer Google Home. A simple phrase, like, “Okay, Google,” or, “Alexa” (referring to the Amazon Echo’s software platform), wakes the unit and makes it ready to accept your commands. You can then ask it to play your favorite music or look up a random fact that comes up over a dinner conversation.
Voice-Activated Assistants: Performs an Endless List of Requests
These units can interface with online services, your “cloud” accounts, and many third-party gadgets to bring you a startling array of functionality. Collectively, these tiny marvels can:
● Stream a playlist for a dinner party
● Help you determine if the rain will hold off for a day of fishing
● Settle an argument with the spouse over which movies an actor has played in
● Give you directions to that new restaurant in town
● Order flowers to be delivered on your anniversary
● Play voice-activated games
● Check appointments in your calendar
● Tell you how much fuel is in your gas tank
● Open and close your garage door
● Tell you how well your stock portfolio is performing
● Look up that favorite chicken frittata recipe while your hands are covered in flour
● Text or email memos to yourself
● Arm your home security system or turn off the lights
● Order pizza or an Uber ride
…and so much more, all without having to get up or reach for your smartphone.
So, the next time you find yourself sitting around the back deck with a group of friends as the fading aroma of a charcoal grill wafts gently through the air, perhaps you will be the one to say, “Hey, Alexa…let’s have a trivia night.”