It’s easy to get your friend Alexa to turn on the kitchen lights, if your hands are full and hitting the switch isn’t an option. You can just buy a dimmer at Home Mega Mart that works with Alexa, and spend an hour this Saturday installing it.
If lifting a finger is so 1995, and your hands are full, give us a shout and we’d be happy to discuss what you can have in the realm of voice control.Ron Wanless - Technology Design Associates
What You Really Want
Where things are more difficult is the stuff you’d really like your little listener to do for you: EVERYTHING! Oh, and that’s without you having to name off every, single thing you’d like to change; just one quick “Alexa, I’m leaving.” And she obligingly turns off the lights, lowers the shades, kills the music, arms the security alarm to “away”, and turns off all the TVs.
Fortunately for you, those same lab types have been cooking up that stuff also. We’ve been playing around with the fruits of their labor, and hey, it works! Does it work every time? Pretty much, if you speak clearly, and say the right things. That one is definitely not a “45min on a Saturday” operation, however. It also takes some learning on everyone’s part. “Alexa, play Tom Petty in the Den.” “Alexa, turn the lights in the Living room to 40%”. Those type statements are fairly well-defined and do what you want, for the most part. It’s when the aforementioned “Everything” starts happening that things get confusing for the ole’ girl.
The key is in the products you choose to control, and how your system is set up. You guessed it; that’s where we come in! Even so, voice control is the very definition of “rapidly evolving”. Amazon updates Alexa software frequently, taking into account their latest developments. Ditto on the home products side. Manufacturers are adding Alexa functionality to different products and improving their existing interfaces. We are climbing the learning curve too. It’s new for everyone. We’ve heard stories of forward thinkers who installed systems 20 years ago in anticipation of voice control that was “just around the corner”. Well, we’re turning that corner now. “Alexa, turn right!”