smart home

My Thoughts on a Real Digital Assistant For Your Smart Home

If you’ve read my previous article on the current, most popular, Smart Speakers with digital assistants, you would know that I’m not too happy with the current offerings and their capabilities.

Coverage

First off, having one smart speaker device with a digital assistant in one room of your house is pointless. For example, if you have the smart speaker in the living room and you have smart lighting all over the house and it’s also connected to a smart thermostat, you can only control these if you’re in the living room.

If you’re in your bedroom and the smart speaker is still in the living room, are you going to get up and go over to the living room to ask it to turn off your room light? NO! It doesn’t make sense.

A real digital assistant at home covers your entire home so you can be anywhere in the home and use it. Since smart lighting can be setup with location information, you can walk into any room and verbally turn on the lights in that room.

If you forgot to turn off the lights in the other room, you would be able to verbally tell your digital assistant to turn them off for you.

However, this also poses another problem if you have kids, siblings and/or practical jokers in your house. For example, if you’re trying to sleep in your room and your brother/sister thinks it’s funny to tell Alexa to turn your lights on and off.

So, there needs to be some type of voice protection for certain rooms or the limit of control for smart lighting would be limited to the room you’re currently in so that you cannot turn the lights on or off on someone else in another room.

But, my point here is that the smart speaker with the digital assistant is available in the entire house. You can do that now by purchasing multiple units, but in my mind I’d like it to be built into the room such as a wall panel.

Ordering Items

I don’t think I will ever be able to order items verbally with a Smart Speaker or any Digital Assistant.

If I’m ordering food, I want to speak to someone. I want to be able to ask “What are your specials for today”. I don’t want to have to setup a “Pizza Profile” and be stuck with only that pizza forever unless I change the setup again.

If I’m ordering items from Amazon or any other online marketplace that these smart speakers will eventually be able to order from, I want to be able to “see” the pictures and “see” the list of specs. But most importantly, I like to do comparisons of products. You can’t do that verbally with these devices.

So, for me, the usefulness of ordering items with these devices should be limited to you saying “Alexa, call Domino’s Pizza” and then from there, you can ask the specials, order your items and be done with it by talking to a real person.

Simultaneous Usage

If there’s more than one person in your household, a single digital assistant in one room of the house is sort of useless. As covered earlier, your smart digital assistant needs to cover the entire house.

With multiple people in your house, they should be able to use the digital assistant independently of each other.

For example, one person could be in the living room and verbally tell the digital assistant to dim the lights 50% and turn up the volume of the TV five steps. Another person in their bedroom could tell their digital assistant to play music from their Spotify account.

Basically, while the entire house is covered, it’s linked to the same digital assistant but used independently. When the digital assistant responds to you, it only responds to the room you’re in by knowing the room where the question or command came from. This would be a true smart digital assistant.

The Future

This type of system isn’t here yet and definitely not within the next few years. I think we’re about a decade away from this as the AI in the current systems needs a huge upgrade.

I got tired of trying to command Alexa to control my Nest Thermostat while finally saying to Alexa, “do you understand English?”

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