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Smart speakers are seeing increased adoption in WiFi-enabled houses across the country. In fact, these Internet devices now reside in over twice as many homes compared to one year ago, according to data from the media analytics company, ComScore. 20 percent of American households with WiFi include some form of the smart speaker.
We covered this voice-activated technology ever since the Amazon Echo first hit the marketplace in 2015. Now let’s analyze this latest information to help you decide on purchasing your own smart speaker. Maybe your house even needs a second or third unit?
A Closer Look at the Expanding Smart Speaker Market
After Amazon garnered a surprise hit with the Echo, many other technology companies joined the fray with similar devices. The Google Home and Apple’s HomePod, powered by Siri, are two obvious examples. The speaker from Cupertino is known for its superior sound quality, but suffers from being tethered to the Apple “walled garden.”
For its own part, Amazon released a cornucopia of variants on the Echo. These include the Amazon Tap, the smaller Echo Dot, and others. A few third-party units, like some Sonos models, even add voice control using Amazon’s Alexa.
All these options for consumers led to an explosion in the smart speaker market over the recent Holiday season. The comScore data nicely illustrates this massive growth. According to the company, the market grew 50 percent in the three month period from December to January.
18.7 million homes now use at least one smart speaker. 30 percent of those households own more than one. The demographics for this market transcend all age groups and income levels.
Susan Engleson from comScore commented on this massive market growth. “Driving this uptick in adoption was a larger variety of devices as well as lower price points. Google released the Home Mini on October 19 and kept the price at $29 for the holiday season. Amazon expanded its lineup prior to the holiday season with new devices – Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Spot and Echo Look – and also offered its entry-level device, the Echo Dot, for $29,” said Engleson.
Bandwidth Considerations for a Smart Speaker
So does a smart speaker use a large amount of your Internet bandwidth? Thankfully, voice-activated speakers consume a similar amount as any audio device, like Internet radio. In short, you won’t need a Google Fiber account to get the most out of your Echo, Tap, or HomePod.
If you want the best sound quality for using your smart speaker to stream music, the Apple HomePod received the best reviews. Sonos provides another worthy – possibly even superior – option with its Alexa voice control features. Still, even the best smart speaker doesn’t equal a fully appointed 5.1 home entertainment system to play music.
Most music streaming services, like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Google Play are able to be managed using voice commands. This serves well as an alternative to a Bluetooth speaker or other wireless speaker option.
Obviously, it serves an expanding niche in the American household. Everything from checking the latest scores to the local rush hour traffic is possible. You are also able to control your smart home. Simply use your voice to ask a question, whether it’s Siri, Amazon Alexa, Cortana, or another voice assistant.
Convenience is the core attraction of smart home technology. Imagine a house where you remotely operate your appliances; before you reach your home. Whether its wanting your AC to be turned on or even opening the garage door from the comfort of your car, smart technology is a world of comforts.
Nearly every smart home appliance or device will save ample time and provide comfort by eliminating the manual tasks of your life, providing you easy access to your accessories, and enabling you to exercise a distant reach to your home-based gadgets.
We will discuss some of these gadgets that can enable you to enjoy the perks of smart home tech.
This is essentially a wireless speaker capable of being operated via voice command, equipped with an integrated virtual assistant that enables an interactive system of actions and hands-free access by calling out one single “hot word” like Alexa or Ok Google Smart speakers will make your life more comfortable than ever. With a single word, you can access compatible smart lights and other similar devices. Thanks to manufacturers, smart speakers are affordable and are readily available at Amazon and Google with compact versions. You can easily opt for any suitable option to gain further comfort.
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With a smart robot available to clean your floor and keep your room hygienic, are you going to pick up the erstwhile handy vacuum cleaner yourself to clean your room?
Of course not! With the advent of smart robot vacuums, which will do it all for you, you can save your precious time being spent in cleaning the room for some productive activity. Robot vacuums are smart devices with intelligent programming for a built-in vacuum cleaning system. The intriguing part of the new model is that it remembers the layout of your house.
Several competent cleaners like iRobot’s Roomba series and Neato Botvacs are very popular choices in the market, which can traverse your halls, maintain your floors’ tidiness, and keep you free from this hectic chore.
The cost of this perk is, however, not that easy to digest. Robot vacuums are available in the price range of $300 (older models) to $1,000+. But the device is worth paying for and shall justify its price once it’s properly deployed to patrol your household.
Smart Wi-Fi-connected appliances are available in a huge variety and can save you ample time in various ways. You can enjoy a remote access to your smart ovens (available brands are Whirlpool and GE), using an app. With this, you can get your supper ready much faster and easily when you reach home. Enjoy warm food as soon as your reach your residence.
Smart refrigerators (famous brand: Samsung Family Hub) have installed interior cameras that you can access with an app and it’s a very useful gadget indeed. Imagine you are in a grocery store and you forgot whether you have milk at your home or not. No worries! Take a look inside your fridge through the refrigerator app and decide whether or not you have to purchase any specific items.
Smart washers and dryers are another luxurious option to facilitate your life. These devices can update you on your laundry if your clothes are ready or not, even when you are off the station. Besides, interestingly, smart washers and smart dishwashers can place an order for detergent through Amazon Dash, and this option will further ease your shopping pain. They can even track what quantity you use and can place likewise orders automatically.
Are you too lazy to get up and switch on an electronic device? A smart plug will provide ease of use by assisting you in bridging the gap to walled electric boards. It is basically a power container that plugs into a conventional electrical socket and integrates it with your smart network. It enables you to control/access your plugged device from an integrated app on your mobile phone or via your voice through a virtual assistant.
When you have smart doors in your house, a smart lock will definitely be needed. You must have one to best fit the smart circuit. It’s an electromechanical digitally operated lock designed to provide you locking and unlocking services for your house door. The device works via receiving signals from an authorized device using a wireless protocol and a programmed key to perform the door process.
Among the famous brands in the US are Shlage and Kwikset, readily available in different varieties at almost any famous online store. However, some great and cheaper Chinese variants are also very good like Yoheen and Wafu. We personally recommend Yoheen’s smart locks.
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Yes, you read it right, it’s a smart clock, not smartwatch which is a story of old days now. Smart clocks are capable of providing you the details of calendar, events, time, weathers, and IFTTT alerts. Glance and Echo are famous brands offering you different app versions, available at both Google play store and iOS store available in the US and there are many amazing brands you can find on Aliexpress from China as well, including some clocks that even have spy-cameras so you can watch your baby or spy on your nanny without her knowing.