Ready to invest in a smart home? Let’s look at 3 of the biggest names in home automation and see what they can do to make your life a whole lot easier.
When life gets busy, you’ve probably found yourself wishing that technology could help you out and take some of the load off your hands, right?
How great would it be if you could tell a device to do things in your home when you’re not there, or organize your to-do list for you without even having to think about it. Someone – or even something – you could even talk to.
Now with our popular SURE Universal Remote app you can control many of the smart devices in your home. But did you know there is a whole new breed of voice-activated smart control devices out there, all battling to be the centerpiece of your future smart home?
With big tech giants like Apple, Google and Amazon getting into the mix with similar products, it can be confusing to know which one is the best fit for you.
Let’s look at three of the biggest names in this area and what they can do to make your life a whole lot easier.
Apple Home is the newest entry to the voice activated market. Unlike the others, it’s not actually a physical device; instead, it’s an app for iOS 10 that lets you control your connected devices through Siri – and through 3D Touch and tap on your iPhone.
This comes after Apple introduced HomeKit as their first entry into the smart home space. Apple Home brings with it a universal “Apple-controlled roof” for all your devices.
Need to turn the lights or heating on or off when you’re not home? Not sure what temperature your thermostat is at or if you left the garage door unlocked this morning? No problem! With Apple TV as your home hub and the Apple Home app you can remotely control your devices from your iPhone.
And what Apple calls “scenes” enables multiple smart devices to work together. A “leaving home” scene could do things like turn the lights off, turn the thermostat down and lock the door as you leave.
Google Home comes in the form of a voice-activated speaker. It’s powered by Google Assistant and is integrated with a wide range of Google services.
Need a helping hand to organize your life? Google Home can act as your personal assistant by:
- Giving you personalized daily briefings
- Waking you up at a certain time
- Seeing what’s on your calendar for the day
- Getting news, weather and traffic updates
- Making shopping lists
- Checking flights
- Tracking packages
- And much more
Google Home is always listening and has a great range, even from across a room. Just a simple, “Hey Google” is enough to get the ball rolling. It can play music from Google Play music, Youtube, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn and you can even instruct it to play music by a certain artist or in a particular genre. If radio is more your thing, you can request a particular station, and it’ll start playing.
With Google Home, you have the ability to control Google Cast-enabled speakers and speakers connected to a Chromecast Audio streamer.
If you’re a Netflix addict with a Chromecast video streamer, you can even tell it to play a particular show, and you’re ready to start watching straight away thanks to the Netflix integration.
Google Home can also act as a smart home controller. It works with compatible smart home devices from SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, Wemo, and more.
Amazon Echo is powered by Alexa, which is essentially a voice-activated system. Alexa is getting savvier though and is learning how to respond to commands and questions – and even to the way you speak.
With Echo being a connected speaker, it’s well supported when it comes to music streaming services. Amazon Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio are all compatible, and tracks can be played from these with a simple command.
Plus, the mini Echo (known as Echo Dot) can plug into your speakers as another way to control your sound system.
Amazon Echo can also be your personal assistant, with the ability to:
- Add items to your calendar
- Set reminders
- Make shopping and to-do lists
- Check flights
- Track packages
- Get news updates and sports scores
- Check the weather
- Order pizza delivery through Dominos
- Organize Uber pickups
Like Google Home, Amazon Echo can be activated from a reasonable distance away. To do this, just say “Alexa,” and it will spring to life.
As a smart home controller, you have more options with compatible smart devices as it’s been around longer than its rivals and it can do things such as turn the lights down, alter the thermostat and control your TV.
With new competition coming out all the time, which of these is right for you?
If you just want a smart home controller that can do lots of things around the home – and you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem – Apple Home and an Apple TV is your obvious choice.
Want a device that controls your smart home devices, but also excels at streaming music and being your miniature personal assistant? Amazon Echo is probably going to a better bet for now as it’s got more integration with controlled devices than Google Home. But Google Home is much newer and with Google behind it, it’s one to watch.