Scenario 1 : You’re sitting on your couch on a sunday afternoon, watching your favorite baseball team play. The game just finished and you wanna switch to another channel but the remote is just toooo far and you’re just soooo comfortable. What if you could ask you TV to switch to channel 23 ?
Scenario 2 : You’re in your bath after a long day at work with a glass of your favorite Chardonnay. The lights are dimmed, the water is just at the right temperature. But you forgot to put some music and the remote is just tooooo far. What if you could ask your house to play some lounge music ?
These last years, Apple and Google have made voice control more common by implementing it into smartphones (Siri or Google voice not to mention them). Voice recognition is at a phase when it begins to be quite natural even if it’s still not perfect (some years ago, you were compelled to be in a closed room with no sound at all to dictate a simple phrase to your computer).
The main inconvenience is that you still need your smarphone around you (and not too far) to command something. But recently, Amazon introduced Echo. Here is a short video that introduces its abilities :
This introduction shows only the “basic” functions of Echo. But the really cool thing is to make it interact with your other IoT devices. For example, Echo support Philips Hue lights, Nest Thermostat, Insteon switches, and many more. Furthermore, Amazon adds new devices/services support every week. So you can now simply ask your house to “dim the living room lights“, “turn off the TV” or to “set the bedroom to 72 degrees“.
And for those who like DIY, there are also open-sources softwares to play around with voice control. At home, we use S.A.R.A.H (developed by Jean-Philippe Encausse) which is based on Microsoft speech recognition software. The main advantage of this solution is that if you know how to code a little bit, you may integrate it with whatever you want. For example, we developed a plugin to launch our last favorite TV Shows’ episode just by saying “JARVIS, play the last episode of Game of Thrones“. And just by saying that, the system knows that it has to switch the TV and Home Theater on, and to play the episode ! Pretty cool huh ?!
So, do you wanna talk to your house ?