Smart Speakers: The Good and the Bad of Having Them Home
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More than a fad, it seems that voice assistants — also known as digital smart speakers such as Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Homepod — are finding their way into more and more American homes by the day. There’s no denying their potential convenience, but when you look further into it, that convenience depends greatly on the lifestyle of its owners.
We’ll show you a quick-and-easy list of pros and cons that will help you decide if an assistant is for you, or if you’re better off waiting until the need arises organically. Let’s take a look on smart speakers pros and cons :
1. AUTOMATION DOES SAVE TIME
From automating your alarms, reminding you when to work out, ordering groceries periodically, and many more, you can save precious time each day by leaving all of these activities programmed into your smart assistant. You can even connect it to a smart home system to preheat your oven and setting the mood light just before you arrive home.
While these activities don’t take much time on their own, leaving them all to the smart assistant will give you some extra time off everyday, even if it’s just enough to take a breather between daily chores.
2. THEY MAKE HOUSEHOLDS FRIENDLY FOR EVERYONE
A voice assistant makes it easier for people who would otherwise have to rely on others to become a little more independent, such as people with visual impairments or the elderly. By being solely voice activated, your digital assistant will offer them the girth of its functions without them having to spend much effort.
This is, of course, also useful for when it’s you who needs help, such as recovering from a cold or if you hurt your leg. Life can carry on as usual if your program it that way.
3. REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCE ON SCREENS
How many screens do you use per day? For work, shopping, talking with others, our dependence on screens is not so healthy, but with voice assistants, at least a couple of those could switch entirely to being a voice-activated search or call.This would offer your eyes and mind some well-deserved rest after being glued to your computer or laptop screen all day.
Now that we’ve seen some of the pros, let’s check some arguments against digital voice assistants:
1. THEY NEED TO KNOW A LOT ABOUT YOU TO FUNCTION PROPERLY
Depending on how much you appreciate your privacy or how protective you are of your personal data, you might not be too excited to learn just how much personal information a voice assistant needs to be fully integrated into your life. Also, remember that these devices have their microphones on always by default, so unless you change the setting, they really are always listening. That takes us to…
2. IF THE WI-FI’S DOWN, THEY’RE DOWN
If you don’t live in an area with a 4G network, the functionality of your smart assistant might not be constant and strong enough to justify the price of getting it. This is because the voice recognition software is dependent on being connected to the internet, so a weak network means a half-functional device.
You’ll have to check with your ISP if they offer an upgrade that will allow your device to work uninterrupted.
3. THE TECHNOLOGY STILL HAS SOME QUIRKS
It’s wonderful what you can accomplish with such a plain looking device like a voice assistant, but there are still some things to iron out, such as some security gaps that can be exploited by others, especially if you have all your smart devices connected with your house.
Also, If you have a big house, then you’ll need to consider getting more than one assistant, because their internal microphone is good for a room or two, but if you’re moving around there’ll be a lot of repeating yourself, especially when cleaning.
As you can see, there are enough benefits to digital assistants that you can choose to get one for your household today, or just wait until all the kinks in the technology have been dealt with. None of them are too concerning if you have a good network, though, so why not?