Part of the allure for home automation systems has been the possibility of a digital home assistant. A device that the user could vocally interact with to control systems around the house as well as set reminders for the homeowner.
In short, the homeowner wanted the luxury of the computers of Star Trek and the Jetsons.
Thankfully, that technology is starting to emerge in a big way. As smartphones have become more advanced, it has become possible to use that technology to build devices that can monitor and work a home automation system.
However, not every home assistant is created equal. Some do perform better in some areas than others do.
Here are 5 home assistant software platforms that are worth looking at.
Amazon took the classic smart hub, gave it a pleasing voice and adding the capabilities of digital home assistant and the result was Alexa. Alexa by all accounts has exceeded all expectations.
In addition to being able to talk to all your smart devices in your home, Alexa can plan meals and plan your day. With ever-changing tech and new devices and interfaces, Alexa will only take on a larger role in home automation in the future.
Maybe one day, every home automation system will have a home assistant named Alexa?
Whoever thought of the idea of using the sidekick of a popular computer game as a digital home assistant quite possibly is the marketing genius of this century. Anyone that has played Halo now has the option of having Master Chief’s sidekick guide them through their life.
Already available on Window’s phones and newer PC operating systems, most of us already have Cortana at our fingertips. Cortana will optimize your day, helping you set-up new meetings, read you breaking news and even order food online.
Cortana does face a drawback. Microsoft has only just begun to venture into the home automation industry, so her reach is limited. However, with Microsoft’s Internet of Things, that will be changing quickly.
If there were a modern Oracle of Delphi, it would be called Google. Really, anyone that has ever used google apps regularly comes to realize that Google learns about you and adapts to your needs and wants. On one hand, that is unsettling that one company has that much intimate knowledge of you.
On the other hand, it makes for the basis of one of the best-automated home assistant programs on the market. With apps such as Calendar, GN can schedule your lunch at your favorite restaurant, with maps it can tell you how to get there.
With Wallet, it can pay for it.
And with the advent of more and more home automation devices that are Android compatible, expect to see Google Now tell you that it left the light on for you.
Next, for anyone that has tried Alexa but found the home assistant to lack a personality, there is Olly. A new entrant into the digital home assistant race, Emotech has found a path that blends the best of Google, Cortana, and Alexa into a ring of usefulness.
The obligatory Lord of the Rings joke here, “One ring to rule them all.”
Olly has the capability to learn and adapt to its user, so it can change its programming to match the needs of the user. With the ability to control home devices like Google, Siri, and Alexa, Olly is multifunctional. With the ability to act as a home assistant and seem to have a personality and emotions, she is the home user’s “Gal Friday.”
Expect Olly to become a major player.
Since 2011 Siri has dominated the digital home assistant market. Apple’s Siri changed the game on the smartphone market, and then made every older smartphone and device obsolete.
Siri can even interact with HomeKit by Apple.
Apple has continued that trend with the newer versions of Siri. Siri can now operate on par with Google Now and take you where you want to be when you want to be there.
The Final Word in an Automated Home Assistant
Everyone will have a home assistant that they prefer to use. Some might prefer the voice of Cortana to the knowledge of Google Now. On the flip side, a person might like that Olly is friendlier than Alexa or the other way around.
The fact, in the end, is that digital home assistants have gotten more high-tech and far more user-friendly in the past couple years. Pick the best for you for the reasons you prefer.
Have a favorite home assistant? Let us know in the comments.