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What Are Smart Home Speakers

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In this article, we talked about What Are Smart Home Speakers, and How do Smart Home Speakers Work with the best smart home speakers available in the market. So we encourage you to read this post to the end and you will not regret it.

Over time, smart speakers have become insanely famous and there is a plethora of them from many manufacturers in the market.

These speakers allow us to carry out various things like; listening to music, listening to the news, weather reports, ordering products online, and controlling wireless-enabled lights and so many more.

They even can stream music to other speakers as well, in summary, they are the perfect virtual assistants.

What Are Smart Home Speakers?

A smart home speaker is a sort of speaker with a virtual assistant that has hands-free activation and interactive actions with the use of a programmed “hot word” (some of them have more than one hot word).

Most smart speakers also function as a smart device or gadget that makes use of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other wireless connectivity options to transcend usage beyond audio playback to fully control the automation devices in your home.

How Do Smart Home Speakers Work?

The epicenter of smart speakers is their voice recognition technology. With voice recognition, a smart speaker can comprehend what its user says and do accordingly.

A plethora of manufacturers utilize different voice recognition systems: Microsoft uses Cortana, Apple makes use of Siri, Amazon Echo speakers and Google Home series makes use of their voice recognition system for their speakers.

Although, every smart system has little difference, when you take a closer look at how they operate, you can say they are virtually the same in the concept and execution.

Generally, the speaker listens to what you say and awaits the hot word. Usually, these speakers all have a default hot word or wake word: For amazon speakers, the Alexa system responds to the wake word “Alexa”.

This wake word is susceptible to change. Different smart speaker systems make use of other wake words.

The system is activated by the wake word; it records what the user says and sends it to the system’s voice recognition service: for Amazon, the word is sent to their Alexa Voice Services (AVS).

The speech is deciphered by voice recognition and it sends a response to the speaker and ultimately the user.

There are a series of algorithms used by the voice recognition system that helps it become familiar with how you use your words and your speech patterns.

In this manner, it learns how you speak to enable the system to give you impeccable service.

You can ask your smart speaker to play your favorite tunes

No more scrolling through apps or fingering through record racks to find the album or tune you want to play next. With a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo or Google Home and a subscription to a streaming service such as Amazon Music or Spotify, you can simply ask your smart speaker assistant of choice – be that Amazon’s AlexaGoogle’s Assistant or Apple’s Siri – to play the track you’re dying to hear and have it blasting out of your speaker in an instant.

Tens of millions of songs are available through all the major streaming services, and most are available through the majority of smart speakers.

Only Apple’s HomePod locks you into using the company’s own Apple Music service, otherwise, the choice is yours.

Or play music all over your house with multi-room audio 

If you have more than one Google Assistant speaker or Alexa-powered audio devices, such as an Echo, or multiple Apple HomePods, you’ll be able to beam the same tune around your house via the Internet, without the need for each separate speaker to be cabled together.

So long as they’re all on the same internet network, and making use of the same user accounts, the party can follow you around your home. Or, if your house is a battleground for different tastes, each room can be playing a different song.

You can ask: ‘What song is that?’

Listening to a new playlist full of songs you’ve never heard before and landed on something you like? Just ask the smart speaker what’s playing at that moment, and it’ll tell you everything you need to know about the tune.

You can wake up to your favorite tracks

If the rising sun won’t cut it, and you’re sick of the submarine dive alarm that has you waking with a start every morning, why not try getting your smart speaker to wake you with one of your favorite songs instead?

Simply ask your smart speaker of choice to wake you with whichever tune gets you off to a good start for the day, and it’ll lift you serenely out of your slumber.

Conversely, smart speakers can help you drift off to sleep, too, with the sounds of the ocean or softly falling rain just a request away.

You can control your home with ease

One of the great things about smart speakers is that there’s so much more to them than just music. Chief among these abilities is the way that they can be used to control smart home devices such as connected smart light bulbs and smart thermostats. 

Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant can all connect and communicate with other devices that link up via your home’s Wi-Fi connection.

With them, you’ll be able to adjust your heating temperature, change the channel on your TV, dim the lights, set the kettle boiling, and much, much more, just with the power of your voice alone.

These additional devices come from many different manufacturers, so you may have to factor that added expense into your setup if you’re looking to make your home truly fit for the future.

You’ll get your questions answered

Remember when you had to head to a library to get an answer to a question? Before we all moved on to Encarta’s multi-media CDs, and then to Google and Wikipedia? 

The rise of the smart speaker could see us take our quest for knowledge to a new oracle – Alexa, or its rivals Siri and Google Assistant.

You can ask these smart helpers virtually any question you can think of, and each will trawl the web to find an appropriate answer and speak it aloud to you.

It’s not perfect yet – these early AI assistants are still lacking in some contextual knowledge, and are only as reliable as the online sources they tap into. But as they continually advance, they’ll become an even deeper source of information. 

Speech Recognition Process In Smart Speakers

Over the years, the technology responsible for speech recognition has gone through immense development.

Merely a few years back, speech recognition was just a pipe dream, but now it is widely utilized in several areas as well as in smart speakers.

Although, we pay attention to other people and study their speech patterns, it is no walk in the park when computers do it.

Sections of words know as phones have been set by programmers for computers to recognize.

These words are then connected with other “phones” so that “phonemes” are formed which are inadvertently different words.

Most of these speech recognition systems have differences in their basic theme, but their concepts are identical.

Data security

One of the issues that many people fear with the use of smart speakers is that of data security. People could become victims of voice hacking. This involves the recording or mimicking of a user’s voice and then hijacking their accounts.

It has been noted that many automatic speaker verification systems are not able to detect whether the speech has been previously recorded, although systems are now being developed to detect this.

Also, there have been some scares about some smart speaker systems responding to speech from nearby radios the speakers can hear. However, it does not appear to be a major issue.

One of the main issues when setting up smart speaker systems is to ensure that the Wi-Fi network, as well as any items on it, and of course the smart speaker, all have robust passwords.

One of the ways hackers can gain access into systems is through people leaving default passwords in place, thinking that nobody would be interested in hacking their system. These systems provide easy prey for unscrupulous hackers.

The technology for smart speakers is evolving at a rapid pace. As a result, their use can only increase, and this is likely to happen at a great rate.

Also, voice recognition will become embedded into more of everyday life, with newer systems performing the recognition locally.

Smart speaker technology will also extend its area of applications, and enable more areas of everyday life to be controlled by voice command.

Three Of The Best Smart Speakers

These three best smart speakers of 2020 have been carefully selected to give you the best smart speaker experience in the case that you need to get one.

They help you control your smart home devices, they play music, and are all equipped with virtual assistants prepared to answer every of your question.

These voice assistants which include; Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa, have become a staple of many homes.

This is because of how much they can do; they can play music, tell you the news, tell you about the weather, and control your smart home gadgets.

Regardless of this array of features, it seems that most users do not use these smart speakers to their full potential, and this is why you must go for the perfect and most suitable smart speaker for you to fully enjoy these brilliant innovations.

Sonos One (Gen 2) – Voice Controlled Smart Speaker

The first Alexa speaker from Sonos is a beautifully designed, great-sounding, and feature-rich device that boasts of the best of both ecosystems.

The Sonos One has the steadily improving Alexa and the multi-room smarts of the Sonos brand and most of all the one-of-a-kind sound performance.

This speaker also has a new feature that changes the tone of the conversation which is the AirPlay 2.

With the AiPlay 2, the Sonos One can interact with Siri and create a multi-room pairing with the Apple Homepod.

The Sonos One additionally supports Google Assistant which makes it the most all-encompassing speaker in this shortlist of three.

Pros
  • Best of both worlds in Alexa and Sonos
  • Impeccable sound performance
  • Music can be played while Alexa is on mute
Cons
  • It is quite expensive

Pure Discover Bluetooth Wireless Portable Alexa Smart Speaker

The Pure DiscovR successfully combines all of Alexa’s smarts with top-notch audio, and the intuitive touch controls to ensure you derive pleasure when you use it by voice or hand. The discovery has an invaluable ability to save voice commands as presets.

The Pure DiscovR has a visually appealing design with its rounded cube shape and elevated speaker which can be pressed down to mute the mic of Alexa.

This innovation has a very unique appeal in such a congested market; the speaker also has flashing colors around the rim of the LED for a light display.

If you seek a top-class smart speaker that delivers on sound quality, innovative design, and voice control then the Pure DiscovR is just what the doctor ordered.

Pros
  • Alexa voice control
  • Impeccable detailed and expansive sound
Cons
  • It is quite expensive
  • The rubber case leaves a lot to be desired

Echo Studio – High-fidelity smart speaker with 3D audio

Probably fed up with Sonos outshining it in the market, Amazon emerged with its premium smart speaker.

The Echo Studio by Amazon emanates the best sound any Amazon smart speaker can boast of, thanks to a 1-inch tweeter, a 5.3-inch woofer, and three 2-inch midrange speakers.

This speaker can be paired to another Echo studio for stereo sound and it can be used for your Amazon Fire TV device and your HDTV.

This smart speaker delivers impeccable room-permeating audio and intuitive, earth-shaking bass, but in sound-for-sound battles, the Sonos One still outperforms the Echo studio with more defined mids.

But this smart speaker has something the Sonos One does not which is a 3.5mm input jack.

A turntable can be directly plugged into the Echo studio which makes it both an output record collection and a streaming speaker in one device.

Pros
  • Impeccable sound performance
  • Incredible bass
  • Has the ability to adjust audio automatically
  • Can be paired with another Echo Studio
Cons
  • Vocal and mids tend to get lost
  • Quite large for a smart speaker

How To Select The Best Smart Speaker

Before you buy any of the aforementioned smart speakers, decide how you intend to make use of it.

If it will be the sole device in your living room playing music, which means you should opt for the one with impeccable audio quality.

But as imperative as the sound is, it cannot be the sole deciding factor of your choice.

For example, the Echo Studio does not sound as impeccable as the Sonos One, but its huge size may be something that works for you and besides it still sounds great and it is affordable compared to the other two.

The Echo studio can also be paired with another which means that you can even get two of these to form a stereo.

When you want to evaluate a smart speaker, as mentioned in the first paragraph of this section, the first thing you ought to look out for is audio quality.

If it sounds horrible then it is useless, right? You also have to consider the price of the speaker, if it is a cheap device, you cannot expect it to sound so hot as a more expensive alternative.

And because it is a smart speaker, you should also consider what you can do with its voice assistant.

While smart speakers manufactured by Google and Amazon have all the features of Google Assistant and Alexa, both brands remove some features like; the ability to carry out voice calls from other manufacturers.

So if an Amazon-produced speaker has the same sound as a speaker made by a different company, but it lacks all of Alexa’s functions, then the higher rating will go to Amazon’s device.

Finally, when going for a smart speaker, you should look out for its design. How visually appealing is it?

Is it equipped with audio inputs, so things like TVs and turntables can be connected?

All of these and more need to be put into consideration before you eventually pick the best smart speaker to purchase.

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