Tech Beat: Voice Assistants

Over the past couple Tech Beats, we’ve discussed smart home technology, but one thing we haven’t discussed yet, is the major binding force for them: the voice assistant. With there over 3.25 billion voice assistants being used around the world, some questions arise: What are my options, and where can I find them? For more information, I referred back to Best Buy and found Allan Hornung, a Best Buy Sales Associate who had the answers.

“We have three main types,” said Hornung. “We got your Google Homes, you also have your Amazon Alexa, and you also have Siri as well.”

Once you got your hands on one, you set it up using an app on your phone, from there, the options are endless. Hornung says that, “Once you link stuff together, they all control certain things.”

Hornung recommends that people find the assistant they like, and stick with that one saying, “If you already have an Alexa device, and you decide to purchase another Alexa device, they marry each other very easily, where sometimes there’s a little bit of a struggle to match the Google Home with the Amazon Alexa.”

But the voice assistant persists far beyond just its own standalone device. Alexa, Google assistant, and Siri, can be found in TVs, portable speakers, soundbars, cameras, phones, and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And they can do a variety of things. Hornung backs this up saying, “voice assistants are not just limited to checking the weather, but it can essentially control all your entertainment options”

Alexa, for example, can learn something called “skills.” These skills are found on the Alexa app and extend Alexa’s abilities to work with any number of other smart home technologies. Hornung adds that, “It gives you a little bit more of that ease of use and makes your life a whole lot more accessible.”

Alexa, Siri, and Google assistants can all be found in various devices at most major retailers.

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