What Is A Smart Voice Assistant: Should you buy one?


What Is A Smart Voice Assistant Should you buy one

We are in living in a world where the virtual assistants are the next trend-setters for carrying out our tasks in the most efficient and fastest way. Needless to say, who wouldn’t want one hub that gets connected to almost everything in your household and you can control it with just your “voice”. This is where smart voice assistant comes into the picture. These bad boys help you to find out what the temperature is and what route you should be taking to work on a busy Monday morning. You can even ask your assistant what the score of your favorite team that is playing in the tournament is. All of this is now possible by the use of a smart voice assistant that makes sure it provides you with a one-stop-solution to all your automation needs.

These voice-assisted smart speakers are not only being used in the tech industry but now have also seeped down to a level where they have hit the consumer shelves. You just simply can find a dedicated virtual voice assistant in your new smartphone, rather it is an Android, iPhone or Windows. These are so very intuitive that over time, they adapt to your mood, your interests and heck they even are interested and keen to know if you have kept up with that Keto plan you always ignored.

Still confused what a voice assistant is? Then fret not, I have covered every single point in this article that would enable you to have to a clear understanding of what these in essence are.

What is a voice assistant?

Didn’t the name give it away? It is indeed an assistant that is both virtual, digital and computerised and is present in either your smartphones or nowadays in speakers. All you have to do is pick up the phone and tap a button for that particular virtual assistant voice mod to fire up, and start taking instructions and commands from you. Obviously there are certain limitations to this, and you can’t just yet instruct your voice assistant to prepare a Hotdog sandwich for you! Well, who knows what the future holds for us.

The idea behind creating voice assistants was to eliminate the need for manual work. Yes, the technologists thought it is a tedious job to check for the weather by picking up your phone and taking notes on the phone manually by tapping on the screen multiple times. The purpose of a voice assistant is to take all of these instructions without the need of picking up your phones. Completely automated!

How many types of voice assistants are there in the market?

There are maybe more than a few dozen of voice assistants readily available in the market. To help you know more about them, I have taken the liberty to categorise them into three primary tiers.

The first tier

Amazon ALEXA and Google Assistant

These, hands down; are the major players in this space. These are the giants when it comes down to perfection and automating tasks by the help of voice commands. If you have ever encountered any voice assistant in the past, or even in the present; then it is highly likely that they fall into this particular Tier.

The Second Tier

Apple’s Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung Bixby and Baidu’s DuerOS

These are also the major players in this space but not as famous as the latter. These assistants are equally good but somewhat are not refined and perfected the way Amazon and Google are. I personally am quite contended with the use of my Apple Siri because who wouldn’t love to hear the voice of a British lady in the early morning hours calling you to wake up from your slumber.

The third Tier

All the other voice assistants and after-market products

Then you have got everyone else. These are highly inaccurate, lack the proficiency to be called as virtual assistants and are just built-in to a single board for the sake of the name. This list is quite an exhaustive one, and as it doesn’t benefit anyone, hence I have chosen to ignore their names. You can easily find these voice assistants in products that are manufactured below quality, and one common thing that these tier products share is the shared degree of hyper-specialisation.

WHAT CAN THESE VOICE ASSISTANTS DO?

We will discuss in somewhat detail on the Top 2 tier products in this question, so to have a better understanding of their functionality and adaptability.

Google Assistant

This assistant can play music, run tasks, send meeting requests, set reminders in your calendar, read your RSS feeds and newspapers and most of all; communicate with the rest of the smart devices that you have in your home. Google assistant is also easily integrated with other compatible 3rd-party services.

Which device do you need to use this assistant?

If you are a Google Home owner, then this voice assistant is already installed onto your device. So just configure away and start giving instructions to it. But if you want to test it out on your Android smartphone, then install it from the Appstore and start getting accustomed to it.

Amazon Alexa

Just like the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa is capable of playing your music playlists, set reminders, inform you of the weather and forecasts and also control your home devices. You can even put together your custom Blueprints using Alexa skills by integrating it with the Amazon Alexa Skills.

Which device do you need to use this assistant?

Excellent news for both the iOS and Android lovers. This app can be installed and configured on both platforms. And if you are the owner to an Alexa based smart speaker, then this application comes pre-installed on it and is ready to be used out of the box.

Cortana

Just like its partners, Cortana is capable of playing music files, tell you what the weather is, answer questions (its default search engine database is BING), schedule your appointments, translate one language to another and much more. Cortana is also capable of modifying your computer settings. A good example would be to turn your Wi-Fi on and off using voice commands given to Cortana.

Which device do you need to use this assistant?

Lady Cortana comes built-in to any Windows 10 machine that you buy. You do not necessarily need to buy a computer with a Windows 10 installation. You can always buy the license from Microsoft’s own website for Windows 10. All you have to do after getting your hands on the Windows 10 platform, is to click on the start panel and select Cortana.

Bixby

For this particular voice assistant in the debate, you need to have a full product line of Samsung at your home for it be advantageous into communicating and integrating with the rest of your smart devices. Just like its competitors, Bixby is capable of playing your music files, control smart appliances (SAMSUNG products only), give you driving directions, translation and take notes and much more.

Which device do you need to use this assistant?

There is a bit of a hiccup in using Bixby. It is only supported by models such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and above. The latest Samsung’s smart voice assistant speaker, most commonly referred to as the SAMSUNG GALAXY HOME is embedded with the Bixby voice assistant. So if you are a Samsung fan, this might be the right choice for your smart home needs.

Apple Siri

Hands down, Apple was the first mainstream company and the pioneers who launched the world’s first-ever smart voice assistant platform. They called it “SIRI”. Although Apple falls in Tier 2 of the Voice assistant product lineup, it still packs quite a punch vs the Tier 1 voice assistants. Ever heard of the app named “SHAZAM”? Yup! The same app that you used back in the days to identify songs, heck maybe now even. Apple’s Siri can do it for you with just a voice instruction. So you wouldn’t need to use any 3rd party applications to do it. Along with this, Apple’s Siri can also talk to you if you are bored and also it can control your music files and any other Apple-based product that you may have in your household.

Which device do you need to use this assistant?

Siri comes pre-installed in all of Apple’s smartphones, iPads, Mac OS laptops etc. Siri can now also be accessed via the Apple HomePOD smart speakers.

Zohaib S.

A technology enthusiast who has converted his home into a "JETSONS" edition.

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