Virtual assistants turn 16 this year and you don't have to look too hard – or speak too loudly – to find them. In fact, there will be around 8 billion voice-based devices by 2023 – more than the world's population today. From Amazon's Echo and Google's Assistant to Apple's Siri, Samsung's Bixby and Microsoft's Cortana, billions of people around the world are using their voices every day to schedule appointments, get directions, play music or get answers quickly-- all things that once required us to tediously type or write. Even Twitter recently announced that users can now audio tweet their inner musings. And yet, despite widespread adoption of voice-based devices in our personal lives, applications based on voice are nowhere as pervasive in our professional lives as they are in our homes.
As smart home technology has progressed over the last five years, the interconnectedness of devices has been the central draw. The ability to tie your household lights to your front door, or to connect a security system to sirens throughout the home, appeals to people due to the convenience and peace of mind it can provide. Smart assistants have been the major development, however. The birth and rise of Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant has played a critical role in the development of smart technology. Despite the controversy these technologies generated, particularly surrounding privacy implications, more and more devices enter the market with built-in voice assistants.
The Bose Home Speaker 300 is one of the most capable speakers you'll find, and it manages to stay around the $200 price point that's reasonable to expect of a midsize smart speaker. Its understated aesthetic will be at home in almost any room, and its 360-degree sound field means you can place it on any counter or table and still get good sound throughout the space. This is a very loud speaker for its size, and clarity does begin to suffer as the volume nears its max, but for most uses, it's not going to be a dealbreaker. Here are the Home Speaker 300's specs: The Bose Home Speaker 300 offers several ways to connect to music sources--even an old-school auxiliary input. Bose's smart speakers really excel when it comes to connectivity.
Alexa is the world's most popular smart assistant and the driving force behind Amazon's beloved Echo smart speaker lineup. These voice-controlled, Alexa-enabled smart speakers can be used to manage your smart home, give you the forecasts for the day ahead, and much more. If you're thinking about inviting Alexa into your home via one of Amazon's Echo speakers, you may be wondering which one to buy. We took a look at two of Amazon's most popular smart speakers, the Echo (third-generation) and the Echo Dot (third-generation) to help you decide which of these handy smart speakers is best for you. The Echo Dot (third-generation) is one of the smallest Amazon Echo smart speakers. The most obvious visual difference between the Echo Dot and the Echo is the size.
Consider the artificially intelligent voices you hear on a regular basis. Are any of them men? Whether it's Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, Amazon's Alexa, or virtually any GPS system, chances are the computerized personalities in your life are women. This gender imbalance is pervasive in fiction as well as reality. Films like "Her" and "Ex Machina" reflect our anxieties about what intelligent machines mean for humanity.
Headquartered in Quebec, Canada, Sinopé Technologies might be less familiar than some other smart-home brands, but we've reviewed several of the company's products and found a lot to like. Today, we'll take a look at its new Zigbee smart dimmer switch (model DM2500ZB), and its new smart home hub, the GT130 gateway. These two products are part of a new family of Zigbee 3.0-based products that Sinopé launched this spring, a collection that also includes a smart in-wall outlet, a smart switch, and updated smart thermostats. With its embrace of the Zigbee smart home protocol, Sinopé is relegating its proprietary smart home family--the Mi-Wi series, which included the GT125 gateway--to "legacy" status. Now when you buy a DIY Sinopé smart home product, you can control it with the company's own GT130 gateway or with any other Zigbee-based smart home hub, including Samsung SmartThings or any of the Amazon Echo smart speakers and displays that are equipped with Zigbee radios.
Best Buy dropped the price of Lenovo's Smart Clock with Google Assistant to $40 today. This brings the price closer to that of a "regular" alarm clock, but the Smart Clock offers so much more. For $40, you get features like a sunrise alarm, an ambient light sensor that adjusts the brightness of the display, alarm suggestions and calendar reminders. On top of that, the Google-powered device can control your smart home, play music, access Nest cams and charge your phone. When we reviewed the Smart Clock, we gave it a score of 87 for its compact, attractive design, useful alarm clock features and affordability.
Machine Learning, a subset of Artificial Intelligence, has some revolutionary impact across several business operations and functions. Machine learning has many potential uses, including external (client-facing) applications like customer service, product recommendation, and pricing forecasts, but it is also being used internally to help speed up processes or improve products that were previously manual and time-consuming. One of the most relevant consumer-based use for machine learning is voice assistants or chatbots that applies mostly to smartphones and smart home devices. The voice assistants on these devices use machine learning to understand what you say and craft a response. The machine learning models behind voice assistants were trained on human languages and variations in the human voice because it has to translate what it hears into words and then make an intelligent, on-topic response.
This week brought good sales on Apple and Amazon devices, as well as some intriguing gaming deals. The Apple Watch Series 5 dropped to $299 again after WWDC kicked off earlier this week and Amazon still has some of its Echo speakers on sale (including the handy Echo Dot with clock). You can grab some extra storage for your Nintendo Switch for less at Newegg and Steam's Summer Sale has just begun. Here are the best deals we found this week that you can still get today. The latest Apple Watch has dropped to its lowest price ever again at Amazon and Walmart.
The updated Amazon Alexa Plus is seen above. When it comes to making your home smart, you need the right gear. Amazon's Alexa resides in millions of households and make sure you get the most out of yours. Tap or click for 13 Alexa skills you'll use over and over again. While you're adjusting settings, it's not just snooping Big Tech companies you need to guard against.