Amazon Alexa might use the voice of friends and family who are no longer alive in a future update. Amazon mentioned the features at its re:MARS conference Wednesday as a way to "make memories last." After listening to someone's voice for less than a minute, Alexa would be able to simulate that voice when speaking. A video of the feature depicted a child who asked to have their grandmother read them a story, and Alexa affirmed before changing her voice, according to Sky News. It's not clear how far the feature is in development or when it could be rolled out to Alexa voice assistants.
Smart home or automation technology that converts a home fully tech-driven with a remote program device has integrated home appliances with sensors and actuators via the internet. But the next phase of it is bound to be of Artificial Intelligence that is fast taking off in this segment. The technology available so far is able to control devices like light, fan, TV, climate, enjoyment systems, and appliances. Some common applications include lighting control, HVAC, outdoor lawn irrigation, kitchen appliances, and security systems are already part of our daily life. Read: Canada's defense scientists develop a model to enable trust in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy (January 28, 2021) Voice control devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Home have accentuated the process to control almost every aspect of home through the Internet of Things (IoT) at a cost that ranges from $174 to $10,000, which has made repetitive daily routines easier and significantly cut down on energy costs too.
If you've been waiting to upgrade your home with the latest gear, this weekend might be the time to do so. From robot vacuums to Instant Pots, there are a number of great sales for connected appliances and kitchen gadgets for Memorial Day this year. As you can imagine, there are quite a lot of them, so we've collected some of the best ones below. Anker's Eufy RoboVac 11S is one of our favorite budget robot vacuums thanks to its slim profile, smart features and affordable price. It doesn't have WiFi, but it does have a remote control.
Amazon's household robot is exactly what I expected, but it's not what I wanted and it definitely isn't what anyone asked for. Instead of a multitasking mimicry of me that can empty the dishwasher, pick up my kids' shoes, feed the dog, and clean the house, Amazon's first attempt at a home bot is simply a souped-up Echo Show on wheels. It also has two cameras that it uses to find people and places in your home to deliver items, reminders, or timers. It can act as a security guard and patrol your home when paired with a Ring subscription, and it can fart and burp. In short, the Astro does everything Amazon's smart home products and services already do -- only on wheels. But the Astro is a robot. And that part is really cool.
One of the best places to start when building a smart home ecosystem is smart lights. Not only are they relatively affordable compared to other IoT gadgets, often costing between $10 and $50 a bulb, but they can also completely change the feel of your home. You can go from boring and analogue to colorful and automated within minutes, and there are endless possibilities when it comes to creating funky-colored light scenes, setting schedules and more. But like the rest of the smart home space over the last few years, there are now more players in smart lighting than ever before. We tested out some of the most popular smart lights on the market and found that most of them are quite good, but there are differences in compatibility, color quality and mobile app usability that are worth considering before deciding which system will be right for your home.
Google announced on Wednesday at its I/O 2022 convention that it plans to finally launch Matter, its new but delayed smart home industry standard later this year, and has explained how it will work in home ecosystems. Matter, developed in collaboration with Apple, Amazon, and the Zigbee Alliance among others, will let users connect all enabled devices to Google Home and control them both locally and remotely with the Google Home app, including smart home controls on Androids and Google Assistant. Matter controllers will include the original Google Home speaker, Google Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, Nest Audio and Nest Wifi. Devices will connect using Fast Pair and will feature multiple compatible voice control systems and networking protocols, including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, as well as Thread. While the Fast Pair feature has previously been used for headphones and audio gear, Google announced that it will soon be able to sync lightbulbs and smart plugs with Android and Nest devices. "With Matter, there's no need to build multiple versions of a smart home device to work across different ecosystems.
Google plans to finally launch its new smart home industry standard called Matter this fall. Devices will all connect quickly and easily using Fast Pair and the platform will support a variety of voice assistants and networking protocols. Those include Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri as well as WiFi, Thread and Bluetooth LE. While Fast Pair feature has been used for headphones and audio gear, the company is working to use it for more things, including syncing lightbulbs and smart plugs with Android and Nest devices. You'll be able to scan a code with your phone to get things rolling, which should be quicker and easier than the current method for adding new gear to your arsenal.
The smart home ecosystem is getting a little more integrated: Google just updated its Amazon Alexa Skill to work on its latest Nest cameras. So if you already own a variety of Nest and Alexa devices, they'll work together more seamlessly moving forward. Now, you can stream live feeds from your Nest cameras, doorbells and other devices to anything from your Amazon Fire TV to any Echo device. Amazon made a similar gesture to open up its own smart home ecosystem last month, when it announced that its doorbells and security cameras would work with Google Nest, Ring, Abode and other third-party devices. Amazon's Ring doorbell already works with Google Home and Apple Homekit.
Designing a smart home doesn't have to cost a fortune. With smart plugs, you can control just about any appliance with a few taps on your smartphones (or even with your voice). These affordable, internet-connected devices are easy to install and are one of the fastest ways to bring modern technology and automation into your home. Plus, smart plugs can help you monitor your energy usage and save money on your power bills. Below, we've created a list of six of today's best smart plugs, including options that integrate with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.
SAVE $50: The original Echo Show 8 is a great budget-friendly smart home hub, and as of April 15, you can bring one home for just $59.99 -- a 45% savings. If you're already using some of Amazon's smart home devices, a smart home hub will make your life much easier. With the ability to look at your photos, turn other Alexa-enabled smart devices off and on, and stay connected to loved ones, the first generation Echo Show 8 is one of our top picks. As of April 15, the Echo Show 8 is back down to $59.99 -- the lowest price we've seen. This is the same discounted price it sat at during Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, so you know you're getting the lowest price possible.