Technology is ever-evolving, helping to make our lives better. With the Internet of Things (IOT) appliances, even our homes are helping make life easier. Did you ever think your refrigerator would be able to keep inventory on your groceries and order replacement milk? It's amazing!
One piece of technology that is becoming more and more popular is the smart speaker. Amazon has the Echo and Dot, and there is also the Google Home, which works like a personal assistant, or a smart home hub. Now, Microsoft is about to get into the home hub business.
The Echo Dot is a hockey puck-sized version of the Amazon Echo: the voice-controlled gadget that brings Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa to your home. Although the Dot does not have the Echo's cylindrical speaker, it does come with a smaller built-in speaker, or if you prefer, you can also connect any Bluetooth speaker wirelessly or any regular speaker via the built-in 3.5mm jack.
The whole Echo line was designed by Amazon to become your smart home hub. With Alexa, the company offers a multitude of voice-activated functions such as smart appliance control, music playback, news reporting and web searching. Amazon is also constantly updating the Echo line with new features and skills.
Google's Home is a smart speaker that was designed to compete with Amazon's Echo line and functions in a similar way. Simple voice commands allow you to play music, control the lights, ask questions and tell it to do many other things.
Microsoft's Home Hub
Software is being developed by Microsoft that will turn millions of Windows PCs into a home hub. This software will be able to perform the same functions as the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
The big difference is you won't need to purchase a speaker or extra hardware to use Microsoft's Home Hub.
Home Hub will work best on all-in-one machines, or 2-in-1 machines that have touch screens. However, it will work on any Windows 10 machine.
The software will work with Microsoft's AI assistant, Cortana. Similar to Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri, you will have voice control over Cortana.
An account will be set up for use by the entire family. This account will always be logged in and Home Hub will let everyone see certain apps, to-do lists, all calendar appointments and much more.
You will also be able to control smart home gadgets such as the lights and door locks.
This new software isn't available yet. It is expected to be released by the end of 2017.
Have you already started using one of these smart assistants? Leave a comment and let us know about any experiences you have using this technology.