(20 August 2020 12:00 am)
Smart speakers give you access to the internet by having a conversation with your new best friend. No need for screens, keyboards, mice, screen readers or magnifiers.Smart speakers connect to the internet via a Wi-Fi connection, they use voice recognition to respond to your request. When you want to make a request you say the ‘wake up’ word for your device: ‘Alexa’ for Amazon, ‘Hey Siri’ for Apple and ‘OK Google’ for Google devices.
Smart speakers can be used to access all sorts of information:
- .... set a timer for 20 minutes
- .... what time is it?
- .... what’s the news?
- .... play [artist]
Google and Alexa smart speakers can now make free calls to landline and mobile numbers within the UK. Contact names and numbers need to be configured in the app on a smart phone/tablet:
- .... call Warwickshire Vision
- .... call 01926 411331
- .... hang up
Additional smart devices can be purchased and controlled by your smart speaker. These include smart plugs that you can connect to the appliances you want to control, smart light bulbs or smart thermostats. Once configured you can give the command to turn on/off the device.
- .... turn on kitchen lights.
Lots of companies have written interfaces to smart speakers to give them extra skills, so you can ask your new best friend about:
- Travel and transportation: bus and rail enquiries
- Business and Finance: Lottery results, Premium Bond checker
- Movie and TV: TV guides
- Music: Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube
- Shopping: Amazon Prime
There are different shapes and sizes and therefore costs of smart speakers, this is generally due to speaker quality and size of screen if present.
If you are considering buying a Smart Speaker, then it is important to know:
- Smart Speakers require a Wi-Fi connection.
- They require an Android or IOS (Apple) smart phone or tablet to configure initially and set up contacts, but these are not required for day-to-day general operation.
- Access to some skill services may require setup via the app on a smart phone or tablet, this includes setting up payment card data.
- Emergency calls are not currently supported.
- Calls to premium numbers are not supported.
- Check compatibility before purchasing.