Voice control has steadily made its way into consumer consciousness over the last few years. It was not so long ago that voice control was viewed as a gimmick, with most integrators wanting nothing to do with the technology. When we attended our first CEDIA conference back in 2015 in Dallas, nearly every person we spoke with, whether it was an integrator, manufacturer, or even member of the press, had no interest in offering voice as an option for the community.
Much of this negative view was due to previous voice offerings that just didn’t work. There are a number of reasons of why that has changed, from the technology itself to the business opportunity seen by the big tech companies, but it all comes down to that voice control now actually works.
Many integrators come to us feeling overwhelmed with voice, unsure on how to even get started on offering a complete solution to their clients. From understanding the landscape to understanding the technical details, here are few things that you, as an integrator, can do right now to get ahead of the voice game and start offering voice solutions.
Find a Good Resource
As with any new technology, we can not offer it to any of our clients if we do not understand the technology ourselves. The first step is to educate yourself. We have published quite a few articles about voice control over the years, from defining important terminology to recommendations for a more natural voice experience in the home. You can browse all of our articles here.
Know What Integrates Well Together
It seems like everything in the home is getting internet connectivity these days, from ovens to coffee makers, and a big part of offering a great experience is knowing when to say no — especially in the custom channel.
For example, it may sound really cool to stream your security cameras to your Apple TV, but we all know that some of these companies are notoriously closed and do not offer easy integrations with third party devices. This concept extends to voice as well. Thankfully, there are many companies out there that are developer friendly and want to push innovation forward, including our partners Lutron, Sony, Crestron, and Control4.
Understand Technological Limitations
It is important to know that while voice technology can do some pretty powerful things right now, there still are some applications where it is not quite appropriate.
For example, while it would be nice to be able to interact with and disarm your security system via voice, the technology is not quite ready yet to provide a secure and natural experience for the home. Speaker recognition and authentication technology still needs a bit more development to be affordable and reliable in the home. For now, you can apply hacky workarounds, such as requiring a security code to be spoken, to add a level of security.
Don’t Assume One Company Has the “Best” Solution
There are lots of choices out there when it comes to any technology. In the luxury market, it is imperative that whichever technology you choose to deploy provides an experience that is not only exciting, but also extremely reliable. It all just depends on the requirements of each project.
For voice, if your client does not care about privacy and is cost sensitive, one of the mass market offerings may work. On the other hand, if your client prefers to control what sort of data is collected and can afford a more natural experience, Josh.ai could be a good solution.
Stay Knowledgeable About the Space
Technology advances rapidly. It is important to not only be educated about the current state of that technology, but also to stay up-to-date of what is going on with innovation and new trends. One way to do that is by attending conferences that are focused on specific interests.
For example, the Parks Associates annual CONNECTIONS conference is a great place where industry and press gather to discuss IoT and home automation trends. If you are a member of one of the buying groups, such as HTSA and Azione, you have access to their member only conferences, which offer insight and analysis on market trends.
Here at Josh.ai, we are always keeping an eye out for new ideas and advancements, which we share with our community. You can follow us on social media (links below) and also join our mailing list at the bottom of our website.