Smart Speaker: The smartest models at a glance
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Networked loudspeakers, also known as smart speakers, respond to a number of voice commands. As practical helpers in everyday life, they can relieve us of many tasks – these models are particularly recommended.
Smart speakers can make our lives a little easier: they can be used, for example, to play music by voice command and when there is no hand free in the kitchen, they can easily read recipes and other information from the Internet. But also smart home products like Dimmer* and Heizthermostate* can be connected to a smart speaker depending on the provider and compatibility.
Alexa Alternative: Google Home
Amazon’s biggest competitor in the smart speaker business is Google – the company’s speakers are called Google Home* and are available in different shapes and sizes. Practical: Google Home works with Chromecast. This means that series, films and music can also be easily streamed on the television or the Google speaker.
HomePod: Die Premium Alternative
At the HomePod* it is a smart speaker from Apple – together with Apple Music and the in-house voice assistant Siri, you can listen to music, master everyday tasks and control your own smart home without taking your mobile phone out of your pocket. Practical: Thanks to the integrated room recognition, the HomePod automatically sets the optimal sound – it almost doesn’t matter where you place it.
Telekom Smart Speaker: German competition
But Telekom has one too Smart Speaker* Developed with its own voice assistant: it can be used to make hands-free calls in the fixed network and control the Telecom services Magenta TV and Magenta Smarthome. Alexa is also integrated as a second, optional voice assistant.
Amazon Echo Dot: The classic
One of the most popular smart speaker models is undoubtedly the Amazon Echo Dot* – it listens in to recognize when you need the Alexa voice control. Among other things, you can play songs and answer questions, but you can also have the news and the weather report read to you by the small loudspeaker. It is also possible to send calls or messages by voice command. To improve the sound of the small speakers, several echo dots can be coupled. Alternatively, the larger Amazon Echo* a 360 degree sound.
Smart speakers without their own voice assistant: good sound and free choice
Users who use smart speakers primarily to listen to music will quickly find that the sound quality of small speakers leaves something to be desired. It is therefore advisable to consider manufacturers of smart loudspeakers who do not offer their own voice assistant and are instead simply compatible with the market leaders.
The JBL Link smart speaker works with the Google Assistant – for this, the device must be connected to the Google Home app and your own WiFi network. The smart speaker Sonos One* however, works with both the Google Assistant and Amazon’s voice control Alexa. Since Amazon allows manufacturers to develop their own apps for using the boxes, the appropriate program should be downloaded and a network with their own Amazon account established.
Smart speaker: what is it and how does it work?
Smart speakers are speakers that are connected to the Internet and can be operated using a voice assistant. Smart home systems such as those from Fritz can also be easily controlled with them. In contrast to universal remote controls, you have your hands free when using it and you can control devices connected to the speaker from anywhere. The personal assistant is based on sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence – in the course of use, the device can also learn what preferences users have.
Voice-controlled loudspeakers therefore always use voice recognition that is compatible with the device. The main competitors are the voice assistants from Amazon and Google. For Amazon products, this is Alexa, the main competitor Google and its smart speakers are controlled with the Google Assistant. But Apple also has its own speakers on the market that can be controlled with Siri. In addition, Deutsche Telekom is also supplying its own smart speaker that reacts to “Hello Magenta”.
Smart speakers can also record words and calls in standby mode, as the microphone is always activated – if the respective signal word (for example “Alexa”, “Ok, Google” or “Hey Siri”) is pronounced, the loudspeaker is “awake” and carries out the user’s request. With some smart speaker models, the microphone can be switched off at the push of a button, so that listening can be temporarily deactivated. In this way, manufacturers have responded to any security concerns raised by users who fear that the loudspeaker could make it easier to eavesdrop on conversations.
In addition to playing streaming content or locally stored music or film files, smart speakers are often used in the smart home area, for example to regulate lighting and heating. In addition, users can also teach the device skills they have programmed themselves.
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This article was first published on December 13, 2019.