There are many things you can simplify in your day-to-day life with a voice assistant like Siri, Alexa or Google. Follow these tips to save time and be more efficient!
Before delving into the subject, what exactly is a voice assistant?
Digital voice assistants have been on the market for nearly 10 years now. The technology is quite simple: a small electronic device that has a built-in microphone to record your commands, a speaker to transmit answers spoken by a synthetic voice, connected to the Internet to communicate with a host of services. This way, the assistant can understand what you are asking and find the best solution for your needs.
These assistants also built into smartphones, some smartwatches and other devices used in the home. This makes it easy to add a voice assistant to your household and to enjoy all its handy features.
How to choose?
The three big players in the voice companion market are well known: Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. There are several versions of each, depending on what you are looking for. The elements that vary from model to model are the sound quality and if it has a screen or not.
We recommend starting with one product to see if the interaction suits you. Here are the manufacturers’ three basic models:
Google Nest Mini (available in four colours), $69
Amazon Echo Dot (available in charcoal), $25
Apple HomePod Mini (available in five colours) , $129
Once your voice assistant is installed and configured, here are some tasks you can delegate to it to simplify your life. Note that the voice command examples given in this article have been simplified. You will need to adapt them to your device.
1. Invite a virtual sous-chef into your kitchen
There is no worse time to check your phone than during food prep, when your hands are coated in flour, oil or honey. Voice assistants are essential kitchen aids in that situation.
Using your voice, you can ask your assistant to perform several small but important tasks:
How many millilitres is half a cup? Ask your assistant to convert units of measurements and get the answer immediately without getting your phone all dirty.
Make sure none of your dishes are overdone or get burned by easily setting different timers.
Not sure what to make as a side dish? Your digital partner can offer suggestions and even dictate the complete recipe.
And that’s not all! Thanks to several apps that you can add to your assistant, you can even ask it for cocktail ideas, food and wine pairings or to control your smart home devices, such as high-tech gadgets for the BBQ.
2. Control the lighting in your home without moving a muscle
How many times have you gotten all settled in on the couch, ready to watch your favourite show and then noticing that you forgot to shut off the light in the kitchen? Your personal assistant will be happy to do that for you. Just say “Can you turn off the light in the kitchen?" and voilà. Sit back and enjoy your show!
It’s also easy to pair your assistant with your different connected devices. Just look for the Alexa, Google or Siri compatibility symbol on the packaging or in the instruction manual. Today, most devices are compatible with the three main voice assistants.
You can also control your smart ambient lighting devices from your voice assistant.
3. Make sure you don’t forget anything by setting automated reminders
Who hasn’t had the niggling feeling that they were forgetting something important? With your voice assistant, you’ll never have to worry about that again! Ask your virtual companion to help you by saying, “Remind me of my appointment tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.” It will be sure to do so. And if you happen to not be home when the time comes, you can get an alert on your phone to be sure not to miss a thing.
4. Add items to your shopping list at any time
To reduce your mental load, virtual assistants help you keep an up-to-date list of things you need to get. For example, say, “Add flour to my grocery list.” Imagine being able to do this without touching your phone while you are in the middle of cooking a meal. Very practical!
Once at the store, check the list generated by your assistant on your phone. Even simpler, Alexa can place an Amazon order for you. You won’t even need to set foot outside.
5. Put on mood music at any time of day
Who doesn’t like to put on a good playlist when their friends are over, to create the best possible atmosphere? Instead of having to plug in your phone and queue the songs up manually, you can simply ask your assistant to “Play my ‘Supper with friends’ playlist.”
All of the above-mentioned manufacturers offer their own music service with simple interaction, but you can also use another provider, such as Spotify or Apple Music.
These five examples are only a fraction of what voice assistants can do for you. Have fun discovering how your loyal virtual companion can brighten your day and make life easier.
We have the perfect playlist for your housewarming party. Head over to our Spotify page to have a listen!
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