Voice activated home automation devices are growing in popularity and are expanding rapidly. - SahmReviews.com


Isn’t it funny how accustomed we get to things and don’t even realize it? I gave up coffee for Lent and let me say that it isn’t the caffeine that I miss as much as the absence of the habit itself. A couple months back, I shared the anxiety of being disconnected. I know I’m online a lot, but until the WiFi wigs out or I’m someplace without access to internet, it isn’t so apparent.

Yes, I’m fully lying to myself that I’m not addicted. It’s called denial.

Who cares if I want to immerse myself in technology? It’s pretty awesome if you really think about it. Each year, we find more ways to integrate our lives with technology and it really does make life better. I go to the grocery store and don’t have to fiddle through my purse looking for the loyalty card because it’s right there on my iPhone along with all the other rewards programs and loyalty cards. When I eat at McDonald’s, I load up the app to grab a coupon. If I go to the movies I can get discounts on popcorn because there’s an app on my phone for it. I go for a walk… app for that. Wondering where my kids are… app for that. I could go on and on with the list. At home using WiFi or out and about with unlimited data on U.S. Cellular, I’m set.

I used to think apps were where it’s at, but that’s no longer the case. Yes, they are helpful and beneficial, but there’s more to connectivity than just that what you have at the swipe of a finger. What I’ve found incredibly amazing are the growing number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices available and how useful they are. Not only are they integrated, but many newer devices are actually voice activated. Voice control technology can now be found in everything from appliances to vehicles. According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 36% of smartphone owners use a virtual assistant daily and 30% use smart home technology. I think more people will continue to gravitate toward these options as they diversify in the market.

Let someone else do the vacuuming for you. The new Dyson 360 Eye Robotic Vacuum includes home automation options! - SahmReviews.com

We have a connected thermostat, Philips Hue lights, garage door, Dyson robot vacuum and Holmes humidifier. I expect to add some additional connected items to that list as the opportunities arise. Top of my list is a connected deadbolt because, well, they’re just cool and being able to monitor the doors would be nice. (Can you hear my mumbles and grumbles of having a teenager?) My washer/dryer are just fine, but new ones have features that notify you when your load is done. I also would be happy to add a Samsung SmartThings Water Leak Sensor to my home because during the rainy season, we always fear our basement will flood. Samsung SmartThings are voice controlled through Amazon Echo to keep track of things while you are at home or away. According to Juniper Research, IoT devices and sensors are expected to increase to 46 billion by 2021, a 200% jump. Personally, I think that’s a conservative number because the opportunities are endless.

Amazon Echo Dot is a widely popular voice activated home automation device. - SahmReviews.com

As an example, during a past Christmas, each of our kids received an Amazon Echo Dot to use in their bedrooms. Not as a toy or replacement for an alarm clock (although it could be) but as a tool. They use it daily in multiple ways. Aside from the radio, sleep timer and alarm/reminder features, they also use it to learn about the weather, listen to jokes or riddles, hear daily inspirational affirmations and even their horoscopes. They regularly discover new ways to use it to enhance their lives. Scott asked what I wanted for my birthday and I thought about an Echo Dot or an Apple Watch but I’m kind of waiting to see what comes next. Technology improves daily and it’s always better – and cheaper – tomorrow.

What about you? What voice-activated or other connected devices have you added to your home?

97 thoughts on “Get Vocal with Home Automation

  1. My husband loves stuff like this. We upgraded to a smart thermostat and smoke detectors. I do like being able to control my home from an app.

  2. It’s cool that they are working to make technologies like these more available. We don’t currently have a lot of smart tech in our home!

  3. Wow, technology is moving so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. It can definitely be overwhelming, and people need to be educated on how to best use all of these amazing new products.

  4. We aren’t a very smart tech kind of house but it is cool that it is becoming more available to people. I do want an automated vacuum though.

  5. I’m impressed with your ability to give up coffee (can’t image doing it!!) and you definitely introduced me to a bunch of new gadgets. Our most recent is ALEXA and I love to ask “her” if she is “spying on us!”. 🙂

  6. I have heard so many great and cool things about Echo. I think you are right. Once I tried Siri, I have not since stopped relying on her to find me answers to questions fast and she also does other tasks for me.

  7. WOW, technology is changing and evolving so quickly. I love that these things can really help with our everyday tasks, too. I love using these types of technologies to simplify life. We all can use a helper!

  8. Technology is moving SO fast isn’t it? I definitely need to catch up. We don’t have any of the apps that allow us to control things in our home when we’re out, and we really should!!

    Louise x

  9. This stuff is all nice and handy, but if we ever have a true national emergency type situation, it will be useless.
    Not trying to be a ‘Debbie Downer’, just keep it in mind.

  10. I used to buy technology right when it came out because I was excited about it, only to see not that much later better versions that I wished I’d waited for. It’s hard to know when to buy.. If you wait for the latest thing, you’ll never buy anything. So now I wait 6-8 months before I buy just so I know they’ve gotten the kinks out and I’ve read more user reviews. That seems to work for me. In a year or so, I hope everything in my house answers my call…

  11. This is all so amazing! We don’t have any voice activation in our home, hopefully in our new one. I didn’t really know you could do so much voice activation until a couple months ago when my brother told me about it. It was funny walking into his house with him last weekend and he said “Alexa, turn on the lights”. 🙂 Technology has come such a long way!

  12. I have not really looked into much in the way of whole-home technology, but this article does give me some interest into some ways of integrating this kind of technology.

  13. I am slowly moving toward an automated home. Alexa was my first venture and I love her (not nearly as much as my wife, though). Now working on interior/exterior lighting. I do tech support for a major company so this technology is right up my alley.

  14. I’m 59 years old and I got my first cell phone because my landline wiring went on the blink. So far I hate being without my landline phone and I’m having a terrible time of figuring my cell phone out. I know eventually I will and I hope I’ll like my cell phone as much as my landline phone.

  15. moving forward with new technology is sometimes scary as anyone can get your info. Not sure i like all technology. Just installed a smart thermosat and we love it!

  16. I’m kinda behind the times, although I do have an Amazon Echo – I don’t have much more fancy electronic equipment in my house. It’s not that I don’t want it – I think I’m more intimidated by it. I would love to learn more and have the convenience of being able to secure my home and keep myself updated on the latest technology. It sounds wonderful.

  17. My son graduated with a bachlors degree in computer science and excells in everything geeky. His poor mother constantly texts him for help with gadgets. I enjoy what technology can do but if it goes haywire, I’m lost. I’m so glad I have a son that can at least put me in the right direction when it comes to dealing with tech fix-its. I just wish he lived closer.

    1. We’re often on the receiving end of those types of calls also. Next time you ask him for help, remind him that he’s welcome to call you for advice on things you’re more knowledgeable about than he is. 🙂 I call my mom when I want gardening help as she’s a master gardener!

  18. I would really love to try this. I know I’d become totally hooked on it. It looks like it’s not only fun, but convenient as well.

  19. Amazing things are world is coming to, this sounds pretty amazing might be a little complex at first but like everything else we learn as we go.

  20. This is all so impressive, I’m anxiously awaiting what comes next…we’re getting closer to living like the jetsons which has been my goal for a long time.

  21. I want to add all the smart stuff into my house, but I want an integrated system, not a hodge podge of a bunch of things made by different companies because I think it would be easier to learn systems that are all using the same basic interface. I’m hoping a lot of companies will make all their products smart, so I can choose a system and just add to it gradually as they add new items.

  22. Voice activated items are so great all around. No more looking for remotes, hands free, and just great for us lazy people.

  23. I like the idea of controling some things in my home. I’m still new to this type of technology. It would be great if I need to double check doors being locked or stove being off. Not sure how it would work if I left the fridge door open. Give them time I’m sure they will. Enjoyed your review.

  24. I am so loving all the tech stuff coming out, it’s fun, makes my life easier and I like discovering all the stuff it can do. My only concern is if someone will hack my wifi and turn on my lamps and coffee maker before I want to wake up 🙂

  25. I would LOVE a dryer that told me when it was done…I am always checking on it to put in the next load….and it’s never done at the same time, so it would save me a lot of trouble and be so much more efficient if it just told me when it was done. The little buzzer on it is not loud enough to hear unless you are in the same room, but if I got a notification, that would be great. My next dryer will absolutely have that smart feature.

  26. I’m impressed that U.S. Cellular does free device workshops for smart devices even if you’re not a customer. I can usually figure out the main functions, but only learn of some of the many features a little at a time and some I’m sure I never learn, so this is great to know and I will be taking advantage of it.

  27. I’m kind of waiting for the Apple Watch too, I see the latest ones have health checks (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.). Hoping I can get one for Christmas.

  28. I had a remote control for years that turned on/off anything electric. It used transmitters, plugins, and the remote, then they added security cameras, then timers using a computer program and a plugin wifi transmitter. They were wonderful for years (maybe 18 or so) and very handy. Now they are slowly not working so reliably, and I’m ready to replace it all. What’s so funny to me is that it took so long for so many other companies to make these same products and now the original company I bought all this from isn’t making any of it anymore and has gone strictly to just security cameras.

  29. I have the Hue lights, Ring doorbell, the echo, one echo dot, and a smart plug. I want a nest thermostat and more outdoor cameras for security.

  30. I kind of wanted to get something that did a little more than the Echo Dot, but I just saw they were going to be a great deal on Black Friday, so I’m thinking I’ll get one and get something a little more sophisticated later…which I guess means I’ll have to wait a while for the robot butler that obeys me, cooks dinner, cleans my house and does laundry… 🙂

  31. Honestly I could really use stuff like this, because I get so sidetracked in other things that I forget about laundry that I put in, or that I started a load of dishes. If I had appliances that would remind me that they are done, I could get back on track. I wish I could just afford them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *