For the past few years, smart devices, smart homes, and smart assistants have been all the rage. You can hear people talking to Google, Cortana, Siri, or Alexa quite often at home or out in public. It’s no surprise then that the world of smart gadgets has become the Alexa Show with the release of Amazon’s new Echo Show. So what’s the big deal with the Echo Show and all these devices? And are they worth the money?
The new Echo Show takes Alexa away from a purely audio mode to a visual one. The device includes all the great features of the Echo and Alexa, adding a 7-inch touchscreen. Alexa started as one device for doing various tasks from your living room. Amazon has pushed the technology so that Alexa can be anywhere and everywhere: in the TV, the bedroom, car, office, and much more to come. The more Alexa devices you have in your home, the more she helps (or takes over) your life. With the Show, she can connect to security cameras, video chat, agendas, and any other functions where voice is not enough. She is still voice activated, of course, but now has new tricks up her sleeve...well, in her wires. Alexa AI doesn’t have sleeves….yet.
But Amazon in not alone in the Smart Home game. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and other smaller companies like Canary and Nest all have devices that help make your home a bit smarter. Amazon leads the market by over 70%, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best or worth its $230 price tag. It really depends on what other devices you have and what you are looking to accomplish with them. Some people like Google’s more conversational approach. Other people like that Alexa devices can connect with each other easily in many locations. Others are looking for cost-saving devices. They say that time is money. Hopefully, the device you choose really does save you time, increase your productivity, or give you the peace of mind you need to focus on other things. The following devices can all help you save money and could be worth the price.
A thermostat that saves you time and money by automatically adjusting to your schedule.
An alternative to the Echo Show, using Google’s search engine data to provide you with everything your home needs.
Security cameras that provide live feeds and alerts when they detect movement.
Wireless lighting that you can control from your phone.
Wireless audio system you can control from your phone.
A robotic vacuum that runs automatically and can be controlled with your phone.
Fans for your home that use sensors to adjust their speed and usage depending on your needs. They can work with other heating and cooling systems in your home to provide the perfect system.
Rachio uses weather reports and your settings to create the ideal sprinkler schedule, saving you up to 50% on watering costs.
The air conditioners gather information about your budget location, schedule, and other needs to make sure it only comes on when it is absolutely necessary.
Both devices help you use power more efficiently: Belkin for indoors and Jasco for outdoors. You can control what devices are on or off right from your phone.
These devices use our phone, fobs, or other wireless devices to unlock your door as you approach. No more fumbling for you keys when you are trying to get inside.
Have you been inspired to create your own smart home or did this scare you into thinking that the future is now and that one day your life will turn into a sci-fi/horror movie where your house tries to trap you inside? Well, if you weren’t thinking it before, now you are. Sorry about that. We don’t really think that will happen. Smart homes and devices really can help out a lot, even though buying them all can get a bit expensive. Hopefully, you'll find the devices for your home, whether they are the Echo Show and Alexa or something else. Are they worth all the hype? Just depends on what your needs are and what your budget it is. The bottom line is that these devices are pretty cool and innovative. And we are sure there will be many more of them. Just don’t let your new smart home outsmart you.