Tag Archive for: Voice control

Do you have a Philips Dynalite lighting control system at home or in the office?

We have just completed a beautiful two way driver which gives you the ability to control your Dynalite system via touchscreen, app control, Siri or Alexa and can also control your AV equipment.

Philips Dynalite

Dynalite has been a very popular system over the past 30 years made its way into many commercial buildings, venues and large houses.  While Dynalite has been extremely robust and reliable it never seemed to get there in terms of intuitive touchscreen design, convenient app control, AV integration or voice control.

If you have a Philips or Signify Dynalite system at your home or office and would like to put a stunning new user interface on the front end complete with smart phone and tablet control that works while on or off site click here to get in touch or phone 09 377 3778 to talk to one of our friendly experts today.

Simplify Life.

The once gimmicky voice control is making technological leaps and bounds and global purchases of voice control devices grew by close to 30% in 2019 due partly in response to COVID-19 as a way to avoid contact with high-touch surfaces such as smartphones, TV remotes, light switches and thermostats.  Lower touch of keypads through voice control has positive health benefits in both residential, commercial and public applications.

As more computing power and better back-end AI is available to voice control products we are spending less time swearing at Siri as she gets better at delivering what we want the first time.  Siri is now at a point where she is more useful than annoying and can send a text message in less time than it takes to unlock your phone, find the recipient and type your message.  Super handy if you need two hands on the steering wheel at the time.

Give it a go now – say “hey Siri, send an email to alex at aa dot net dot nz” make the subject voice control and let me know if it works for you.

There is a multitude of voice control platforms such as Apple’s Siri on your iPhone, Google Assistant for Android, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon Alexa and Atmos Control which can be used to control your devices and smart home, find information online, control your music, heating, lights; play content, run timers, send messages, open apps on your phone, read your notifications to you, connect to security cameras to see who is at your front door, adjust motorised blinds and unlock/lock the front door.  Voice control is also being added to other devices such as remote controls and microwave ovens.

Voice control can be a nice addition if you have an existing home automation system.  If you have a Vantage home automation system we can add voice control to your scenes.  Click here to learn more.

Or for basic voice interaction we can help you with an Alexa installation.  Click here if you’d like to learn more.

There are smart things happening with voice control such as continued conversation without needing to use the trigger phrase all the time, recognition of voice profiles for different people so the device knows who is talking to it, and the ability to ask for multiple things at the same time.  Devices gaining an understanding of context is giving voice control a lot more power to deliver the results we want so it will be interesting to watch this space to see how voice control further evolves and develops.

Interested to see if this is right for you? Our friendly experts are free to chat. Call 09 377 3778 or email advice @aa.net.nz

Interested to know how far the technology has come?  Read what we were saying about Voice Control in 2017 here.

Simplify life.

Voice control has been around for 20 years, but it’s always been frustrating to use.  I wish it would hurry up and work because there’s some stuff I need it to do.

Back in the days when your car ignition key actually went into your ignition at least you always knew where your remote control fob was. Now your car keys can be anywhere from your back pocket to under the potting mix in the boot.

I open my gate and garage door with the Vantage app on my phone, but it requires briefly looking at my phone while driving and that’s something I’d rather avoid, especially since the nice old lady at the end of the street has a disturbing habit of backing out of her driveway before stopping across the middle of the road to see if anyone is coming. What I really want is to be able to talk to my car and ask him/her/it(?) to open my gate.

My first brief experience with Voice Recognition was around 15 years ago “Voice Control your home with ‘HAL’ for only $10,000” the signs read.

Brendon “Lights on”
HAL “I’m sorry, can you repeat that”
Brendon “Liiights on”
HAL “I’m sorry can you repeat that”
Brendon “Liiiightttsss Ooonnn”
HAL “Opening Front Door”

Yeah, nah.

A few years later and I was working with a product called Dragon Naturally Speaking.  It was a dictation system that I was integrating for a wheelchair bound motor neuron patient to give him control of his home, turn on lights, change the sky channel and most specifically the ability to lock and unlock his front door to keep his troublesome sister out.  The system cost around $1,000 from memory and after a solid 8 hours of training had an accuracy of around 60%.  After another day it was at around 63%.

About 5 years ago Siri turned up on iPhones.  It was free, and terrible.  I found that if you talked with a strangled American accent you would get the odd win but it wasn’t worth the hassle.  It was at this time that the phrase “Shut-up Siri” entered our lexicon that something radical also changed; the processing was not done locally on the device (which had to be made as cheaply as possible), instead it was sent to a data centre in Singapore and processed on a supercomputer worth more than all the European cars in Omaha on New Years Eve combined.

Fast forward to August 2016 and “Alexa” from Amazon arrived in our office, snuck into the country by faking a US account. I spent an afternoon chatting with her and I have to say she was pretty good, with accuracy around 85%. Then something interesting happened.  About two months later when talking to her again, the accuracy was vastly better, well over 90% and I believe this is a direct result of the AI work Amazon are doing behind the scenes, plowing cash into a system that at the end of the day is a front end for their massive online retail operation (yes the same Amazon who are now buying fruit and vegetable shops).

So, when will I be able to talk to my AI and get him/her/it to repeatably do something useful?  At the current rate of improvement, I would say you will be able to order two bottles of Blue Powerade and packet of Nurofen from Alexa by voice only on New Years day 2018.

In the meantime if you are still rooting around under the potting mix for your keys and want a slick way of opening the gate and garage door, take a look at the ceiling of your car next to the rear view mirror and if you see three home link buttons up there give me a call – I have a secret to tell you.

Alexa, where did I put my keys…

Brendon Reid is the Managing Director at Automation Associates.  He and his team of friendly consultants are experts in their field and are happy to talk tech’ any time.  If you have questions about technology for your home or business, then call Automation Associates on 09 377 3778 or email sales@aa.net.nz