When a new tech idea is developed, it’s hard to know how the general public will react. Augmented Reality is an example of a tech idea that was predicted to take off in a huge way, but has so far failed to make a big impression in the market.
Voice services, on the other hand, have been wildly popular, and not only with tech enthusiasts. The elderly, people with disabilities, people who are away from home often, and energy conscious home owners have raced to adopt smart home features. Telstra have established themselves as a leader in smart home tech, and the latest inclusion of Amazon’s Alexa gives customers even more options.
Telstra Smart Home
Telstra’s Smart Home tech is a forerunner of Internet of Things capability in Australia, connecting appliances such as light switches to a central control.
Telstra currently has two smart starter kits available, with other optional tech. The first is a security pack called the “Watch and Monitor Kit” that has smart features to help protect your home. The Telstra security kit comes with a Telstra Smart Home Hub, a Wi-Fi camera and 2 door or window sensors. The devices are controlled via an app on your phone, and there are a range of features to protect your home.
The other starter kit is the “Automation and Energy Kit”, containing a Smart Home hub, 2 door or window sensors, a wide beam motion sensor, and 2 smart power plugs. By using an app, customers can remotely activate or turn off devices, monitor electricity usage in real time, and set lights to go on and off when people enter or leave a room.
Telstra also offer a choice of smart speaker for the home. Smart speakers are voice-activated devices that are connected to the internet, and can be connected to other smart devices around the home. Google Home Mini has been around for some time, but the newest option for Telstra customers is the long-awaited Amazon Alexa.
Amazon’s Alexa has been available for some time in the States, but is relatively new to Australia. The Amazon Alexa works off voice activated commands, allowing you to get information and accomplish simple tasks by voice alone. You can ask questions, check the weather forecast, play music, check your calendar, and many more tasks.
The voice service is delivered on devices such as Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot, which form a central hub to access Alexa’s help with daily tasks. Alexa even comes with an Australian accent to make customers down under feel more at ease. The Echo Dot uses beamforming technology and noise cancellation along with seven microphones to hear voice commands, even when there is background noise such as music playing.
Google Home is also available to customers, using Google for information services and featuring slightly different technology such as being able to distinguish between up to 6 voices to give personalised information. Customers can choose the best voice assistant based on personal preference.
Homes of the Future
There are many reasons that customers choose to have a smart speaker in their home, including the convenience of voice-activated help with recipes or scheduling tasks, the quality of the speakers when playing music, and easy-to-access information whenever it’s required.Connecting these speakers to the Telstra Home hub, the smartphone app, and the range of smart home devices takes them from a handy accessory to a central point for the whole house.
The Telstra Home hub has been the key to creating a smart home, instead of a range of smart devices that need separate apps to control them. The Telstra Home hub is a neutral centre point that can bring together devices from different makes and brands, in order to connect them with each other. But while the hub might be the heart of the smart home, smart speakers are what seem to appeal to customers. Telstra studies have shown that people with Google Home or similar use their smart home tech around 4 times more than people who do not have a voice assistant connected.
It’s getting harder to talk about the Internet of Things and smart homes as future concepts, with companies like Telstra bringing this technology into homes around Australia. The real question now is what further innovations might be possible in the future.