Fifteen years ago, the concept of a “virtual voice assistant” was most often associated with futurological fighters and anti-utopias about a high-tech future. Nevertheless, over the past few years, voice assistants have firmly entered our everyday life. Today Now it is the future of voice assistants, you will not surprise anyone by a quick search and execution of simple commands on any (not even the most modern) smartphone using the “ok Google” command. In addition to the Google Voice Assistant, there are a number of other assistants who can remotely control your smart home. Among the best offers in our opinion, we note Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon Echo, and the famous Alice from Yandex. And this is not the whole list. As part of this article, we will try to provide a detailed overview of virtual assistants that deserve consumer interest. So let’s get started.
Table of Contents
How do Voice Assistants Work
Everyone has long been aware of what the voice assistants does, but few know how he does it. Some helpers start recognizing during the pronunciation of a certain phrase, for example, as “Ok Google“, after which you voice the desired request.
After processing the user’s request using voice recognition, it is time to get information related to the question. Voice assistants do this by gaining access to the so-called knowledge base, which serves as a central repository for extracting information.
Natural language processing helps the machine understand exactly what it just heard. Then, information, for example, on the price of creating a business card website , is extracted from various sources. The final product is an answer that, hopefully, will satisfy the user’s request. You can make voice assistant comparison.
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Best Voice Assistants For Smart Home
- Google Home (Google Voice Assistant)
- Amazon Echo (Alexa)
- Mobvoi TicHome Mini (Google assistant)
- AliGenie Voice Assistant
- Yandex Voice Assistant (Hello, Alice)
- Xiaomi Voice Assistant (Xiao Ai)
- Baidu Voice Assistant (DuerOS and Deep Voice)
- iFlytek Voice Assistant (Super Brain Project)
- Tencent cloud
- Rokid melody
10 Best Voice Assistants For Smart Home
Google Home (Google Voice Assistant)
Do not be surprised, smartphones running on the Android platform are not a pioneer in the list of devices that meet the key characteristics of voice assistants. Despite the fact that the system for the “smart home” Google Smart Home was introduced not long ago, today this ecosystem has beaten three of the leaders in the market of revolutionary technologies in the framework of the concept of the Internet of things.
The column is assigned a famous assistant – Google Assistant, which controls all the devices integrated into the smart home system. The device gets along well with Philips Hue, SmartThings and Nest gadgets. As new products enter the market, Google is gradually expanding its list of “friends”.
The main trump cards of Google Home is the excellent integration of the device with popular services including YouTube, Google maps, Play Music, which allows the “smart” speaker to maximize its full potential. This column has proven itself as a multimedia system. Music and video can be redirected, for example, to your audio system without wires, for this you need the Google Home column and silent skills.
The assistant copes with reminders and can get any information from web resources. But he still does not know how to answer letters, call or create events on the calendar himself. Although the release of an improved version of the column with the revolutionary capabilities of a friendly assistant has already been announced.
A smart device can answer all user questions and execute some commands. So, for example, Google Assistant will tell you about the current weather, tell you the recipe for cooking the right dish, or turn off the lights in a room. He will also check all electrical appliances for their connection to the mains. Of course, all this is possible only if they are included in the “smart home” system. With such an assistant, you can completely plan your day, and the device will remind you of the list of tasks you set just at the time that you indicated.
In order to ensure optimal functioning of the device and the assistant has reached its full potential, you need a mobile device running Android 4.1 or newer versions, to download and install google assistant apk as well as iOS 8.0 and higher.
Amazon Echo (Alexa)
The Amazon Echo Smart Assistant appeared in the winter of 2014 and was available only to Amazon Prime subscribers or specially invited members for some time. To the delight of consumers of smart devices, they did not begin to hide this virtual assistant for a long time, because the device showed really excellent results in the process of its work. In 2015, manufacturers changed the concept and put up a column for open sale, first in the United States.
Alex’s virtual assistant is able to answer simple questions and manage the “smart home” system. Using this technology, you can set a timer, an alarm clock, set reminders, and play music from the services available to it: Pandora, Spotify, and regular Amazon Music on any device. With the advent of a new voice assistant, the “smart” speaker learned to receive calls, dial numbers on its own, and also received a number of other major improvements. Echo Show is a new generation virtual assistant that can be used after updating the firmware. Such innovations make this smart system one of the best in recent years.
To reveal all the capabilities of the assistant, you can purchase a “smart” column Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo mini. Amazon Echo acts as a hub and is ready to manage Philips Hue smart lamps, SmartThings products, Nest thermostats, and many other devices and gadgets. Moreover, he is able to integrate a wide variety of options in devices.
Another significant upgrade to Amazon is the integrated ZigBee communication channel, which allows you to connect more than a hundred third-party smart gadgets without the need for a special hub.
A fairly simple setup and column management, support for various communication channels, a wide selection of options and an open ecosystem – all these characteristics allow Amazon Echo to successfully compete with the leading manufacturers of “smart home”. An extremely convenient option is the ability of the device to recognize and respond to the voices of different people, as well as the ability to create multiple recordings. This is a great solution for working within the “smart home” ecosystem for a small family of two to three people.
The functionality of Amazon Echo is striking in its new features. The company is trying to create an ecosystem that is able to combine several devices from different companies within one application. However, in fact, control over each of them is limited, which, in turn, can create certain problems during their operation.
Mobvoi TicHome Mini (Google assistant)
The TicHome Mini is another smart speaker that works through the already well-proven Google Assistant voice assistant. It is noteworthy that the functionality of the column is very similar to its closest competitor Amazon Echo Dot. This original combination allows this gadget to compete successfully with other digital assistants.
The Chinese company Mobvoi made another knight move. TicHome Mini can run on a rechargeable battery, which allows you to use this device portable without a direct connection to the mains.
The manufacturer took care of protection from water, so you can take the gadget with you to the bathroom. Of course, swimming with him will not work, but it is quite possible to put alongside and not be afraid of the effects of water splashes.
The capabilities of Google Assistant within this device remain unchanged. The voice assistant authenticates the owner’s voice and executes all specified commands. All settings and management is carried out through the use of the application.
The assistant is endowed with good sound, even considering the very small dimensions of the column itself. Therefore, it can be freely used outdoors, as well as a sound source for noisy parties.
You can buy such a column in the USA today, as well as by placing an order in an online store with subsequent delivery. The approximate price of such a gadget equipped with a “smart assistant” will be about $ 100.
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AliGenie Voice Assistant
The Chinese company AliGenie, famous thanks to the eminent AliExpress, in 2017 introduced the original module with a voice assistant for all to see. It is noteworthy that by the spring of 2018, more than 2 million “smart” speakers with this virtual assistant were sold out.
This is an order of magnitude cheaper than Amazon, Google, and other smart assistants. Although, you should pay tribute to the quality and functionality of the smart column AliGenie is not much inferior to its more eminent competitors. Unfortunately, far from all will be able to get acquainted with its capabilities, and an assistant understands only his native language. More precisely, the dialect of Chinese is Mandarin (putonghua). This assistant works on the AliGenie platform.
You can activate the gadget using the phrase “Tmall Genie”. The device executes standard commands, plays music, controls smart equipment and even replenishes the account of a mobile phone. In addition, the gadget can act as a multimedia system with relatively good sound.
With this virtual friend you can talk about the weather, build your day plan or purchase goods on the Tmall trading platform. In principle, such a device is a worthy replacement for expensive models.
Yandex Voice Assistant (Hello, Alice)
Voice assistant that needs no introduction. Alice is known to everyone who has a modern smartphone and Yandex assistant installed on the phone. Now Alice can be found in the “smart” column – the so-called Yandex station. In addition, the column as a whole recognizes emotions quite well, which is also a definite plus. She is playful, has her own character and can even be offended. Fortunately, she departs from insults very quickly, almost instantly. With its help, you can refine the weather forecast, find the necessary information on the Web, find out about traffic jams and get other information.
The Russian-speaking assistant answers all 100% of customer’s requests. Alice perfectly recognizes the context and is even ready for self-study. This is not often seen with foreign counterparts, so it is worth noting the good success of domestic developers.
Alice is a favorite of young couples who have children. She can be asked to read a fairy tale, play “words” or sing a song. True, the songs are original, for a lullaby at night such singing is unlikely to come down, it’s more for fun.
“Yandex. Station ”, led by Alice, so far can not control the“ smart ”technology, however, it will perfectly cope with the role of a home theater. If necessary, it is easily integrated with major online services. For example, KinoPoisk, Amediateka, “Yandex. Music” and ivi. The column with “smart” Alice is presented to the market in a limited edition.
Although, it is fair to admit that the device itself is still far from ideal. The sound reproduction quality leaves much to be desired, and it’s still not able to manage serious smart devices, as we already said. Although, on the other hand, the lack of such functionality for the Russian consumer may not be a big problem, as the domestic user is just starting to get used to the concept of “smart home” and its potential.
Xiaomi Voice Assistant (Xiao Ai)
The notorious Xiaomi company can often be seen on the leaderboards for the development of innovative technologies and digital devices. One of the most successful products of the company – the Xiaomi Mi Home system has become extremely popular in all markets.
For the voice column, the manufacturer developed his own assistant. The virtual assistant is Xiao Ai, designed specifically for Xiaomi smartphones. By basic characteristics, such an assistant may resemble Apple’s Siri. There are some similarities with another competitor – Google assistant.
The assistant from Xiaomi helps to manage the “smart home”, performs a wide variety of commands. But so far he is aiming at the Chinese public since he will not be able to speak “heart to heart” in multi-languages with him, so he will have to memorize certain commands.
Such a voice assistant is already preinstalled on the new flagship Mi Mix 2S and can be used to its full potential on many modern models of this company.
Whether it is planned to adapt this particular voice assistant to our consumers in the near future is still unknown. So far, it remains to be content with the built-in Google Assistant, which supports the company’s smart product.
Baidu Voice Assistant (DuerOS and Deep Voice)
Another technology giant from China is Baidu, which introduced its own voice assistant to the market. According to the manufacturer, today this assistant is installed in hundreds of millions of devices. DuerOS has a standard set of “skills”: set a timer, alarm clock, answer questions and order food. It is noteworthy that this is not the only voice assistant released from this company. More recently, Baidu introduced a truly interesting voice recognition technology called Deep Voice. She has artificial intelligence and demonstrates a system of imitation of the speaker’s speech. What exactly gave this opportunity, you can not guess right away.
This gadget device is a set of ready-made solutions, designed for installation in any smart speakers, “smart” washing machines, smartphones and refrigerators. Such a profitable and convenient ecosystem was liked by many manufacturers, so today more than 250 partners have signed an agreement with Baidu.
This voice assistant can be found in Xiaoyu Zaijia, Xiaodu Smart Speaker and some other devices. The company also collaborates with the manufacturer Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, with the subsequent integration of a voice assistant in the smartphones of these companies.
This feature allows not only reproducing the text, but also correcting various speech defects, simulating accents and analyzing speech synthesis. Speech recognition with these features is used in smart speakers, smart devices and navigators.
Developers in the near future intend to create reliable protection for this system. Therefore, this voice assistant is in the testing phase. When devices based on such technology will appear on the open market is not known for certain.
iFlytek Voice Assistant (Super Brain Project)
iFlytek (Super Brain Project) is one of the pioneers in the field of voice assistants. Today, iFlytek serves more than one million smart system users worldwide. Intelligent voice assistant was designed back in 1999. The purpose of the developers outlined as “teach cars to speak.” At that time, the company did not fully realize what an important step it took towards intelligent systems.
The voice assistant was based on the key points of the Super Brain Project. The device can hear, see and speak. The assistant is able to recognize the voice, assess the current state by the rate of speech and translate from language to language. By the way, the assistant does the translation with lightning speed, in any case, so the satisfied users of this device note in reviews.
Amazing technology began to be massively used in 2010. At the same time, the company is developing a system for voice input of text, immediately after Google. Not so long ago, iFlytek introduced to the world its first “smart” device with voice intelligence. iFlytek Translator perfectly understands 33 different languages and many Chinese dialects, translates text on images and photographs. It can work autonomously or using Wi-Fi or 4G. The assistant adapts to language types and different situations.
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About the voice assistants from this giant company from China can be heard among those who have ever used, i.e, WeChat (no less well-known analogue of WhatsApp).
Tencent Corporation itself is trying to create an ecosystem of incredible opportunities, taking with it Skype, Instagram, Facebook, GroupMe, iMessage and many other world-famous brands.
Using the voice assistant Tencent Cloud, without leaving the mobile application, you can organize a large-scale event, pay expenses. The company began to collaborate with other virtual assistants, creating a platform for new options.
It is noteworthy that Tencent is actively engaged in scientific developments in the field of medicine, pharmacology and successfully helps medical organizations. Tencent Cloud is declared as an intelligent assistant. Sharpened for work in the field of emergency care. Chinese Tencent Cloud users can complain to the assistant about feeling unwell and receive feedback with a detailed description of treatment methods. If necessary, the assistant is able to call an emergency carriage.
Note that this development is tailored to the Chinese market.
Voice assistant as a work of art. Rokid introduced a nice little thing, a bit like a futuristic toy – a device for the “smart home” Melody. This column is only at first glance funny and does not cause the feeling of a serious gadget. It acts as a controller, managing complex processes. And also in it is hidden a virtual assistant who is always ready to communicate with the user.
Playing music and completing errands is the assistant’s favorite pastime. Unfortunately, talking with a friendly interlocutor will turn out only in Chinese or English.
The assistant has an authentication option, so it always recognizes you without any problems. As soon as you approach the device, the sensor will notice you, and at that moment the microphone will be put into working condition.
According to market experts, this device has a truly unique design and extraordinary characteristics. It’s a joke, more than 50 million US dollars were allocated for the development of this gadget. It is noteworthy that Rokid created this assistant from scratch, without borrowing anything from anyone. And the result exceeded all expectations. The assistant perfectly understands sounds, knows how to “think out” sentences and interact with other external devices.
You can buy such a device while on the Chinese market for very decent money – 800 US dollars.
comparison between voice assistant analysis of devices
For comparison, below you can see a small table about all of the above voice assistants with their most important characteristics
|Voice assistant||Tongue||Smart Home Management||Speech Simulation and Recognition||Where to find|
|Google assistant||English, Chinese, available||Yes||Yes||Google smart home|
|Yandex. Alice||Russian||no, expected||Yes||Yandex|
|AliGenie||Chinese + dialects||Yes||Yes||AliGenie|
|Xiao Ai||Chinese||Yes||not||Xiaomi Mi Home|
|IFlytek||33 languages,||Yes, limited||Yes||IFlytek|
|Tencent cloud||Chinese||Yes||Yes||Tencent cloud|
What kind of voice assistant you will use in your home and which is the best voice assistant depends solely on the preferences of the homeowner. Fortunately, in the modern market of digital gadgets today you can choose an assistant to your taste and financial capabilities. The only limitation is the lack of Multi-languages and the local representation of some gadgets.