Home Technology : Smart Home
VoicePod Voice-Activated Home Automation Interface Adds Convenience and Accessibility to Control4 Systems
If you didn’t make it by Control4’s booth at this year’s CEDIA Expo, you missed one of the show’s truly game changing new technologies. On the edge of the booth, bordering on the noise of the show traffic, HouseLogix was demoing perhaps the last technology you would want to try to operate in such a raucous environment: a little black box that adds Siri-like voice recognition functionality to Control4 home automation systems.
Even in the midst of that bedlam, VoicePod demonstrated an amazing knack not only for recognizing and responding to voice commands like, “Hello, VoicePod: lower temperature,” or “open shades,” or “listen to music,” but also responding with voice confirmation of the commands sent along to the Control4 processor wirelessly via ZigBee.
And that’s just a taste of its capabilities. When VoicePod ships early next year, it promises to deliver complete control over AV equipment, comfort, lighting, security, and cameras as well, along with so much more.
One of the things that sets VoicePod apart from the voice-recognition pack—in addition to its integration with home automation—is that instead of relying on internet service for voice decoding, all of VoicePod’s speech processing is internal. So not only is the response time incredibly fast, it also allows installers to set up custom voice commands and text-to-speech feedback, tailored specifically to the lifestyle of the homeowner. The microphone input and speaker output complementing the VoicePod’s internal microphone and speaker also greatly extend its range, or you can place one in every room for the utmost in voice coverage.
Even with the ubiquity of control interfaces around the connected home—from keypads on the wall to smart phones in every pocket—such devices still add at least a layer of disconnect between the user and the home automation system, so the convenience that VoicePod brings to the table obvious, as are the potential commercial and hospitality applications.
Perhaps the most exciting application is in the realm of accessibility, though. The relatively inexpensive VoicePod has the potential to change the lives, not just the lifestyles, of the elderly and the disabled. Imagine the benefits to the sight- or mobility-impaired, who will now be able to simply ask for a house status update and bedtime, and receive verbal confirmation that the doors are locked, the garage door is down, the security system is armed, and all of the shades are closed.
We really do live in the future.
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