November 26, 2013
We’ve all seen shows and movies where the characters give voice commands to computers, and voila–doors open, screens lower, or lights turn on. Those ideas and concepts are far-fetched, right? Not anymore. That technology is now becoming available to the masses. We can now control dozens of features in our homes using simple voice commands. Just like Siri for the iPhone, devices like the VoicePod, and systems like HAL, can control nearly every aspect of your home while having a “conversation” with you. Here, I explore how VoicePod and HAL can make your life easier.
VoicePod by HouseLogix
The Pennsylvania-based company, HouseLogix, which creates products for the automation industry, has recently unveiled a wireless voice-controlled device called VoicePod. It (along with the Control4 software installed in your home) gives you control over your lighting, entertainment devices, home alarm systems, blinds, and much more, by using only your voice. You read correctly; you can control your home by simply stating phrases like “make the lights bright,” or “what is the house status?” The device will turn your lights on for you, without you having to lift a finger. When asked about the house status, it can tell you if the doors have been locked or a door has been opened.
One of the coolest features of this device is that you can program it to perform tasks automatically, depending on the time of day. Let’s say you want to program your system to help you get up in the morning. Easy–it can turn on your light, your radio, and power up your coffee maker. Alternatively, you can say, “Goodnight VoicePod,” and all the settings for “bed-time” are activated, and you can hit that snooze button for an extra fifteen.
HAL is the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Just kidding; it actually stands for Home Automated Living. Created in the 90s, the system—like VoicePod—controls your home using your voice commands. However, it does work quite differently. Unlike the VoicePod, HAL uses microphones connected to the system or any telephone in the home.
It uses your existing PC or Home Server and the electrical wiring inside your home’s walls. Because there are no new cables needed, it’s easy and inexpensive to install.
Once you have it set up in your home, you can easily give it commands and begin controlling your home. All you have to do is pick up any phone in the home, press the # key, and speak to it. Just like the VoicePod, you can use simple language like, “close the garage door,” “dim the lights,” and “turn the thermostat to 65 degrees.” Just as easy as that, you can control your home without getting up from your cozy couch while watching a movie.
If you thought this technology is a thing of the future, think again. These systems are out there and at our reach. We are now the characters from those Sci-Fi shows and movies. We’re living in a smart world; isn’t it time for you to dive in?
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