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Smart Speakers in USA & UK

Have you heard of smart speakers? Do you know what they are and what their functions are? We tell you everything you need to know about them
In the event that it has not yet arrived, a new 'intelligent being' will soon live in your home with speaker form and functions but with a microphone as the main protagonist. Indeed, this new gadget emits all kinds of sounds, voice, and music but, mainly, it listens to you to understand and answer your help requests, solve your doubts and follow your orders. The smart speaker is called to be the nerve center of your home.

What are smart speakers?

It is a new concept of gadgets that can emit music, yes, but its main vocation is to listen to you to meet your requests, which can be of any kind. Its technological heart is a computer program, the virtual assistant, capable of understanding your way of expressing yourself and pronouncing words naturally. For this, part of a knowledge base that adds to very complex algorithms based on continuous training technology: learn from your tastes, habits, and hobbies, as well as your domestic and family ecosystem.
The main virtual assistants today are Alexa (Amazon), Google Assistant, Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft) and Bixby (Samsung). Less the first, you already know the rest by its active presence in smartphones and computers long before its integration into a speaker (Alexa is also found in locks, cars, lighting systems, etc.).
The idea is that the same thing you ask Siri or Google on your mobile, do it at home through that speaker that chairs the room, throwing a question or order on the air, but to which you can also order daily tasks in relation to appliances, comfort, etc. It is the paradigm of the connected house that obeys you through your voice and a speaker.

Smart Speakers in USA and Canada

These Bluetooth speakers have a voice recognition interface capable of analyzing and responding to your commands. Rather than syncing your phone to your stereo, you can directly ask it to take action. The most common possibilities include:

  • Play a song or the radio;

  • Add items to a list;

  • Set a timer;

  • Make a call in hands-free mode;

  • Control other smart devices;

  • And even ask to be told a joke!

     

Alexa Echo Setup - Download Alexa App

The Amazon Echo family consists of several products, each with the Alexa digital assistant at your disposal. They start with the small and economical Amazon Echo Dot and then go up in size, audio quality and price.
Some devices with Alexa technology also have screens, and some non-Amazon products also have Alexa built-in.
No matter what Amazon Echo device you have, configuring them is a similar process.

1. Plug the Amazon Echo into the wall. You will see that a blue ring begins to circulate around the top of the speaker.
In about a minute, you'll hear Alexa say "hello," and then tell you to open the Alexa app to complete the setup.

2. Download the Alexa application. If you have not already done so, download the Alexa application on your smartphone or tablet.
Once you open the application, it will ask you to configure your device. If you are not prompted, touch the Devices icon in the lower right corner of the application to follow the instructions, which include connecting to your Wi-Fi network, which is required only once.
You can also start the configuration process from your computer's browser at alexa.amazon.com
It is optional, but you can connect your small smart speaker to a larger one if you want a better sound. You can do it wirelessly, via Bluetooth, in the Device Settings of the application or with an auxiliary cable.

3. Start talking. To use your Alexa device, "wake her up" by saying her name.
You will hear a bell and see the activated blue ring. Now you can ask him a question or give him a command.
If you already have a family member or a pet with the Alexa name, you can change the "activation word" on your device by choosing another one - such as Amazon, Computer or Echo - in the App's Device Settings. You can talk fast, but try to do it clearly.  
Touch the buttons at the top of the Echo to play and pause music or adjust the volume.

4. Train Alexa if necessary. This is optional but very useful, especially if you have an accent.
In the Alexa app, go to Settings | Accounts | Your voice. Press Start to start the Alexa training process to recognize your voice.
Alexa can also guide you verbally through the steps. In addition, you can train Alexa to recognize different voices in your home through the application, go to Settings | Alexa account | Recognized voices.
In this way, your smart speaker knows that it is you and not, say, your partner, and will give you personalized information, such as music, calendar entries, etc.

Professional advice

In the Device configuration of the Alexa application, you can enable Tracking Mode, which means you can ask Alexa follow-up questions without repeating the activation word.
For example, that will allow you to say something like: "Alexa, touch Michael Bublé", and then you say: "for", instead of: "Alexa, for". Or: "Alexa, how's the weather in Miami?", And after hearing the answer, you can ask him a follow-up question, such as: "How will it be tomorrow?"
Finally, you can start linking your favorite services to Alexa within the application, such as Spotify, for music; add some "skills" (non-Alexa services and games); or make Alexa talk to other compatible devices, such as smart lights.
If you don't want Alexa to be heard forever, remember that each Amazon Echo has a mute button that has a circle with a line or microphone icon on the top of the speaker. The smart speaker light ring will turn solid red when the microphone is off, and you can press the mute button again to activate the sound.

Smart Speaker Setup

Apple HomePod

Amazon Echo has Alexa, Google Home speakers have Google Assistant, and Apple HomePod works with Siri, the digital assistant on your iPhone since 2011.
As with your iPhone or iPad, you can talk to Siri through a smart HomePod speaker.
To start it up:
1. Connect it. Simply plug the HomePod into the wall and wait a moment.
The colored lights will begin to rotate on the top of the speaker as it starts. When you are ready to set up, you will hear a sound coming out of the speaker.
2. Take your iPhone or iPad. Bring your Apple iOS device to the HomePod. You will hear a bell and see a picture of the HomePod on your mobile device.
You do not need to install an application because you already have it on your iOS device. If your iPhone or iPad does not recognize the speaker automatically, make sure your Bluetooth is turned on and that you are connected to your Wi-Fi network.
3. Touch "Configure" on your iPhone or iPad. Touch the word Configure and, in the list of options, select in which room of your home the HomePod is located.
Touch Continue. You will have the option to sign up for Apple Music, a music streaming service that offers the first month for free.
If you want your HomePod to read and send messages, make calls, check your calendar and more, when your iPhone is close, select Make personal requests.
4. Place your device on the HomePod. After accepting the terms and conditions, it will ask you to hold your iPhone or iPad on the HomePod and you will hear some chimes.
After a while, Siri will tell you that the HomePod is ready.
5. Optimize the sound. Place your HomePod on a solid surface, anywhere in the room.
Make sure it is 6 to 12 inches away from any wall or corner with at least 6 inches of space around, Apple suggests. The HomePod detects where the acoustics are placed and analyzed automatically in the room, directing the music in the optimal direction.
6. Talk to your HomePod. Say: "Hey, Siri," every time you want to activate your smart speaker, followed by a question or command.
This is very similar to the experience with Amazon and Google, and you don't need your iOS device to be present to use Siri to ask questions, control your home or play music. As with Amazon and Google, touch the top of the HomePod to play, pause or adjust the volume.
You can also use the Home application or the Control Center on any iOS device or Mac computer to modify HomePod settings, including voice recognition for multiple users, or to control music playback.
Note: the top of the HomePod has no mute button, but you can temporarily disable it through the application or say: "Hey, Siri, stop listening." Touch the button above and indicate: "Hey, Siri, start listening", so that the HomePod will listen again.