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Smart Technology News Roundup: November

Underused voice assistants, smart clocks for your bedside table or wall, and the future of smart home automation – it’s all in this month’s roundup of tech news. 

Use your voice 

Do you have a smart speaker or voice assistant in your smart home set up? Chances are you probably do. New research from Code Computerlove has found that 70% of Brits are now using a voice assistant every single day, a stat which is up from just 40% in 2018. But, the study found that most of these people may be missing out on the more advanced features of their smart speakers, with the majority still using their voices just to play music, check the weather and listen to the latest news headlines. Only 1 in 10 people have even booked a taxi through a smart speaker, let alone used the powerful home automation features that are made possible by voice control, so the technology may have some way to go before it is truly ingrained in people’s everyday lives. For now, then: Alexa, play Purple Rain by Prince! 

Clocking up Christmas gift ideas 

They’ve been a feature in our homes long before smart tech made an appearance, but now the humble clock is getting an upgrade as more manufacturers release smart clocks just in time for the Christmas gift market. One of the more recent releases is the Lenovo Smart Clock, which looks set to corner the bedside table market with a range of features perfectly suited for bedroom use. Much more than just your bog standard alarm clock, the device offers all of the voice controls and UI you’d expect, including a Good Morning dashboard containing useful information for the day ahead. Meanwhile, Amazon is expanding its Echo Wall Clock range with the release of new Mickey Mouse-themed device. It’s currently unclear whether the clock will build on the features of the previous model, or whether we might even hear a new Mickey-style voice assistant built in, answering our requests for Spotify tracks and weather reports. 

Future for smart home tech predicted 

Most of us may only be scratching the surface of smart home tech at the moment – particularly when it comes to voice assistants in the home – but all of that is set to change, according to one expert. Speaking to IoT World Today ahead of his appearance at the Smart Home Summit in San Francisco, industry analyst Luis Zamudio pointed to the large number of products and services that already integrate with Alexa and Google Home and said that partnerships and integrations that make people’s lives easier will be key to driving uptake of smart home technology. “Usage amongst early adopters proves home automation can improve quality of life, making the technology more attractive to consumers who are currently wary of its benefits,” said Zamudio. “The next four years will bring rapid growth as consumers continue to learn about use cases for fully integrated smart homes.” 

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Nov 14 2019