We’ve all seen movie wherein houses and workplaces are all voice-controlled. Take Inronman Tony Stark’s laboratory for example. Other than Jarvis, everything else “smart” around his house is voice controlled. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have the same technology in our own homes? Well, now we can.
Amazon Alexa is now officially working with Logitech’s Harmony but to give you control over your smart devices at home—by using you voice! The integration of this tech allows users to turn on their TVs, adjust the volume, activate a TV app like Netflix, control DVRs and listen to music by simply using voice commands as long as your devices are connected through the Harmony Hub or the Harmony Elite remote. Initially, this device is only available in the United States, it will still be arriving in the U.K. soon.
Voice control is already available for other Smart TVs and AV devices from other manufacturers. So what makes this different? Logitech Harmony Hubs woks with just about EVERY home entertainment device, even other smart home products. This makes getting voice commands to your home entertainment system as simple as it can get.
To be able to activate Alexa’s new skill for Logitech Harmony devices, you have to open the Alexa app and go to “Smart Home” at the main menu. Then go to “Get More for Smart Home Skills. There, you will be able to manually search for “Harmony—Optimized for Smart Home” and enable this skill. After these simple steps, you’ll be able to do voice commands such as “Alexa, turn on the TV.”, “Alexa, turn on the PS4”, or even “Alexa, turn on Netflix.” You won’t have to lift a finger. This can be especially useful if you have your hands full with other activities.
The awesomeness of this tech doesn’t end there. Logitech’s Harmony hubs let you pre-configure and define a set of actions for a certain activity you want to set. For example, every morning on a Sunday, you activate your smart blinds, and listen to the radio on your smart speakers. Or maybe every Friday evening, you have a group movie date with friends and family, so you dim your lights and turn on your TV and DVR. Or every morning you simply want to listen to music at your Sonos speakers with the lights off. So what you’re going to do is, you set these actions on Harmony, and control all these in a single voice command, like “Alexa, turn on my Sunday morning activity”.
According to Renee Niemi, the general manager of the smart home business at Logitech, “This new capability is both practical and fun for our users. We’ve been working closely with Amazon to deliver robust voice control of your smart home using a Harmony hub-based remote and an Alexa-enabled device — and if you don’t have Harmony yet, just say ‘Alexa, order a Harmony Hub’ and have one delivered.”
Having such technology in our homes may make people think that it induces laziness, but think about it. There are a lot of people who have their hands full at home. Like full-time mothers who are balancing cooking, with cleaning, and caring for their kids all at the same time who just want a bit of music, or simply want to dim the lights so they won’t disturb their sleeping kids. Or artists or workers at their workstation who would rather not touch their devices due to dirty of greasy hands. This technology would be a great help for many people. The possibilities for the applications for this tech are endless.