If you don’t have a smart speaker (of some sort) by now, you’re living in the dark ages. I truly mean that. Even my mother finds them useful. I am not making that statement to sound like I’m shaming you. These devices are truly incredible and can do things to make your life easier and better in a lot of ways. Think about having the ability to simply say something out loud and then have it happen. Whether that’s turning on your lights, listening to your favorite playlist, or being able to control the temperature in your house. All of that (and more) can be done through your smart speaker.
If you’re a Verizon FiOS TV customer, then you will know their TV boxes haven’t exactly been on the cutting edge of technology, but now they are catching up, in one very major way. Which is – voice control. Verizon has quietly introduced an Alexa skill for its FiOS Video Media Server set-tops. What can you do with this? Well, you can change the channel (by name or number) and also manage the DVR playback with spoken commands. You’ll need Multi-Room DVR Enhanced or Premium service, but this makes life a little easier if you happen to have an Echo speaker (or any Alexa device) and would rather not find the remote buried between the couch cushions.
I am always saying that I like to see when technology benefits our lives. Sure, you’re probably thinking – all technology is beneficial in some way, and you’re right. But I am particularly fond of when technology makes a task or a process easier. I am all about efficiency, and if I’m being honest, I’m kind of a nerd in that regard. Which means, if I can change the channel on my TV using Alexa, I am all for it. Does this make me sound lazy? Absolutely, but it’s more about efficiency like I said. I mean, you can listen to music or podcasts through your Alexa device, and make changes through the system itself – so why not with other systems as well?
If I’m being completely honest (and I feel like I’m giving away too much), I’ve started “talking” to Alexa in my car. Just out of habit. Unfortunately, my vehicle doesn’t have Alexa in it, so I just look weird when I say “Alexa”, and wait for her to respond. All of that said, if you’re using Google Assistant, you’re not going to be able to get this to work. The fact that we are seeing more voice-controlled devices is what is important here. The more that these become integrated into other systems, the easier it will be to make your home “smart”. While there may be some drawbacks to it, I think it’s important for companies (like Google and Amazon) to ensure that these options are available in order to stay competitive.