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What is a smart speaker?

A smart speaker is a voice-activated device, within which is a virtual assistant that helps you with everyday tasks. For example, Amazon’s smart speakers use an assistant called Alexa and when you ask questions such as ‘what is the weather like on Sunday?’, she will respond. 

A smart speaker also typically has a number of other features including playing music, making notes of appointments and controlling other smart home devices in the house. The latter allows you to turn on lights or adjust the thermostat with a simple voice command. Check the latest range of Bluetooth speakers in Botswana.

How do smart speakers work?

The crucial element of a smart speaker is an intelligent virtual assistant and its ability to recognize and respond to voices. The speaker has to understand what you are saying or all the additional features like setting reminders and scheduling appointments won’t work.

Most brands have their own voice recognition technology; Amazon has Alexa, Google has Google Assistant and Apple has Siri. While each virtual assistant has a different name, they are all “woken up” by the user saying their name (i.e. Hey Siri).

Once awake, the speaker will listen to your question, feed it through the system and respond. The virtual assistant will also learn the more you talk so that it can make better sense of your accent and vocabulary over time and give you better answers.

There are then manufacturers such as Bose and Sonos who rely on others’ virtual assistants. For example, both of these have Google Assistant and Alexa built into their speakers to give their consumers a choice.

It can be important to consider which virtual assistant your smart speaker uses if you intend to pair it with other devices because some smart home products only work with either Alexa or Google Assistant.