I have written before about how Siri could augment your home. However my idea was a stand alone speaker/microphone that would be always listening for commands. iOS 8 enables a do-it-yourself solution. Do you have an old iOS device laying around? Plug that sucker in and turn on 'Hey Siri' in the settings and you have an always-on beacon waiting for commands. Last night I was laying in bed and there was no clock so I said, "Hey Siri what time is it?" And got the answer. It was awesome. Right now it is just a minor convenience but imagine the possibilities with HomeKit and home automation:
- Walk in your door and say, "Hey Siri set the mood, I have company.”
- Wake up and say, "Hey Siri, how long is it until my alarm?" Without even opening your eyes. You curse the world and say, “Aargh fine, turn on the coffee maker, turn on the lights and open the blinds." The world greets you with its bright, cheery self and you hiss and recoil into the darkness. (Or maybe that's just me.)
It requires one of these devices:
- iPad 3 or newer
- iPhone 4s or newer
iPod Touch 5g
- Toggle 'Allow "Hey Siri"'
Plug the device in wherever you think you will use it most.
Say "Hey Siri, remind me to like the page that told me about this."
Using Old Devices To do this creates value for old devices
Many people have old iPhones or iPads sitting in drawers doing nothing. Maybe the battery died, maybe they became slow, or you gave in and bought the newest version. Whatever the reason you can now put them to work. My old 4s is currently being used by my sister but I may have to call it back in to the line up. However, everything hinges on hell well these old devices can pick up my voice. I could see it being a real issue if the mic can’t pick me up from across the room.
On the other hand Apple could offer Siri beacons for your home. It would be cool but another chunk of cash to shell out and a waste if your old devices could already do it. If you need to cover multiple rooms, or the mic in your old device just isn’t powerful enough to hear you from across the room, this could be a great addition to Apples line-up.
A virtual assistant is a much more powerful idea when it can always listen to us. We no longer need to interact with anything to do simple tasks and it will only get better. Privacy is a concern with an always listening device and people will need to decide if they trust the company on the other end of the server. Make a decision because always listening devices will become more prevalent in the coming years. Personally the day when we all have a J.A.R.V.I.S in our homes can't come soon enough.