Buttons versus Voice in Personal and Home Automation

After using voice to manage your smart home. After the initial novelty wears off from bending your tech to your every whim and need Star Trek-style, you start to think; is this really the best way to control your entire smart home and automations setup?

In many ways, yes it is. In many scenarios, nothing can beat managing your smart home with your voice; when you’re hands are full, when you’re cooking, when your smartphone isn’t handy, or when you want a quick answer to a relatively obvious answer.

Then there’s the other scenarios where it seems voice just doesn’t work well. For more complex questions, for browsing and discovery, for slight variations to your automations or if there are multiple humans in your households, the ability for voice AI to intelligent decipher and execute effective commands from this can be less than perfect. Take adding multiple items to a shopping list. While adding . But saying “Hey Google” after every item (or every third or fourth item) can’t get very frustrating and feel like you’re turning into . (Don’t get us started if you want to use anything other than the native Google shopping list and then voice experience gets significantly worse).

Consider the Eve Button. It’s a simple physical button (just 1 button) that can be placed anywhere and integrated into your Apple Homekit set up. The button can be programmed in anyway you want under 3 scenarios; a single quick press, a double press and a longer press. Imagine using this, for example, to set up 3 different lighting scenarios for your living area (quick press for day, double press for night time and longer press for switching all off). Imagine the time you save by not having to teach the household all the different controls or trying to find the remote/console that controls all the lights.

So here’s our tips for when it perhaps maybe better to use a programmable button (or switch) instead of voice;

  • when you’re outside, where perhaps everyone in earshot doesn’t need to know what you’re adding to your shopping list
  • in ‘quiet’ areas of the house
  • for a specific set routine that you want quick access to (eg, setting the lights to a specific scenario)
  • when it’s perhaps a place you shouldn’t have your smartphone (ie, the bathroom!)

Using voice judiciously together with smart implementation of buttons, switches and tablets for deeper exploration will make your smart home smarter and more effective.

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