Anyone old enough to remember first generation VCRs also remembers all the jokes that came with them. Among those jokes were the many poking fun at older people who couldn’t seem to get the hang of VCR programming. Alas, not much has changed in 30 years. There is still a pretty wide generation gap when it comes to technology.
Take smart home technology, for example. Seniors are less likely to have the knowledge and experience to manage smart home systems just as their predecessors had trouble with things like VCRs and programmable thermostats. The good news is that there is a workaround: voice control.
Introducing the Smart Speaker
Integrating voice control with smart home technology has been on the radar for quite a while. However, engineers could not make the jump from two independent technologies to one right away. Both had to be developed first. As such, the first voice-controlled devices brought to market were digital assistants, like Apple’s Siri.
Also known as voice assistants, digital assistants ultimately gave way to smart speakers. In fact, a smart speaker is essentially a digital assistant embedded in a dedicated device. Functionally speaking, it is identical to an embedded phone assistant.
The point of all of this is to say that smart speakers had to reach a certain level of maturity before they could be integrated with smart home technology. Now that such integration has begun, we are beginning to bridge the generation gap in the technology arena. We are bridging it by giving people the ability to control their smart home devices simply by speaking.
No New Skills Required
The beauty of voice control is that it does not require any special skills – at least after a smart speaker has been installed and sufficiently trained. Getting the weather forecast using a smart speaker does not require firing up a computer, starting a web browser, or navigating to a website. You get the forecast simply by asking for it.
Voice control takes a lot of the mystery out of using technology. Seniors can already speak. They already know how to ask questions and listen for answers. That makes voice control with something like a Vivint smart speaker extremely easy.
Granted, a minimum amount of technical know-how is necessary to set up a smart home system. Using a smart thermostat requires at least minimal programming to get things started. Once everything is set up though, routine tasks can be completed simply by speaking.
Making Lives More Comfortable
Bridging the generation gap in the technology arena is a good idea on multiple levels. Perhaps most important is the fact that it allows seniors to live more comfortable lives. For example, think of a senior with mobility issues living alone. Turning on the lights every evening can be a chore.
With a smart speaker and smart lighting, that senior can turn lights on simply by speaking a command. There is no need to get up and walk around the house. There is no need to take the risk of falling down. And when it’s time for bed, there is no need to walk through a dark house. The system can be set up so that the senior can speak a command to turn off all the lights once he or she is safely in bed.
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier. Some of it does; some of it does not. Voice-controlled smart speakers are an example of one technology that does make life easier by bridging the generation gap. Smart speakers make home automation accessible to people of any age.