“Smart” column (smart led) — the plain speaker systems that connect to the Internet and other “smart” devices over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or NFC. In addition to the speakers, they contain a processor, and microphones. For example, smart HomePod column runs on Apple A8 processor as in the iPhone 6. Controlled via voice commands: HomePod installed program-assistant Siri, and the models of other companies — Google Assistant, Bixby or their analogues. Users of smart-column “Yandex. Station” talks Alice — voice assistant built into the gadget. The column of “Yandex” was the first device that supports the Russian language.

Developing its own voice assistant beginning Mail.ru Group. Working title — “Marusya”. Also, according to media reports, the company is working on device column, in the Mail.ru this Group has not yet commented.

Not just for the music

The main purpose of “smart” speakers do play music, they turn to streaming music services like Apple Music.

Even such a device can ask about weather, traffic, latest news, on command it will set the alarm, order food, read an email, send a message to your friend, tell your child a story, and adults — joke.

The most popular speakers — Amazon Echo and Google Home — you can still install something like a application with dialog interfaces. Imagine a stationary smartphone without a SIM card and the usual screen, but with powerful speakers, in fact this is the “smart” column. It is believed that “Yandex. Station” is similar in functionality to Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Than the “smart” column in better smartphone

A smartphone is a handy thing, but to ask aloud, in theory, easier than to print a query on the keyboard, especially if your hands are busy or the phone rings in the jacket. According to NPR and Edison Research, by the end of 2017 “smart” column appeared every sixth American over the age of 18. Growth of 128% since the beginning of the year. At the time, so quickly do not survive even smartphones and tablets. Half of the owners of “smart” speakers use them constantly, two-thirds want to have this thing in the car, and nearly 40% by purchasing a column, going to buy another one.

The second column need to assemble a stereo system or to control other smart devices from anywhere in the house. And you can control there than in the shops already sold “clever” switch sockets, thermostats, door locks, salt shakers, egg trays, wine bottles with the touch screen. The problem is that smart devices differing and often awkward interfaces, and they work, usually “unaware” of the existence of each other. “Smart” column serves as a universal voice remote for all this technology, and binds it into a single system. At least in theory.

And the “smart” column has spots

The device that controls so many things in the house should be safe, and this part to the “smart” columns have questions. The helper program is always waiting for the team and listens to what is happening around, and the queries are processed on the servers of companies that are not considered with the right to privacy. Yet these programs do not distinguish between voice or do it with errors, so random guest, child, or even Joker YouTube can control the column and, for example, listen to the letter.

Also you can get access by cracking a home Network or the e-mail attached to the device. Make it difficult, the new model more reliable than the old, but will present a clicking front door in the middle of the night, the truth becomes uncomfortable. There are other pitfalls.

For example, some producers and sellers can cheat by calling the “smart” column, which just has Bluetooth and no voice assistant machine learning. To avoid the error, look at the box: if it says the word Voice-Activated, examples of commands or names of programs-assistants, you smart speaker. To be sure, check the specifications of the device from the seller, or the web.

What must be ready for Russian buyers of “smart” speakers

“Yandex. Station” is the only column able to speak with users in the Russian language. HomePod from Apple yet understand only the English language (albeit in three versions — British, American and Australian). Voice assistants in Home Google and Amazon Echo, too, do not understand Russian language. And make out whether they are your focus — one more question. But it is bad.

Secondly, voice assistants far from Scarlett Johansson in the movie “It”. Natural language they understand through time, teams need to learn, but if the developers don’t care about voice commands, not the fact that to use their site or service will be convenient.

Thirdly, the dream of a smart house may remain a dream if the column is incompatible with other smart devices. Before purchase it is better to check the manufacturers ‘ websites.

Marat Kushaev, Anastasia Stepanova

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