CEDIA Expo 2016: Voice Control is Coming to Crestron
CEDIA Expo is the custom electronics industry trade show which is held every year in September. I attend every year to catch up on industry trends and see the new products in person. This year seems to be the year of voice control integration.
We have had silos of voice integration with Siri, Google, and Amazon, and even a few voice-activated remotes with Roku and Comcast, but none of these have proved terribly capable or useful. This is beginning to change.
The Amazon Echo has been particularly adept at recognizing and interpreting speech, even in noisy environments or at a distance, but doesn’t actually do a lot. When combined with services such as IFTTT, the possibilities increase, but home automation integration is limited to pre-defined specific phrases such as, “Alexa, trigger lights off.”
Of particular interest this year is the announcement of Crestron integration with the Amazon Echo. Insiders tell me the first capabilities will become available in November and will include much deeper capability. Rather than simple pre-defined phrases, the Crestron interface will implement much of Amazon’s home automation skill. Hence, a variety of capabilities will be available right up front and the integration will be much easier to implement for programmers (meaning lower cost to the end customer).
For example, phrases like “Alexa, it’s cold in here” will produce useful results. Although I haven’t seen the software yet, the possibilities are exciting. So if you are a Crestron user, it will soon be time to begin thinking about getting an Echo or Echo Dot and communicating with your programmer about some updates.