Choosing a voice assistant
Choosing a voice assistant
What's coming up
This activity will explain what we mean when we talk about the brand of a smart home device such as a smart speaker. While brand can refer to the manufacturer of the speaker, it’s more important to look at what voice assistant the speaker works with. So in a way, you’re not just selecting a brand but choosing a voice assistant when purchasing your smart speaker.Start activity
Works with a voice assistant
Every smart speaker works with one or more brands of voice assistant. A Voice Assistant is the software that understands your voice commands and uses the speaker’s Wi-Fi connection to carry out the tasks you ask of it.
Look for the "Works with..." label
On the packaging of the smart speaker, look for a label that starts with Works with...
- A speaker that works with Google will say Works with Google Assistant.
- One that works with Alexa will say Works with Amazon Alexa.
- The label will also include a logo for that brand.
Some speakers will have more than one Works with... label. This means it works with more than one Voice Assistant and you can choose which one to use by downloading its app onto your mobile device.
Two main Voice Assistant brands
There are two popular brands of Voice Assistant for smart speakers: The Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.
Apple has an assistant for mobile devices called Siri. Siri works with some speakers but it can be tricky to know which offer full Siri functionality. A Siri speaker will have Works with Apple HomeKit written on it.
There are voice assistants from Microsoft, Samsung, and other brands too, but they work on only a limited number of smart speakers and smart devices.
What does choosing a voice assistant mean?
The voice assistant you choose will affect which devices will work with your smart speaker. Fortunately, many smart speakers work with more than once voice assistant… but others do not.
If you want your smart speaker to work with other smart devices in your home, such as switches, lights and a TV, it’s important to check they have the same Works with... label.
Different voice assistant brands aren’t compatible with each other. A smart speaker that uses Google Assistant, for example, won’t work with a smart TV that uses Amazon Alexa, or smart lights that use Siri and Apple HomeKit.
It's all about compatibility
The good news is that choosing a voice assistant - for example, Amazon’s Alexa - does not mean you have to buy only Amazon-brand devices. You just need to buy devices that have a Works with Amazon Alexa label.
This is the end of the Choosing a voice assistant activity. You’ve learned that choosing a smart home brand really means choosing a voice assistant such as Google or Alexa.
The next activity, Introducing Google Home, takes a look at how to set up a smart speaker on your home Wi-Fi.