Smart Speakers Seminar Report

If you thought that speakers were just for listening to music, it's time to think again.
A new battleground has emerged in the war for the "smart home". Web-connected speakers that not only play music but offer helpful information and obey spoken commands are jostling for a place in your living room.

What is a Smart Speaker?

A smart speaker is a type of wireless speaker and smart device that utilizes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other standards to extend usage beyond audio playback. This can include, but not be limited to, features such as compatibility across a number of services and platforms, peer-to-peer connection through mesh networking, intelligent personal assistants, and others. Each can have its own designated interface and features in-house, usually launched or controlled via application or home automation software.

The Big Rivals: Amazon Echo vs Google Home vs Apple Siri Speaker

Amazon Echo

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  • Amazon Echo (shortened and referred to as Echo) is a smart speaker developed by 
  • The device consists of a 9.25 inch (23.5 cm) tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece microphone array. 
  • The device connects to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, which responds to the name "Alexa". 
  • This "wake word" can be changed by the user to "Amazon", "Echo" or "Computer". 
  • The device is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other real time information. 
  • It can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation hub.

Amazon Echo Dot

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A hockey puck sized version of the Echo designed to be connected to external speakers due to size of the onboard speakers, or to be used in rooms such as the bedroom as an alternative to the full-sized Echo. The Amazon Echo Dot allows you to use all the same functions as the original Amazon Echo just in a smaller size.

Amazon Tap

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  • The Amazon Tap is a smaller portable version of the Echo with dual stereo speakers.
  • The Amazon Tap can do the same things as the Echo; however, it is battery powered so it is portable.
  • Initially the user had to press an activation button on the front of the Tap to speak commands.
  • However, a February 2017 software update allows the option of activating the Tap with an activation word, just like the Echo and the Dot.

Google Home
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  • Google Home enables users to speak voice commands to interact with services through the Home's intelligent personal assistant called Google Assistant. 
  • Google Home is 5.62 inches (143 millimetres) high, and 3.79 inches (96 millimetres) in diameter. 
  • It weighs 16.8 ounces (480 grams).
  • The design represents a modular cylindrical shape, and has 4 LEDs on the top that indicate that it is working.
  • The top surface is a capacitive touch panel, which can be used to stop or start music, and adjust the volume.
  •  A large number of services, both in-house and third-party, are integrated, allowing users to listen to music, look at videos or photos, or receive news updates entirely by voice.
  • Google Home also has integrated support for home automation features, letting users speak commands to the device to control smart home appliances. 
  • Multiple Google Home devices can be placed in different rooms in a home for synchronized playback of music, 
  • multi-user support, allowing up to six people to engage with the device. 
  • Google Home includes home automation features, enabling owners to use it as a central hub to control smart devices. 
  • Examples of supported devices include the Chromecast digital media player, and products from Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue, and Logitech Harmony.

Siri speaker : Upcoming/Rumoured 

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Apple is rumored to be working on an Amazon Echo competitor, offering a speaker with Siri integration that'll be able to serve as a home hub for controlling smart products, playing music, and more.
Apple employees have been testing a product designed to rival Amazon’s Echo inside their homes for several months, according to Bloomberg. The company’s “Siri speaker” project has been in the works for some time, but so far Apple has managed to avoid any significant leaks about its features or design. Last September, Bloomberg reported that Apple engineers had begun in-home testing of a prototype device. A public unveiling could come at next month’s WWDC keynote.