Welcome to the future, where your modest home may become an intelligent living area you can control with your voice. Voice-controlled automation systems have transformed the idea of smart homes, providing homeowners ease, effectiveness, and unmatched comfort. Smart speakers have exploded in popularity recently, altering how we interact with technology and converting our homes into intelligent living environments.
These cutting-edge gadgets, which feature voice control capabilities, have been ingrained into our daily lives, offering entertainment, convenience, and seamless interaction with various home automation systems. This article examines the influence of smart speakers from research studies and conclusions, emphasizes the critical function of voice control in these systems, discusses the convenience they provide to our homes, and highlights the expanding field of speech-enabled home automation.
Home automation is becoming a reality many homeowners embrace after years of it only appearing in science fiction films. As technology advances at an unprecedented rate and changes how people interact with their homes, voice-activated home automation systems have taken the lead. These systems enable homeowners to easily handle a variety of components of their homes with voice commands thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and voice recognition technologies.
What is a Voice-Controlled Smart Homes?
Voice-control smart home platforms are pieces of technology that let homeowners use voice commands to control and manage a variety of appliances and systems in their homes. These platforms use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and speech recognition technology to interpret and react to spoken commands, enabling users to interact with their smart homes intuitively and without needing their hands.
The phrase “smart home technology” refers to a group of devices, programs, or appliances that are linked to a single network and can each be separately operated by a remote control or voice command. For instance, the thermostat, audio speakers, TVs, lights, security, locks, and appliances in your house can all be connected to the smart home network. Thanks to recent advancements in speech recognition technology, you may control these with the aid of a touchscreen device, a smartphone, or your voice. Home automation that can be controlled by voice is now a reality. You have more options than ever for voice-activated home automation
Voice home automation is one example of how modern technology may improve your life and simplify daily tasks. Given how busy people’s lives are these days, everyone wants to be as effective as possible. What better method of time management exists than a voice-activated home automation system?
The Brief history and evolution of Voice-Controlled Smart Homes
The rise of “smart houses” has been fueled by the quick development of technology and changed how we interact with our living surroundings. Voice activation technology is one of the most intriguing breakthroughs in this area. Due to their accessibility to a wider audience and convenience, voice-activated smart homes have grown in popularity.
Smart homes have been around since the 1970s. Still, in the 21st century, significant technological improvements made them more widely available and affordable to the general population. Voice control assistants aren’t simply a fad; for most of us, they’re gradually becoming essential. Almost 8.4 billion individuals are predicted to communicate with their homes by the end of the following year, whether to enquire about the weather, make reminders, or manage home automation.
Let’s look at how this intriguing technology has evolved through time before we dive into more detail about how voice-controlled smart homes function. Although voice assistants for smart homes are incredibly advanced now, you’d be shocked at how old the technology is.
1. 1950’s, the Baby Talk Age
This was the “baby talk” age of voice recognition technology, where only digits and numbers could be understood. Bell Laboratories created Audrey in 1952, a machine that could only comprehend numbers. Nonetheless, the shoebox technology could grasp 16 English words in 1962. Later, voice recognition software may understand nine consonants and four vowels. With an accuracy score of 90%, Audrey, the machine could comprehend the digits 0 through 9. However, it’s interesting to note that Audrey only recorded this accuracy level when its creator talked; other people’s voices had Audrey’s accuracy level range between 70% and 80%.
Each person has a unique voice, and spoken language can be inconsistent, which points to some ongoing difficulties in speech detection. The spoken word varies significantly depending on regional dialects, pace, emphasis, socioeconomic class, and even gender, in contrast to text, which has a considerably higher level of standardization. Scaling any voice recognition system has always presented a considerable challenge.
2. 1960’s The Shoebox Technology
IBM showed off a device called “Shoebox” at the Seattle World’s Fair ten years later, in 1962. The next significant advancement was the shoebox, which could comprehend 16 words of the English language. Additionally, in the 1960s, research facilities in the US, Japan, UK, and USSR created hardware specifically designed to recognize spoken sounds, extending speech recognition technology to support four vowels and nine consonants.
3. 1970’s The Birth of Harpy
In the year 1970, speech recognition exploded! The development of voice recognition systems received significant assistance from the US Department of Defense. They funded the DARPA SUR, the first recognized “speech understand” research initiative, from 1971 to 1976. Furthermore, in the 1970s, Carnegie Mellon University created “Harpy,” a computer program that could understand 1,011 words. It used a more effective method of looking for logical phrases.
The first commercial speech recognition firm, “Threshold Technologies,” opened its doors in the 1970s. Bell Laboratories unveiled a system that could recognize numerous voices. Voice recognition technology continued to see enormous advancements during this time. According to the “Hidden Markov” model, the speech recognition vocabulary increased from a few hundred to thousands of words, potentially recognizing an infinite number of words.
4. 1980’s Julie the Most Intelligent Doll
Voice recognition technology for the family market emerged in the late 1980s! Texas Instruments produced a doll called “Julie” 1987 that kids could teach to respond to their voice. When Julie was first released in the 1980s, she was dubbed the “World’s Most Intelligent Doll.” She responds to questions, reads aloud from her books, and speaks when spoken to, among other interactive behaviors.
Julie uses C batteries to operate. When she is activated, she will say “Julie” and then utter a series of secret phrases, which you must repeat to her for her to know your voice. She will ask you to repeat herself if she doesn’t understand you or you talk too loudly or softly. You can have brief discussions with her once everything is finished. She can read the text in her books because of the metal sensors in her fingers. Each book also comes with color form-style stickers that may be used as bookmarks.
5. 1990’s Dragon Dictate
Faster microprocessors were introduced in the 1990s, making voice recognition software practical. The first speech recognition program for customers, “Dragon Dictate,” was released by the business Dragon in 1990. In 1997, they introduced “Dragon Naturally Speaking” as a follow-up to “Dragon Dictate.” Also, in 1996, BellSouth created the first voice-activated portal (VAL). Nonetheless, many people still find this technique to be inconvenient and erroneous.
6. 2000 The Birth of Google Voice Search
When Google came along, speech recognition technology progress had reached a standstill by 2001. Google created the Google Voice Search program, which used data centers to process the massive amounts of data analysis required to match user searches with actual human speech recordings. The majority of voice recognition advancements in this century have been made possible by machine learning, as has been the case in many other disciplines of scientific research. Google used cutting-edge technology in conjunction with the strength of cloud computing to exchange data and increase the precision of machine learning algorithms.
To create a better speech model, Google introduced customized recognition for Android smartphones in 2010. This feature would record various users’ voice inquiries. There are 230,000,000,000 English words in it. Subsequently, cloud computing was utilized in the creation of Apple’s Siri. In 2008, the Google Voice Search app for the iPhone was released because of all of this. The Voice Search app demonstrated notable increases over the accuracy levels of earlier speech recognition algorithms, driven by enormous volumes of training data. To personalize its voice search results, Google built on this. It also used this information to create its Hummingbird algorithm, giving it a more in-depth grasp of the language being used. The Google Assistant, now present on over 50% of all smartphones, has woven these threads together.
But Siri, Apple’s foray into the voice recognition business, initially caught people’s attention. This AI-powered digital assistant, the product of decades of research, added some warmth to the impersonal field of speech recognition. Digital assistants like Siri and Cortana were once exclusive to smartphones. Still, the idea has become more dispersed over the past few years.
7. 2000s to the Present Breakthroughs of Voice-Controlled Applications
Although voice-activated home speakers are the focus, this is a Trojan horse tactic. These speakers are the entry point for the proliferation of intelligent gadgets that fall under the broad “Internet of Things” category since they take center stage in a consumer’s house. A Google Home or Amazon Echo can control many Internet-enabled devices; many more are expected to join the list by 2020. They will feature more third-party integrations and smart refrigerators, headphones, mirrors, and smoke alarms. Amazon started the “fire” of smart speakers. Amazon introduced the smart speaker Echo in November 2014; it incorporates sonic interaction into a conventional loudspeaker and gives it artificial intelligence-like features.
More breakthroughs in the industry of voice-controlled homes, such as the voice assistant known as “Alexa,” can play music, broadcast news, conduct online purchases, order takeout, book Uber cabs, operate home appliances, and interact with users such as friends. Google, Microsoft, and Apple entered the smart speaker market, released their respective products, and became significant players worldwide. A new economic and technological revolution is currently sweeping the globe. The voice-controlled smart home sector, represented by these devices, forms the foundation for future smart cities and is a crucial driver behind societal and economic change.
Voice recognition technology: How it works
So, how exactly does voice recognition operate? First, it analyzes your voice’s biometrics using technology. Your voice’s pitch, cadence, and accent are all included. You speak in segments of various tones that make up each word. Following digitization and translation, your voice template is produced.
Speech recognition is powered by machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is employed to comprehend the slang, acronyms, and abbreviations we employ. Then, using neural networks, machine learning constructs the patterns from the data. Several systems, some more complex than others, can utilize this technology. Suppose you’ve ever contacted the customer service line for your mobile phone company, for instance. In that case, you might have been met with a voice-activated menu. You must choose an option to be forwarded to the appropriate department. You can do this by speaking the number out loud or by using the keypad.
1. Voice Recognition Begins with the Audio Conversion into a Digital Signal
For voice recognition algorithms to understand what a person is saying, they must take a few stages. First, audio is captured by the device’s microphone and turned into an electrical current sent down to the analog-to-digital converter or ADC. The ADC transforms the electrical current or analog signal into a binary digital signal.
2. Clarity Enhancement Is Done to the Audio
The audio must be processed to enhance clarity for the gadget to comprehend the speaker more clearly. The audio is subjected to specific filters to help reduce background noise because the device is occasionally tasked with understanding speech in a noisy setting. Specific voice recognition systems filter out frequencies above and below the range of human hearing. In addition to eliminating undesired frequencies, the approach also emphasizes some frequencies in the audio to help the computer distinguish between the voice and background noise. Some voice recognition software divides the audio signal into various distinct frequencies.
3. The voice recognition software begins to produce words.
Speech is analyzed by voice recognition systems in two common ways. The hidden Markov model and neural networks are two examples of methods.
Hidden Markov Model – Most voice recognition systems use the hidden Markov model. Dissecting the spoken words into their phonemes is a crucial step in this process. Each language has a limited number of phonemes, so the hidden Markov model method performs well.
Neural Network Technique – A neural network is like a computer brain that processes information like a human brain. Recurrent Neural Networks are the category of neural network that voice recognition employs (RNN). The output from the hidden Markov model is provided as input to the neural network technique, which implies that when an RNN processes a piece of data, it utilizes that data to influence what it does with the next part of the data. Speech recognition accuracy increases with an RNN’s exposure to a given language.
The voice recognition system uses the accumulated data to estimate which phoneme will occur next after it recognizes one. The more RNNs are employed, the more accurate the voice recognition will be because RNNs are constantly learning. The information is delivered to the processor after the voice recognition system recognizes the words (either using the hidden Marvok model or an RNN). The system then completes the task for which it was designed.
Benefits of Voice-Controlled Smart Homes
Convenience is a crucial benefit of voice control. With voice control, you can voice-manage any element of your home automation system with only one piece of equipment. Suppose you’ve just come from the grocery shop with your hands complete, and you’re coming home in the dark. But using voice commands makes it simple to turn on the lights without fumbling with your hands full of objects. Also, if you have a smart fridge, you can set a notification reminder and verbally create a note if you run out of milk. Those with restricted mobility, such as the elderly or crippled, can benefit most from voice control because it makes operating any connected system simple.
Voice control will significantly enhance your home’s security system’s effectiveness and efficiency, which is another perk. Your security cameras, alarm system, smart locks, and motion sensors can all work together with a voice control system so you can easily make the necessary adjustments while carefully checking what’s happening on and around your property.
1. Energy Efficiency Improvement
When your house is voice-connected, you may have complete control over minor things, like energy use. In addition to being convenient, controlling the lighting and temperature in your house with your voice can help you save money on utility bills. Furthermore, this will make it simple for you to monitor the atmosphere in your home generally and make improvements.
2. Better Lifestyle
You may have programmed your motorized blinds to open simultaneously with your alarm to make mornings easier. Or the home’s lights come on at a specific hour each evening. Regardless of how you set up your home automation, voice control enables you to make changes. At the same time, you move rather than opening the app and changing the settings. Consider the possibility that you neglected to silence your alarm during your time off from work. Don’t worry; with a single command, you can turn off your alarms for the entire week without getting out of bed or searching for your phone.
3. Simplifying Everyday Routines
The ability of voice-enabled smart home devices to allow personalized routines is one of its most important advantages. You can make several tasks happen simultaneously or in order by setting up automation rules. This level of automation improves convenience and saves time and effort in managing your daily routines. For instance, you may set up your voice assistant to turn on the coffee maker, play your favorite music, and open the curtains when you say, “Good morning.”
4. Universal Access and Inclusion for All Users
Voice-activated smart home gadgets encourage inclusion and accessibility by making it more straightforward for people with disabilities, mobility challenges, or visual impairments to engage with their homes. With the help of voice assistants, people may quickly obtain information and control their surroundings. With no physical interaction, this hands-free control makes smart home technology available to more consumers.
Voice recognition has significantly impacted the way we use technology today. Voice-activated assistants are now widely used in many different services and industries worldwide; many people use them to run their lives. Your Apple watches come pre-loaded with assistants like Siri. In 1952, it was just a fantasy. Today, it’s a reality, showing no signs of slowing down. The smart home ecosystem continues developing quickly in today’s technologically advanced world, with voice-enabled gadgets taking center stage in easing our daily lives.
Homeowners looking for efficiency and convenience now have a whole new set of options thanks to voice-activated smart home technology. You can now manage your everyday duties and routines seamlessly, hands-freely, thanks to the ability to control many areas of your house using basic voice commands. In addition to the efficiency and convenience they provide, voice-activated smart home gadgets are essential for boosting the safety and security of your house. You can monitor and manage the security aspects of your house with voice-activated surveillance systems, ensuring the safety of your loved ones and safeguarding your priceless things.
In addition to improving both factors, voice assistants can improve convenience, security, and energy efficiency in your smart home setup. By combining voice-controlled thermostats and lighting systems, you may efficiently manage your home’s energy use, lessening your impact on the environment and your utility costs. Voice assistants have changed how we engage with our multimedia systems, which provide a highly customized and immersive entertainment experience. By embracing this cutting-edge technology, you can make your home a genuinely connected and immersive environment where your favorite entertainment selections are always just a voice command away.