8 Reasons To Avoid A New Smart Home Assistant (E.G. Amazon Echo, Google Home) Today

Amazon Echo Dot 4

8 Reasons To Avoid A New Smart Home Assistant (E.G. Amazon Echo, Google Home) Today

Key Points

  • Smart home assistants raise concerns about privacy, security, and data usage.
  • Television commercials can sometimes activate smart home assistants unintentionally.
  • Different product families of smart home assistants have varying capabilities, making it confusing for users.
  • Smart home assistants are dependent on a reliable internet connection to function correctly.
  • Alternatives to smart home assistants include manual control, home automation hubs, and using voice assistants on other devices.

Smart home assistants like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Alexa become more popular yearly. And that’s because they do more than “add to your shopping list.” For example, you can connect your lighting and appliances to Wi-Fi and control them with smart home assistants.

But just like any technology, there are some drawbacks. We’ll explain why you should avoid a new smart home assistant. But first, some background information on them.

Some Background on the Smart Home Assistant

Smart home assistants are voice-activated devices designed to integrate and control various smart home devices and services. They typically connect to the Internet and offer features such as voice commands, music playback, home automation, and access to information and services through voice interactions.

Examples of smart home assistants include Alexa with Amazon Echo and Google Assistant with Google Home. These assistants use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to hear your commands and then process and respond to them.

They are increasingly popular in modern households. However, while they offer convenience and functionality, they also raise concerns about privacy, security, and data usage.

Quick Facts

Whether you want to purchase or avoid a new smart home assistant, there’s no denying that they allow you to control your home without leaving your couch. Turn on lights, preheat your oven, or start your lawn sprinklers quickly.

Product FamilyModelsSmart Home Integration
AmazonDotEcho Studio: Echo ShowAlexa & Amazon Ecosystem
AppleHomePodSiri & Apple Ecosystem
Google HomeNest Audio, Nest Mini, Nest HubGoogle Assistant & Ecosystem
Top Options For Smart Home Assistants

Reasons to Avoid a Smart Home Assistant

You have to admit it’s fun to ask Alexa what the weather will be tomorrow and get an immediate answer. There’s just something futuristic about the whole thing, and that’s exciting.

But there are reasons to avoid a smart home assistant. Unfortunately, they still have room to improve, so let’s look at some areas these assistants can “belly up to the bar” slightly.

Smart Home Privacy

The most significant reason some people avoid a new smart home assistant is their fear of invaded privacy. But, in a sense, these devices listen all the time. Or how would they hear their launch phrases, like “Ok Google” or “Alexa?” (Isn’t it more than a little bizarre when you’re chatting in your home about something, and then Google will give you a sales pitch on your cell phone?)

Each time you make an assistant request, it passes through the company’s server, which builds a profile about your buying habits. To be fair, that’s no different than what happens in a Google search or Amazon lookup. But it somehow feels different with smart speakers and assistants.

Data Usage Concerns

Data usage concerns with smart home assistants revolve around the collection, storage, and potential sharing of personal information or conversations the devices capture. In addition, users may worry about how their data is being used, analyzed, and potentially shared with third parties.

Wake or Launch Phrase

When you speak to it, the rest of your smart devices might also respond to the launch phrase, particularly with Google Home. Television commercials can even activate some smart home assistants, and that’s a pain.

Doesn’t Hear You From A Distance

What else is there to say? A good reason to avoid a new smart home assistant is that sometimes you have to yell for the microphone to hear your voice. Unlike above, when they all wake up even if you don’t want them to.

Different Product Families Have Different Capabilities

Smartphones started off being worlds apart in functionality and now do pretty much the same things. And in the same way, smart home assistants will have similar capabilities.

But, the Apple Home assistants currently work best with other Apple devices, just as Google Home works best with Android devices. Of course, Amazon has already figured this out, and its products work well with most devices. But knowing which option to pick for the functions you’ll use the most can get confusing.

Always Need A Plugin

Even though some of these devices say they are wireless, they still need a plugin to charge. And ideally, you’ll keep them plugged in, or you’ll constantly run out of power. So, while requiring a plugin isn’t a huge deal breaker, it could be inconvenient for where you want to locate a device.

Security Risk

The potential security risk is another reason to avoid a new smart home assistant. These devices are connected, so hackers could potentially gain access. While it’s unlikely to happen any more often than on your phone or FaceBook account, some people have security concerns.

Internet Dependent

A reliable and steady Internet connection is necessary for a smart home assistant to function correctly. So if you have connectivity issues, you may not want heavily Internet-dependent devices.

Alternatives to Smart Home Assistant

If you want to avoid a new smart home assistant, here are some excellent alternatives.

Manual Control

You can manually control your devices instead of relying on a smart home assistant. Many smart devices, such as smart light bulbs or thermostats, come with dedicated mobile apps or physical controls that allow you to adjust settings and manage them without needing a central assistant.

Home Automation Hubs

Hubs, like Samsung SmartThings or Hubitat Elevation, offer a centralized control system for your smart home devices. These hubs allow you to connect and manage several devices from different manufacturers using a single platform.

In addition, they often have user-friendly interfaces and provide more control over your devices without the privacy concerns associated with voice-activated assistants.

One of the best options is the Samsung SmartThings.

Best for Most Smart Devices:
SAMSUNG SmartThings Station with Power Adapter (Black)
  • Simple connection via SmartThings app
  • Tag all your devices
  • Control all your smart appliances
  • 15W super fast wireless charger
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/26/2023 12:30 am GMT

Other great options include:

  • Hubitat Elevation
  • Zigbee Hub Gateway
  • Aeotec Smart Home Hub

Want to control your garage doors and fireplaces? You can also get the fast and reliable Zen16.

Best for Sprinklers, Garage Doors, & Fireplaces
Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 MultiRelay ZEN16
  • Powerful Z-wave Plus signal
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Perfect for garage doors, sprinklers, gas fireplace
  • 3 dry contact relays (15A, 15A, 20A)
  • Works well with Hubitat, Vera, openHAB, and on SmartThings
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/26/2023 12:30 am GMT

Smart Device Control via Voice Assistants on Other Devices

If you already own devices with voice assistants, such as smartphones or smart speakers, you can utilize their capabilities to control your smart home devices. In addition, many smart devices work with popular voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, allowing you to control them through your existing devices without purchasing a dedicated smart home assistant.

Excellent Connectivity
Bose Home Speaker 500
  • Impressive wall-to-wall stereo sound
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built-in
  • Supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network connections
  • Control speaker with voice, music app, or touch presets
  • Make or take calls hands-free
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2023 10:57 am GMT

Wrapping Up

We’ve shared some of the primary reasons to avoid a new smart home assistant so that you can make informed buying decisions. Smart home assistants have privacy, security, and mildly annoying issues. So, you’d want to think carefully before making a purchase. Your other best options are manual control through device apps, home automation hubs, and smart speakers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Alexa work without being plugged in?

All Alexa and other smart home assistant devices need a plug-in to work. You can plug them into wall outlets or use an external battery pack. Without continuous power, the devices turn off.

Does Alexa have a monthly cost?

Alexa or Google Home Assistant have no monthly fees. After you purchase the device, the AI that powers them comes with it.

What is the difference between Alexa and Echo?

Echo is a smart speaker, and Alexa is a smart assistant like Siri and Google Assistant. They respond to your voice to answer questions and complete virtual tasks like adding items to your grocery list or turning your TV off. Echo’s primary use is playing music and connecting to home theatres.

Is Google Home or Alexa useful for workouts?

Smart home assistants can find and play workout playlists, set timers, act as a stopwatch, and guide you through a meditation or High intensity interval training workout. So yes, Google Home and Alexa are useful for exercises.

What are smart home assistants?

Smart Home Assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri are central controller hubs. They allow you to combine different smart devices in one place where you control them with voice commands.

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