Choosing the right Voice Assistant

Over the past several months, I got more interested in smart homes and home automation in general. I like the idea of triggering automations, schedules or scenes based on voice commands or with my iPhone.

Most of us use an Amazon Echo or a Google Assistant/Home device to dip our feet into the smart home space. To be honest Amazon and Google make it very easy for one to get started. However, as you start using the products, you’ll find the notable differences. Amazon Echo works fantastic across all devices, whereas Google Home is amazing for Android users. iOS devices had its fair share of limitations when working with the Google eco-system.

Since all our devices at home run iOS (MacBooks, AppleTVs, iPhones and iPads), I knew that Google Home and its Google Assistant were not an option for us. Instead we started out with a single Amazon Alexa device. However after reading Amazon Alexa Accused Again of Spying by Forbes, we decided to kick Alexa to the curb.

The following weeks I spend on reading up on privacy concerns in regards to Alexa and Google Assistant devices. Somehow I never saw Apple’s Siri as a contender for a voice assistant… I already own the required hardware devices (Apple TVs) to get started with Siri and even Homekit but just never looked seriously into it. Looking back, I was disappointed with the amount of integrations Apple Homekit has vs Amazon Echo or Google Home devices. However Homekit is known to work flawlessly with their eco-system partners, but this comes often with a significant price tag.

At the end of the day, I settled on Apple’s Siri with its Homekit integration because Siri is easily accessible from all my devices and I don’t have to run a third-party app to talk to my voice assistant. On top of the integration part, Apple has been doing pretty well on the privacy front. Does Apple have the perfect privacy policy? Hell no! But is Apple’s general policy better than the one from Amazon Alexa and Google Home? I believe so!

This is the start of a series of blog posts about Voice Assistants and Smart Home hubs.

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