There’s been so much hype surrounding digital assistants lately that you’re probably on a first name basis with Siri, Alexa, Google and Cortana – and if you’re someone who uses voice assistants regularly, you’ll be well aware of how beneficial digital assistants can prove to be.

If you’re still on the fence about embracing the digital assistant life, check out the latest installment of our #amaysimHacks series for the lowdown on how these gadgets can help save you time around the home.

automate and schedule your daily tasks

No matter which assistant you’re using, being able to automate a variety of common daily tasks such as alarms, notifications and calendar reminders is changing the way many of us handle life-admin when at home.

Simply put in a request such as “Hey Google, set my morning alarm to 8am Monday to Friday” and you’re good to go.

Where it gets really interesting however, is the fact you can now sync your chosen digital assistant with other gadgets to create a fully integrated smart home – more on this below!

build and control your smart home

Smart Home

One of the most exciting features of today’s group of digital assistants is the way they can connect with other Wi-Fi enabled gadgets throughout your smart home.

The Amazon Echo range for instance integrates with a variety of home automation hubs, such as Wink, Insteon, and SmartThings.

You can also hook up other smart devices like Philips Hue Lights, Belkin WeMo, Sensi, Ecobee, and control lights, the temperature of your home, and even turn on video recording with a simple command.

The voice commands you’ll need to use differ somewhat based on the device you’re using and the apps you’ve linked to them, however here are a few examples of how you can control your smart home using voice commands:

  • Hey Alexa, turn the bedroom lights on.
  • Ok Google, dim the bedroom lights to 50%.
  • Alexa, turn the heat up to 25
  • Hey Google, turn video mode on the tv

Turn your assistant into a personal sous chef

Sick and tired of getting your old cooking books, or tablet greasy as you’re cooking in the kitchen – well you’re in luck!

Both Alexa and Google Home can source millions of recipes via The Food Network, Bon Appetit and others.

Once you’re ready to cook, say “Start cooking” or “Start recipe” and your assistant will provide step-by-step instructions, meaning no more greasy prints on your phone or tablet.

Oh and did we mention they can both play music and help with weight conversions while this is happening, pretty neat right?

create shopping lists on the fly

This is a great feature for those who have their assistant set up in the kitchen and allows you to make personalised shopping lists on the fly.

For example, say you’re cooking a Sunday Roast and notice the pepper is on its last legs - simply say “OK Google, add cracked pepper to my shopping list” and Home will add it.

You can then access your shopping list via regular apps on your smartphone when you’re next at the shops - easy!

bring voice control to Netflix and Youtube

Youtube

One of the coolest tricks is the ability to fling content onto a nearby TV through voice control. All you'll need is a TV with a Chromecast attached or built-in Chromecast tech.

Google's how-towill help you set up your TV. From there, you’ll be able to throw commands such as "Hey Google, watch Orange Is The New Black on TV," or "Play Rihanna music videos on Youtube".

Voice commands also let you control content on Netflix and YouTube, with commands such as “Hey Google, pause/resume/stop on TV” putting you in the driver’s seat like never before.

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