Meet Alexa & Google Assistant
Updated: Apr 10, 2019
Digital Assistants inside Amazon and Google smart home speakers can help with every-day life and emergencies. Place a few speakers around the home then use voice commands to tell Alexa (inside Amazon Echo speakers) or Google (inside Google Home speakers) what you need. With simple voice commands, you can tell the Digital Assistant to:
Call for help. Call family or friends when you can’t get to a phone.
Give you reminders. Tell you when to take your meds or check the stove.
Manage shopping and to-do lists.
Get Info from the Web. Answer questions given by voice command.
Control Your Home. Turn lights on and off or lock the doors with a voice command.
What You Will Need
One or more speakers.
A WiFi modem connected to home Internet service.
A compatible SmartPhone or tablet to set up and manage the Google Home app.
A compatible SmartPhone to set-up and manage Alexa. (If you do NOT want to make hands free calls to regular phone lines, Alexa can be set-up through a compatible tablet or a computer. )
If you go with the Echo speaker line and you live in the United States, you can call 911 through Alexa in most areas by adding the Echo Connect to a home phone line. It turns the Echo dot into a hands-free speaker for your home phone so 911 will accept the call.
Amazon Echo Products
Echo Dot Speaker $50us, $70cdn
Echo Plus Speaker $150us, $199cdn
Echo Connect $35us
The Echo Plus provides SmartHome Hub controller function. Search online for Amazon Echo Speakers to get the full speaker line up. If living outside the U.S., check to confirm availability in your country for the models that interest you.
For the Google Family of Speakers
Google Home Mini $49us, $79cdn
Google Home $129us, $179cdn
Google Home Max $399us; $499cdn
Google Home provides SmartHome Hub controller function. Google Home Max provides everything found in Google Home but with premium sound quality.
Expect to see more consumer devices with Alexa and Google inside but double check what they do. Some features, like making voice calls, may not be available on the 3rd party devices.
Options to Look For
Battery powered models (portable; good for patio and backyard). SmartHome controler models (Manage your lights, locks and more with voice commands).
Display screen models (Video calls can help when its hard to hear on a regular phone call).
The different skills (voice apps) available to each Digital Assistant/speaker product line. There may be something unique that has particular value to you.
Voice Calling Limitations. Please take note!
The Echo and Google Home speakers cannot place calls to 911 and cannot receive calls. 911 will only accept calls from regular phones lines - mobile or landline.
However, if you live in the U.S., Amazon's Echo Connect can be used to turn your Echo Dot into a speaker for your home phone. This makes it possible to call 911 hands-free through Alexa. (The Echo Connect is not yet sold or supported in Canada)
Want more details?
Type "Home Speakers" in the search bar (magnifying glass symbol) in the upper right corner of the blog. This will get you all posts related to Home Speakers, including:
a comparison of Home Speakers to other technologies for getting help, and
an assessment of which home speaker is best for seniors.
Wishing you all the best,