ABSTRACT of Control a Smart Home using Voice Commands

In recent years, the field of Internet of Things (IoT) has seen significant investments made by the research community and the industry. Specifically, the Control a Smart Home has been a prime focus with the introduction of devices such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, Samsung Smart Things among others. The growth of an industry results in innovative, economic, and advanced solutions.

The development of new voice-controlled home assistant devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home has allowed the interaction between users and devices in a more human and familiar way. With this background, this project aims to use Amazon Echo, Alexa, and complementary technologies to implement a smart home environment by controlling external devices using voice commands.

After designing and implementing the voice controlled smart home solution, we proceeded to measure the response time of commands to verify their applicability in different uses. The implemented solution reached the expected goals allowing an effective control of different devices from an LED light to commonly used household appliances through voice commands with a reasonable delay.

INTRODUCTION of Control a Smart Home using Voice Commands

In recent years, more people are interacting with digital technology devices connected to the Internet in their homes using home automation technologies. Among the different Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page.

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ZigBee Smart Home

Amazon Echo is a voice enabled wireless speaker developed by amazon. The device connects to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, which responds to the name “Alexa“. The device is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other real time information. It can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation hub. Home automation is a very expensive luxury that a lot of people in India and other countries cannot afford. The objective of our product is to provide a cheap and inexpensive way to control non-smart devices using the power of voice. Amazon Echo is a smart speaker that has been developed by the Amazon company that can be used to play music, listen to the news and control a lot of smart devices.

Definitions

home automation can be defined as the introduction of technology within the home to improve the quality of life of its occupants, through the provision of different services such as health, multimedia, entertainment and energy related applications. The standard X10, developed in 1975 for communication between electronic devices, could be considered as one of the oldest standards that initiate the home automation trend. X10 provided limited control over household devices through household power lines.

Currently, standards have evolved in a gigantic way and the market gives us different device options using such standards for home automation. Among different options, those that allow interaction through voice commands are becoming very popular; among this kind of devices are the Google Home, Apple HomePod and Amazon Echo, being the latter the most pioneering and popular.

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An Intelligent Home Automation System

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo which is connected to Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant called Alexa was launched in 2016. Alexa is a cloud system that converts the voice of users into text and interpret the text to respond verbally, musically or passing commands to other intelligent devices such as a Wi-Fi compatible light bulb. In the following, we list some of the features of Amazon Echo:

• Amazon Echo uses the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, read news, set alarms, and control smart home devices.

• Amazon Echo allows to play music from different services providers such as Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Tune In.

• Amazon Echo can control different smart devices such as lights, switches and thermostats from different brands such as WeMo, Philips, Samsung, Nest, and others.

Despite the mentioned benefits, there are still not many works that document in an organized way the design and implementation of home automation solutions based on Amazon Echo.

RELATED CONCEPTS

In the following, some concepts used throughout this work are explained.

Home Automation

Home Automation can be defined as the adoption, integration and application of new information and communication technologies to the home environment. It mainly includes the use of electricity/electronic devices, computer systems and different telecommunications devices including mobile telephony and Internet. Some of its main characteristics are: interaction, interrelation, ease of use, remote management, reliability, and ability to be programmed and updated. Its architecture can be centralized or distributed; however, the decentralized one is the most used due to its advantages of intercommunication and fault tolerance. The protocols used in home automation solution can be an open standard or proprietary.

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Bluetooth Smart Home

Smart Speaker

A smart speaker is a type of speaker which integrates a voice command device and a virtual assistant that offers interactive actions with the user. The virtual assistant allows smart speakers to respond users’ requests such as playing music, responding questions, ordering food, and so on. Most of smart speakers can extend their functionality to control home automation devices such as smart bulbs, smart locks and smart thermostats.

Smart Speaker manufacture

Many manufactures have released their own smart speakers; for example Amazon has launched the Amazon Echo while Google and Apple have created the Google Home and Apple HomePod, respectively. In addition to the ad-vantage of being easy to use, voice controls used in Smart Speakers are becoming very popular as they have great potential to facilitate daily tasks for all users inclusive for fragile groups (e.g. elderly and disabled people). Many studies have been conducted in the field of voice interfaces and 95% of people said they would continue to use the system, even though this technology is not perfect yet and fail many times in understanding user commands.