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HAL2000 a Smart Voice Assistant 'avant-la-lettre'

If you think that voice assistants is something from the last decade, you are wrong. back in the nineties there was HAL2000 (Home Automated Living) adding voice control for your home using a Windows95 computer. The HAL2000 box included the software on a CD as well as a X-10 CM11A Powerline Interface and a lamp module (X10Pro). The X-10 devices allowed you to control appliances, such as lights, in your home using your power net as a carrier.

X10 CM11A PC Interface

It demanded a fairly powerful computer and compatible audio (sound blaster) card able to handle the voice commands. Further it required a microphone hooked up your sound card and the PC should always be ON.

The software was quite advanced at that time. You could use the Internet configuration to set up your system so HAL can go and get traffic reports, stock quotations, TV listings etc. Similar what you would ask for example Amazon Alexa today.

The limitations of the single (wired) microphone, the ALWAYS ON pc and the fact that the software generated a lot of unwanted commands being fired to your home if you had a conversation in front of HAL with another person made the solution not suited for daily usages.

The technology was not at the level of current voice assistants and the software lacked the 'Intelligence' of the voice assistants of today. During the last decade the technology evolved with more computing power, miniaturization of the electronics and an explosion of cloud services, ready to use from the internet. This resulted in a series of smart voice assistance such as the Amazon Echo (DOT), Google Home, Apple HomePod to name most popular ones. In contrast to the HAL2000 these last gen voice assistance became very popular with a large group of consumers and are one of the new mainstream products out there.

The expected growth goes from 390 million worldwide in 2015 to 1.8 billion by the end of 2021 according to Tractica. According to Global Market Insights, Inc., between 2016 and 2024, the market share for the technology will grow at an annual rate of almost 35 percent.

Not only the adoption by the mass is a fact, if we take a look at the gender breakdown than the Smart voice assistance are adopted almost equal between the male and female population.

In regards to where people use the Smart voice assistance, the next location break down chart reveals that the top 3 locations being the Living room, kitchen and bedroom. This survey also indicates that people have or will have multiple voice assistants in their homes. The relative cheap price of the Smart Speakers (example: you can buy an Amazon echo dot for less than 50€) will stimulate having multiple voice assistants within the home.

People use smart speakers for a variety of functions. In relation with the connected home 43.4% have ever tried it and 31.9% keeps using it daily based on a survey from Januari 2020, While other use cases have a slightly downward trend, Controlling smart home devices has the highest adoption rate from all the activities listed compared with the same information source in 2018 which shows the value of a voice assistant in relation with the connected home.

Voice-control technology has officially moved out of the early-adopter phase and into the mainstream and are a real enabler for the connected home industry

The voice assistance also unlocked the home automation scene. Suddenly there was a human 'like' interface which allows you to talk to your devices. Just like the HAL2000 with the X-10 powered devices. Sending them remote commands or let them inform you about the state of an appliance.

it opened a new world for DIY home automation systems. In my book, the Connected House 2.0' I discuss the Smart speakers more in detail and included a number of 'build your own' recipes which allow you to control your appliances using a smart voice assistant.

Pre-register for the book end profit from early bird promotions.

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