Battle of the AI’s – Building a smart home starts with a speaker

Investing in a smart system such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa can be daunting. After all, you are dedicating yourself to a specific system and trusting that they will do everything you ask and more. When they were first introduced, both Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems seemed almost novelty however, just a few short years later, smart systems seem to be the new ‘normal’ in everyday life. The concept of controlling the heating, lighting, security and plug sockets by using just your voice is almost too appealing of a concept with a surprisingly affordable price tag.

‘Alexa’ was the first AI system to hit the mainstream market three years ago before being quickly followed by the release of Google Assistant one year later. Using a wake word, both systems can play music, control compatible devices and answer simple questions such as cooking conversions. You can also add abilities to Alexa’s list of tasks by adding ‘skills’. These are essentially apps that allow Alexa to play games, order takeaway and book trains, putting Alexa in the centre of everyday life. Google uses ‘actions’ instead, however it is currently at a slight disadvantage as Alexa currently has thousands of skills available whereas Google has significantly less – standing in the hundreds region.


Whereas before you would need an Amazon or Google device to use their respective AI systems, many electronics manufacturers are now creating their own tech compatible with the systems. This allows us to buy the best audio equipment whilst still including AI technology without compromising on quality. For example, the LG ThinQ WK7 speaker with Meridian Sound Technology is compatible with Google Assistant whereas the Sonos One includes Alexa among its six-microphone array and Class-D amplifiers. Both speakers have a significantly better range and clarity of sound than the typical standard of their original, respective devices.

It should be noted that both Assistant and Alexa have their own strengths and weaknesses. More smart home devices are compatible with Google Assistant and many users have reported that Google’s AI system is better at understanding natural language compared to Alexa which prefers you to use key phrases with less variation. This makes Assistant better for those who want a device as an information source rather than an entertainment device.

Regardless, both systems create a brilliant stepping-stone for anyone and everyone to step into the world of smart devices. With ease of use and functionality, this is the first step towards owning your very own smart home. Using Hive, you can expand into controlling security systems, heating, plug sockets and lighting via both voice control and an app from your smart phone while you are out and about. Philips Hue is another alternative for smart lighting, compatible with other Hive devices as well as both Alexa and Assistant, however this option is often best for Amazon Alexa users with some complaints being shared among users about its compatibility and lowered efficiency when used with Assistant.

To conclude, which AI system you choose depends vastly on what your main purpose of use will be. Due to a higher understanding of natural language, Google Assistant is better for answering questions and general conversions where as, to use Alexa to optimal effect, you need to remember key phrases in order to achieve what you want. If you want additional extras for entertainment purposes then a device that has Alexa included would be more beneficial to you due to the thousands of ‘skills’ available for download. Most importantly, no matter which system you choose, compatible devices now offer all of the technological advancements whilst still including your favourite AI. These days everyone has the opportunity to build their own ultimate smart home.

We have plenty of smart speakers and devices to choose from – making it easy for you to build the perfect smart home of your dreams. For a full set-up, contact our smart team for more information on a professional install or visit your nearest Hughes store for a demo of your most desired products. All of our smart technology is available to buy online and is eligible for our great click and collect service so why not have a look today!