Smart home systems and devices are helping us save energy and money by allowing us to monitor our household habits and control energy usage in new ways. Nearly everything in your home — including thermostats, smart home compatible fans, shades, air conditioners, lights and garage doors — can be connected to the Internet and be remotely controlled from a mobile device or smart speaker.

Voice-controlled helpers, usually found in smart speakers such as Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana, are helping us control our surroundings by merely lifting a finger (or just using our voice). Our phones, tablets and smart speakers can now turn our homes into personal assistants and make a broad range of devices our household partners.

The thermostat is the easiest and one of the most useful products to assign to your voice assistant. With a Wi-Fi smart thermostat, you can remotely change the temperature, set schedules and save both energy and money.

Besides activating our play- lists, smart speakers are capable of answering questions, setting timers for light switches, opening our garage doors and even turning on our air conditioners. As these virtual “butlers” go mainstream, the competition to unveil new capabilities grows fierce. 

For example, Google Home can now multitask. Instead of having to deliver two separate commands, you can now ask Google Home to turn on the television and turn down the heat in the same sentence. Another recent Google breakthrough has made it possible for owners of older Android phones and tablets to now respond to its digital helpers. 

Not to be outdone, Amazon recently launched its voice-activated digital assistant Alexa, along with voice-controlled Echo speaker devices, in Canada. Meanwhile, Apple plans on unveiling its HomePod speaker sometime this spring. Launched last year, the HomePod is the newest in the line of voice-activated assistants. It is capable of handling various home tasks, while controlling your home and your playlist.

Even though these voice-controlled smart speakers are capable of doing a lot, they aren’t quite ready to accomplish all our commands just yet. However, that will soon change, as Wi-Fi-connected devices in our homes get smarter in their own right.