New York (The Verge) — Smart assistants have totally slept on sleep timers and I’m tired of it theverge.com/circuitbreaker….
Smart home assistants need smarter timers. Today, you can use Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri to set timers. You can use all three smart assistants to control your smart home gadgets. But frustratingly, you cannot use the two features together: setting your lights to arbitrarily turn off in 30 minutes is impossible with today’s most sophisticated, cutting-edge smart home technology.
ou can set your lights to go on when a motion detector goes off, have your motorized shades close at sunset, or have your air conditioner turn on at exactly 12:53PM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. But with all three smart home platforms, you need to set up those routines in advance — they’re not the sort of thing you can just attach to a timer.
More importantly, they’re not the sort of thing you can actually do with voice commands — you have to go into a companion app and configure them, which means knowing beforehand exactly what you want to turn on and off and when you want it to happen. And if you have to go into an app to use a voice assistant properly, something in that process isn’t working right.
As far as I can tell, there’s no technical reason that all of these systems don’t allow this, and yet, you just can’t do it. And yes, natural language processing is incredibly complicated, but I don’t think that’s the issue: the smart assistants themselves explicitly say that the software doesn’t allow it. Siri, for example, gives a response letting you know that it can’t schedule commands. That means that someone at Apple was aware that a user might want to do this, and then specifically coded in a response to say that you can’t. The issue doesn’t seem to be one of comprehension. — Chaim Gartenberg/@verge