On our most recent IoT Podcast, Larry called into the voicemail hotline with an interesting question. He and his girlfriend just moved in together and is wondering if he should set up the digital assistants on his smart speakers with both of their accounts.
There are benefits to using multiple accounts with Amazon Echo or Google Home devices, of course. Different people in the house have different calendars and appointments, for example. They may have different commutes to work as well. So the ability for each individual to ask about or see this personalized information can be useful.
However, from a smart home perspective, this can add some complexity. There’s one home, for instance, but each resident may have their own accounts with specific preferences, services, and information tied to them.
Setting up an Amazon Echo device with two unrelated accounts in a household can double up the number of devices in the home. Instead of a single smart bulb in your kitchen, for example, Amazon will show two of them; one for each account. This can interfere with the device’s state; i.e.; the bulb may show as on for one account but off for the other. Additionally, with a household of multiple accounts, the Echo requires you to switch profiles for music services tied to specific email addresses, which is less than ideal.
One potential solution is to create a new, unique email account for “the house”, which is shared by both people. While this solves any problems related to duplicated devices, keep in mind that any online orders through the digital assistant can be made by anyone in the home. You can set up a PIN code for purchases on the Amazon Echo, which is a good idea.
Overall, the multiple account scenario works better on Google Home devices, provided you use the voice match feature. Voice-match is the approach meant to handle multiple accounts and is worth trying. In this case, there would be multiple accounts tied to the smart home but the smart speakers must be trained to recognize both account holders.
Stacey’s experience with voice match on her Google Home devices has been less than stellar, so she’s effectively given up on it. My own family has no desire to train our smart speakers, so I don’t use this option either. Anyone in my family can control the smart home by voice and I have my smart displays show shared calendars so everyone can see everyone else’s schedule.
My advice would be to try the voice match capabilities of whichever smart speakers you have to see how well they do or don’t, work. If they do, using two accounts on a single platform might appeal to you, even with some of the cons. If not, however, either a new shared email account or simply sticking with a single individual account is the better choice until our smart speakers get a little smarter.
To hear Larry’s question in full, as well as our discussion, tune in below to the IoT Podcast: