An interesting and slightly amusing voicemail came in to the IoT Podcast Hotline this week: The caller’s guests are changing his thermostat settings by voice when they come over. The issue isn’t specific to just a thermostat though since, in theory, any voice commands uttered by a house guest could potentially control any connected device you have.
Of course, my first thought was: “Don’t invite these people over anymore,” but clearly, that’s the not the best solution. Instead, the real fix is to train your home’s digital assistant to only respond to your voice, and/or the voices of others of your choosing.
Regardless of whether you use Amazon Echo or Google Home speakers, the general process is the same. Amazon calls it Echo Voice Profiles, while Google’s version is Voice Match.
With either platform, you simply look for the voice profile/match setting in the corresponding mobile app to “train” it with your voice. You’ll have to repeat a few phrases in a quiet setting so the assistant learns your voice pattern and after that, it will only respond to your commands. Sorry guests, you’re locked out! Keep in mind that this will bring an added benefit: When asking for personal information, such as your next calendar event, the digital assistant will know who’s info it should provide.
If you have a family or roommate, you’ll probably want to allow them to run through the voice training for their profile too. Then again, depending on your relationship status with them, you can always make yourself the king or queen of your abode by not letting them know this. That’s your call.
Keep in mind that sometimes these personalized voice profiles don’t work 100 percent of the time; I’ve heard about problems on both Amazon and Google’s platform, which can be frustrating, so your mileage may vary. But at least you won’t have to worry about inviting people to your house and leaving your smart home in their hands.
To hear the full question and our response, tune in to this week’s IoT Podcast below.