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Condo Living: Amazon’s Alexa vs. Google Assistant vs. Apple’s Siri

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It is safe to assume that you have come across a person talking to his or her device asking a question or giving a command. The device is then prompted to address the question or command given through a robotic-sounding reply

That is an Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA), a software agent that uses questions or commands to perform tasks or services for an individual. The IVA relies on connecting analytics and cognitive computing based on individual user information, past conversations, and location to be able to give more personalized responses. 

Include IVAs in your condo design if you want to turn your condo into a smart home. IVAs range from built-in assistance in mobile operating systems (OS), website chatbots, instant messaging, appliances, cars, and wearable technology. 

An advanced IVA is a smart speaker, which is controlled by hands-free voice commands and activation that leads to interactive actions. A“hot word” or several “hot words” are used as activation codes or command actions. They use Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other protocol standards to offer experiences past audio playbacks, such as home control automation. 

The top smart speakers in the market are Alexa by Amazon, Google Assistant by Google, and Siri HomePod by Apple. Owning one of these will integrate smart living into your condo living. But where exactly do these three differ? Who has the competitive edge? This article will break down their differences. 

General Information

Have a trivia or historical question to ask? A random question that appeared off the top of your head, and you are dying to find out? Or do you just want to increase your general knowledge? IVAs will answer them for you. 

Sample questions can range from “Will it rain today?” “Who was the third president in Philippine history?” “What is the square root of 81?” “Can you tell me a joke?” Or “is there a ready for occupancy condo I can move into?” 

In comparing the three smart assistants, a group of tech researchers conducted a study to determine the best IVA at answering questions. Out of 800 questions, Google Assistant was able to understand all of them and answered 93% of them correctly.

Moving on, out of the 99.8% of questions asked, Siri answered 83% correctly. This is quite an impressive feat for a device not built to answer these questions. However, Siri fared the best when it came to commands like asking to set the timer to five minutes or to make a reminder to call someone. 

Lastly, Alexa had the least accuracy among the three, with only 80% correctly answered out of 99.9% of questions understood. However, from 2018 to 2019, Amazon worked to increase Alexa’s accuracy by 18% to edge out Apple’s Siri. In addition to this, what makes Alexa unique is its ability to provide context to the answer it gives. For example, the sample question used above, “is there a ready for occupancy condo I can move into?”Alexa will give you other information like the name, price, and location. 

Playing Music

If you want to lie down or your hands are just busy, and you want to listen to music, just ask your smart assistant to begin your sound trip. Condo living is perfect with the music. And smart speakers are perfect for condo design. 

Starting with Alexa, it supports the most music streaming services among the three like Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, Spotify, TuneIn, and Tidal. Alexa plays songs from Amazon Music by default. 

Google Assistant only supports Deezer, Pandora, Spotify, and by default YouTube Music. Playing through YouTube allows you to have access to an almost countless amount of songs but will have to be interrupted by ads from time to time. However, if you subscribe to YouTube Music Premium, you will be given access to this quite limitless range of music without the interruption of ads. What separates YouTube Music Premium from other streaming services is the ability of the user to upload up to 100,000 audio files to a cloud and ask Google Assistant to play them for you ads-free. 

Siri’s exclusivity with Apple Music makes Siri the least compatible with other streaming services. To add to this, you must be subscribed to Apple Music to allow Siri to play music. 

If you want to use Siri HomePod to play music, use AirPlay to stream media from your Apple device to your HomePod. Sadly, since you are using a different streaming service, Siri will not be of assistance. 

Directions and Navigation

IVAs can be your best friend when going around the city. They can help you by giving exact locations and the ETA according to your preferred method of travel, through foot, transit, or vehicle. So for example, Vista Recto by Vista Residence is a condo in Manila. It is located along C.M. Recto Avenue. You may need help getting here since it is a very busy road. 

It is important to note that this field in IVA is not as developed as others which is why it will not be as helpful. 

For starters, Siri is quite helpful since it can give the user direction, an ETA, and even automatically start GPS navigation. Unfortunately, Siri can barely give Transit directions. To add to this, Siri cannot answer questions about traffic since it just redirects you to the iOS Maps application. 

Google Assistant does a bit of a better job than Siri in terms of directions and navigation. Just like Siri, Google Assistant can give the user directions, an ETA, and automated GPS navigation. Where the latter gets the edge is the ability to give Transit directions along with giving other suggestions of travel (like the bus or traveling on foot). In addition to this, Google Assistant can more or less give a traffic overview with navigation from Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze. 

Alexa does a worse job in directing and navigating among the three. It does give directions to local spots but does not provide an ETA. Alexa also cannot comprehend questions about transit directions and traffic conditions. 

The shortcoming of all three IVAs is the inability to comprehend other navigation questions and convey information taken from apps and the internet. 

For instance, all three IVAs are unaware of public transportation timeslots. They will not be able to answer when the buses open or when the last train is. 

Communications

Interacting with a robot might still be weird enough, even at this age of Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology. So use IVA to interact with someone real instead. It is as convenient as talking with Vista Residence agents trying to help you find your new ready for occupancy condo. 

Alexa allows you to communicate with other Alexa users through call, text, or voice messages. The catch: The phone number being contacted must be an Alexa user. Also, SMS will only work if you have the Alexa app on your Android smartphone. If you have Amazon Echo speakers, it contains an intercom feature that allows you to broadcast messages through Echo speakers around the house. This feature is an excellent addition to your condo design. 

For Google Assistant, you can make calls to anyone in your cellphone contacts but you will need to use Google Voice or Google Fi — however, both are not available in the Philippines. If that was not enough, you will need to connect your device to IFTTT to be able to use Google Assistant to send text and audio messages. Perhaps when availability expands past North America, Google Assistant will be more useful to Filipinos. 

Siri provides the most flexibility when contacting others. You can send a text, make a call, and even send an email through Siri to anyone of your contacts. You can even integrate Siri with other third-party call and text applications like WhatsApp and Viber. Too lazy to even reach for your phone to view a message? Just ask Siri to read the message to you out loud. Finally, among the three, only Siri can contact emergency services. 

Availability

As the old cliché goes, availability is the best ability. There’s no point getting an IVA that will not be able to assist you with your condo living since it is not available. At the end of the day, the best IVA for your condo design is something that can actually be used. 

As aforementioned, Amazon has the most third-party connections. They also have a large offering of home speakers, like the Amazon Dot or Amazon Echo, among others. For smartphones, some LG and Motorola phone models have Alexa built into them. Amazon also offers the Echo Show, a smart display — stationary like a smart speaker but with a touchscreen for watching videos, video calls, viewing photos, and an IVA at your disposal. 

For Google, their marquee smart speaker is the Google Home. They also released a Google Home Mini which is smaller, and the Google Home Max which provides maximum sound quality. Right now, Google is working to add its IVA to numerous Android phones and even iOS (albeit limited). They also working to add Google Assistant to more third-party smart speakers. As of now, Google only has two smart displays, the Google Home Hub and the Google Nest Hub Max. Adding to this is a third-party smart display, the Lenovo Smart Display. 

Apple only has HomePod as the company’s smart speaker. It also has no smart display. However, Siri is widely available in all Apple products, from the iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. So even if Apple has no smart display, these products obviously do have a screen.   

Smart Home

One’s home is probably where IVAs are most utilized. Nowadays, people turn their condo into a smart home as part of their condo living. This is done by buying the right smart speakers paired with smart home appliances to make the smart condo design. 

Amazon’s Alexa is the most popular smart home speaker with Amazon Echo speakers leading the way in terms of sales. With Alexa built-in to these speakers, this popularity has led to Amazon Echo speakers being compatible with 140,000 smart devices. 

Compared to Amazon, the smart speakers of Google, Google’s Nest, and Apple’s HomePod are nowhere near the number of connections Amazon made with third-party smart devices. 

Google claims that Google’s Nest (built-in with Google Assistant) is compatible with over 50,000 smart devices, just a bit over a third of Amazon’s connectivity with others. Google did say that they have been working to increase that number. 

For Apple, Siri started out as an iOS and macOS assistant. However, due to the market for smart home speakers, Apple has entered the competition with Siri HomePod as their poster smart home speaker. Being new to this, Apple has yet to develop as many connections as Google Assistant and Alexa. If you check Apple’s compatibility with other smart devices, the number is around 600. 

That being said, Amazon’s Alexa and Echo speakers are a no-brainer if you want a smart assistant to help with your condo living. 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so the best IVA depends on whoever is using it. Choosing the right IVA for you is all a matter of preference. 

Among the many different users of IVA, a user may prioritize a specific category therefore he/she will deem it the more superior IVA. In different cases, a user may own many products belonging to one brand, therefore it will be best to use the IVA provided by that same brand. For example, iPhone and Mac users will likely lean towards Siri. Businesses using Google-dominated services will opt to use Google Assistant. And smart home enthusiasts will go with Alexa as their condo living IVA. 

The three IVAs discussed have different purposes and some have achieved different levels of advancement. So despite the differences, just make a decision based on what fits you as the user. 

Vista Residences is the condominium arm of the country’s largest homebuilder, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., which offers ready for occupancy and pre-selling condominium projects in Manila and Quezon City that are strategically located within inner-city areas, in close proximity to premium universities and developed business districts.

At Vista Residences, unit owners can take advantage of the property’s centrality. The properties of Vista Residences are strategically located near the country’s premium universities and CBDs, making them an attractive investment for both local and foreign investors.

Living in Vista Residences enables you to enjoy convenience, where everything is pretty much within walking distance or a few minutes away from the property; comfort because the project features and amenities are designed to deliver comfort at all times, which makes condo living a worthy investment; security that is 24/7 and CCTV monitoring, which makes the residents safe and secure within the property.

In line with Vista Residences’ thrust to offer convenience among its residents, it also features an AllDay Convenience Store and Coffee Project in all its projects.

For more information on Vista Residences, email [email protected], follow @VistaResidencesOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, or call the Marketing Office at 0999 886 4262 / 0917 582 5167.