The Ultimate Guide to Smart Speakers Accessorizing That Smart Speaker

Accessorizing That Smart Speaker

When a speaker was just a speaker, we never saw lists of the best albums that worked with it. But now that speakers have become smart, we’re inundated with all types of gadgets that work best with Alexa or one of her competitors. It’s almost as if letting a smart speaker into the home serves as a Trojan horse that usheres in a legion of other smart devices.

Who knew that the home-automation revolution would be commanded by your voice?

For example, who let in the Furbo Dog Camera, the device with connected app that lets you see, talk, and even toss treats to your dog when you’re away?

Once you’ve enabled the voice skill on your Furbo account, you can start tossing treats to your dog by saying things like:

“Alexa, ask Furbo to toss a treat every 30 seconds for five minutes.”

“Alexa, ask Furbo to toss a treat every 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.”

The rub is that the voice command to Alexa must be given or set up when you’re still at home and within shouting distance of your speaker. And it has to be the master’s voice giving the command—at least for now.

There are now so many appliances that can be voice activated. After a popcornand chips-fueled game night with a few of your messiest friends, you might want to utter these words: “Alexa, ask Roomba to start cleaning.” It’s the least you could do—though only after you’ve opened the Alexa app and searched for the iRobot Home skill in a one-time setup.


The selection of smart devices that can be voice controlled is mind-boggling. There are door locks, cookers, electrical outlets, and thermostats. TV sets from Sony, Hisense, LG, and Samsung (the latter through Samsung’s own Bixby platform). Light bulbs and fixtures like the Philips Hue, soundbars and speakers like the Polk Command Bar and the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A6, streaming devices like Google Chromecast, and universal remotes from Logitech’s Harmony line. And so much more.

Where it all ends is anyone’s guess. At this year’s CES, Kohler introduced a collection of voice-controlled bathroom products, including a mirror with personalized lighting and stereo speakers. And then there was the company’s new toilet, the Numi, with heated seat, foot warmer, and hands-free control.

“Alexa, ask Kohler to flush the toilet.”

As Stephen Colbert quipped, “The one thing my trips to the bathroom were missing was a cloud-connected computer recording the experience and uploading my download.”—MA

barfle's picture

A new product scares the crap out of me. This is one. I don't know so far if the story is true, but there was a recent news item about a smart speaker sending conversations from one person's home to a friend of his. It was apparently an issue of permissions and a bug or two, but yes, this is permitting a large, impersonal company to bug your home.

I'll stay a luddite on this for a while.