Google Home’s edge lies in wealth of data and processing power: Leviton

Google Home’s edge lies in wealth of data and processing power: Leviton
Tom Leonard, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management for Leviton’s Energy Management Controls & Automation Division, spoke with SMAhome to discuss the Google Home platform and its advantages.

1. What product of yours is compatible with Google Home? Will you make more products become compatible with Google Home?

Earlier this year, Leviton announced the expanded capabilities of the Decora Smart™ with Wi-Fi Technology lighting controls to be directly compatible with Google Home. More specifically, the recently introduced product family is a partner of the Works with Google Assistant program, offering a smart, hubless lighting control solution as part of a robust home automation experience. Decora Smart with Wi-Fi Technology users can utilize Google Home, a voice-enabled speaker powered by the Google Assistant, to easily control smart devices as well as interior and exterior lights around the home.

Because our customers are interested in having smart lighting options that seamlessly integrate into their homes, we cater to each homeowner’s preference and create dedicated, pure products that tie into other ecosystems, like Google Home. In the future, we’ll continue to develop with consumer preference at the forefront, and adapt our products accordingly based on their desires.

2. Is Google Home an indispensable component of your product offering? What is your decision process for getting Google Home integration?

While not necessarily an indispensable component, having voice control over lighting provides consumers with a way to create a more safe, convenient and comfortable home. Smart lighting and voice control with Google Home has a “cool” factor that has recently created more of a demand from consumers, because at the end of the day, smart lighting is a trending solution that can increase consumers’ interactions with their home along with the home’s value.

A good example of the benefits and applications of voice control lighting is walking in the front door of your home at night with a full load of groceries in both hands. Instead of trying to feel and fumble for light switches, you can simply ask Google to turn the lights on for you so as not to trip and fall or spill your items.

The decision to include an integration with Google came about due to the vast use cases – watch, phone, or hardware in the house like the Google Home. Having capabilities spread across many third-party devices opens up the home to every family member. While Amazon may own a lot of the space today, Google has major potential with its wealth of data and processing power. Google is also adding additional devices to better compete in the home, offering a larger and smaller option.

3. How is Google Home different from Amazon Echo from your perspective? Is it easier to integrate with Google Home or Amazon Echo?

Google Home and Amazon Alexa bring similar features to the Decora Smart with Wi-Fi Technology product line, as both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa-enabled products are compatible with Leviton’s devices.

The Decora Smart with Wi-Fi Technology switches, dimmers and plug-in modules provide hubless, time-based schedules, free remote control from anywhere, and optional integrated voice control via the My Leviton app. The voice control compatibility works via both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. An example of a voice command would be “Ok, Google [or] Hey Alexa, Turn Chandelier to 10%.”

Honestly, both Amazon and Google are very easy for the customer to integrate. Within the My Leviton app, users simply press “Connections” and then enter their appropriate credentials. The steps are nearly identical. Additionally, the functionality provided to end-users is very similar at this time, with the ability to dim, brighten, and turn devices on or off.

4. Have you found any problems in Google Home? Is there anything you hope Google Home would do but is currently unavailable?

Voice controls, now that they’re found commonly throughout all of our homes, are driving unparalleled demand for third-party services and products, especially in the smart home space. These massive service providers, like Google, are learning more and getting smarter, adding new features, including groups to create automation schemes, and people are beginning to build complete eco-systems around them.
That said, we’ll continue to shift our product offerings to reflect consumer demand as the industry evolves over time. With the big players launching new devices in late 2017/early 2018, along with companies embedding those voice services into their own products, the opportunities are endless right now. Whole home voice is real, it’s here and it’s affordable.

Over time, we anticipate all voice control products will get smarter – from being able to run complete automation schemes like a full-blown control system, to being able to anticipate and decipher users and their needs – the future is whole house voice control, that’s certain.

5. Do your customers prefer Google Home or Amazon Echo to control your products? Why?

The beauty of connecting your devices to both Google and Amazon is that the customers can choose. It’s a nice balance based on the user’s preference. Some customers even use Amazon in one room and Google in another, or they’ll use the Google Assistant on their phone and Amazon hardware in the house. They can mix and match however they choose, which is great as each company introduces new products and features.
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