So maybe we don’t yet have flying cars or robot maids (unless you count your Roomba), but if you have a smart-home assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home—and you’ve figured out the best smart-assistant routines to make your life easier—now you’re keeping up with the Jetsons.
Routines are the key to getting the most out of your voice-assistant device. And by combining each device’s preexisting commands with straightforward protocols like IFTTT (If This, Then That), you can not only streamline your life but also be sure that you’re conserving energy and saving money.
Here are the six essential routines for smart-home assistants:
The basic idea of a smart-assistant routine is that you can connect a number of actions to a single phrase. So when you say (for example), “Hey, Google, good morning!” or “Alexa, good morning!” your smart assistant can do whatever series of actions you set it up to do—like start playing energetic music to get you moving or sharing the day’s inspirational quote. In addition, if your house has smart devices that work with Amazon Echo, Google Home, or a home hub like Constellation Connect, you can include those in these routines.
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A well-tuned Good Morning Alexa routine or Google Assistant routine can really help you get the day started on the right foot. You can get dressed to “Walking on Sunshine,” come down to a fresh-brewed pot of coffee, catch up on the headlines and hear your to-do list for the day.
When you head out to work or school, you can use a Leaving Home smart-home routine to essentially switch your whole house to power-saving mode.
A Commuting to Work Alexa routine or Google Assistant routine is a useful thing—particularly since it is more likely to happen once you’re already in the car, when you should not be fiddling with your cell phone to get your favorite podcast to play. Still, your Commuting to Work routine can do a few things at home as well.
Like your Commuting to Work routine, your Commuting Home Alexa routine or Google Assistant routine is not so much about your house as it is about your interaction with your smartphone.
It’s such a natural instinct—you walk into your house and call out, “I’m home!” and even if you’re the first one there (or you live alone), with a smart-home system, there’s someone listening. Tweak your Alexa routine or Google Assistant routine to make your reentry at the end of your day as pleasant as possible.
The day is done, and you’re heading to bed. You could walk around the house, checking that the doors are locked, the thermostat is lowered, the dishwasher is running, your security system is engaged and half a dozen other end-of-day tasks. Or you could simply say, “Hey, Google! Bedtime!” or “Alexa, it’s time for bed” and let your Alexa routine or Google Assistant routine take over while you relax into stress-free slumber.
When looking at custom routines for Google Assistant vs. Alexa, there’s not a lot (right now) that differentiates them, particularly if you get into using (or even setting up new) applets via IFTTT. As both companies continue to work on improvements to their systems, they narrow the gap between them. For instance, both Google Assistant and Alexa now offer a wide range of smart-home appliances that they work with, allowing for ease of use and flexibility.
Here’s something fun: while we’ve given these six routines titles that clearly illustrate what time of day they’re happening—and therefore, what tasks might logically occur at that time of day—you’re not limited to these titles. Maybe you like to greet the day not with a placid “Good morning” but with a more enthusiastic “Look out, world!” Or maybe when you get home from work, you like to take your inspiration from Ricky Ricardo and shout, “Lucy, I’m home!” You can now title your routine anything you like—with either system.
In addition, the Amazon Echo system comes with hundreds of Alexa Skills, so it’s especially easy to set up more specific routines. Maybe you want a TGIF routine that orders a pizza and then plays your party mix at a high volume. Totally doable.
Using a well-planned Alexa routine or Google Assistant routine is a great way to make the most of your smart-home energy-saving potential. And the world is only going to get smarter from here.
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You do know that Alexa isn’t actually capable of doing a few of those things with the built in routines right? She can’t give location based reminders, or read emails, not as part of a routine at any rate.
Hi Chris, our post focuses on what Alexa or Google Home routines can do, collectively, not a comparison between which one can do and can’t. However, since the smart assistant market is growing, we’re expecting Alexa to be capable of many more things in the years to come!
Excellent info, Thank you.
We are both retired, not by choice, but are always home, my wife has fibromyalgia, and is usually up all night most of the time. January was one of the coldest ever, and as we have a 100% electric house with a heat pump, it is very hard to cut down on the electric usage. We replaced the windows and doors, and just had new NASA type insulation installed. cannot do much more than that. We have an adjustable thermostat, but we don’t leave to go to work, and my wife is up every night, so what is the point?
Some energy tips aren’t for everyone, and we respect that! You have a special situation, and like you said, turning down your thermostat during the day may not be optimal, especially if you stay in-home during the day. Some home routines with a smart assistant can help with daily tasks, but perhaps not with your electric energy.
However, we do have an article about energy conservation that might help reduce your electricity usage, even if you’re still running the heater at the same strength: What is Energy Conservation?
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