Smart assistants

Advances in voice-activation technology, such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod allow you to control your computer, mobile phone, even lights and heating using your voice alone.

With a smart assistant, you can:

  • Play music and audiobooks
  • Request recipes
  • Check the weather
  • Control your TV
  • Set reminders and alarms
  • Take notes
  • Get answers to a variety of questions
  • Play games and listren to jokes.

Getting started

So how do these assistants work, and what exactly do they do?

One thing to remember is that you will need a smartphone or tablet computer and Wi-Fi in order to set up your assistant. Once installed, your assistant can perform many functions without using the accompanying app.

Once set up on your Wi-Fi, the assistants sit quietly in the corner and wait for a particular command such as "OK Google" or "Alexa". What happens next is down to you.

Easy to learn

Smart assistants are designed soley to respond to voice commands. The beauty here is that as a visually impaired user, there is nothing additional to learn: you can interact with the device in exactly the same way as a sighted person. You don't have to put up with work-arounds or struggle with menus, you just need to talk and listen.

More advanced functions

Smart assistants can also be linked with compatible telecare and home automation applications. That means you can control lighting, heating, music and other household appliances purely with your voice, and set up your device to alert chosen people if you need assistance.

Our Tech Talk volunteers can help you with smartphones, tablets and computers through email or telephone support. Call the Advice and Information Service on 0300 3030 111