• Older man using a mobile device to adjust hearing aid volume.

Have you ever walked into a room and heard someone say, "OK Google", "Alexa", or Siri?" These are voice commands for Voice Assistants using artificial intelligence (AI) to play music, read the news, control electronic devices, check the weather and a myriad of other tasks. Voice Assistants uses AI and machine learning to recognize your voice and do a task that you ask. Voice Assistants can perform many daily tasks to help other adults age in place by providing personalized support. Some of these areas include information searches, entertainment, environmental control, social communication, health and daily life management.

Voice Assistants are like having a personal assistant to help with tasks, answer questions and set reminders. They will give you a voice activated response. The more AI is used, the smarter it gets by learning your preferences. The most well-known Voice Assistants are Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Google Assistant (Google) and Bixby (Samsung). Voice Assistant software is found on smart speakers and watches, mobile phones, tablets and laptops and other devices. Many are now compatible with electrical appliances like refrigerators, ovens, thermostats, light bulbs, etc.

Google Assistant Speaker
Google Assistant Speaker
Some Examples of Tasks Voice Assistants Can Do:
  • Getting directions or traffic reports
  • Weather Report
  • Latest news or streaming podcasts
  • Adding tasks to a calendar
  • Getting reminders- to take medicine or manage appointments
  • Listening to music
  • Checking bank balances
  • Controlling other devices - fans, lights, thermostats, appliances
  • Providing information that would normally be searched using the internet
  • Making phone calls

A smart plug is a small Wi-Fi power adapter that you can purchase to connect a fan, light, tv or other device and use your Voice Assistant to control. This is helpful for those that have mobility challenges.

A smart light bulb allows you to control lighting remotely or by voice. You can turn lights on or off, dim them or make them brighter. Some come with different color options. This can prevent falls if getting up in the middle of the night or returning home with your arms full of groceries. There is a smart bulb for about any size lamp or fixture. They range in price depending on features.

When using Voice Assistants and smart technologies it is important to remember that there are steps to consider to protect your privacy and data security. The Federal Trade Commission has some tips to follow on "How to Secure your Voice Assistant and Protect your Privacy:" Consumer Tips to Secure and Protect Privacy.

Learning More

Curious? Want to learn more about how to use these applications? Click on the links in the references section to access guides.


TechSAge RERC. (2024, May 22). Amazon Basic User Guide. Amazon Echo User Guide

TechSAge RERC. (2024, May 22). ECHO Health Applications. Health Applications Guide

TechSAge RERC. (2024, May 22). Environmental Control. Smart Plugs and Smart Bulbs Guides

TechSAge RERC. (2024, May 22). Social Communication. ECHO Social Communication Guide

TechSAge RERC. (2024, May 22). Amazon Echo Set Up guides, Smart Bulb, Smart Plug and Health Applications and for Android Users. https://techsage.gatech.edu/resources/tools

FTC. (2024, May 22). How to Secure your Voice Assistant and Protect your Privacy.  Consumer Tips to Protect Privacy

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