Two major manufacturers have unveiled products that work with Amazon’s Alexa.
The next generation of consumer convenience has arrived in homes, and now the pool industry is wading into its waters.
The industry now has two automation systems that can work with Amazon's Alexa voice-command device. Pentair Aquatic System’s ScreenLogic2 Interface has been out for a little more than a year, and Hayward Pool Products currently is rolling out an updated OmniLogic Pool & Backyard Automation System. Both are compatible with Alexa.
Amazon's system, along with Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant all are voice-activated personal assistants that have been known to connect with smart devices for home automation. Amazon has the largest market share in voice-controlled speakers, at around 70%. In the pool and spa space, Alexa gets connected to automated control systems, fountains and lighting, so the customer can use voice commands in place of smart-device touch screens.
Manufacturers see voice activation as the next step because it adds to convenience, said David MacCallum, product manager of automation and chemical control systems for Sanford, N.C.-based Pentair.
For now, voice technology remains under development. The Amazon device only understands commands delivered in a certain way. Alexa has something called skills, which interact with the app, explained Greg Fournier, senior product manager for automation and backyard synergy at Elizabeth, N.J.-based Hayward. A customer would need to tell Alexa to ask Hayward or ask Pentair to check pool temperature. The voice-command device then accesses the pool/spa app and does what you want.
Not surprisingly, the technology is most popular among the 35-to-45-year age group, the manufacturers said.
Each producer plans to make devices compatible with other brands based on customer demand.
“I think it’ll go from a nice-to-have to a must-have,” Fournier said, “similar to [how] GPS started as nice-to-have and became standard.”
This article was originally written by Rena Goldman and appeared here.