Smart Speakers

The smart speaker industry is expected to grow 63% in 2019 (Deloitte). I have not been an early adopter of smart speakers because I wanted to scope out the market, gauge user adoption and weigh pros/cons for each option. The most popular options being: Alexa (Amazon), Google Assistant (Google) and Siri (Apple). Apple is my go-to for hardware (phone, laptop, watch) and I tend to prefer Google for services (i.e. calendar, mail). Given my perception, I’m curious to know if it will hold up in the smart speaker arena.

Before we get started I have a few biases / perceptions about smart speakers to disclose:

  1. I’m ~75% paranoid that someone on the other end will be “listening” to what’s going on in my home (see also Enemy of the State).
  2. Amazon scares me – they are getting too big and too involved…. in everything. (VICE News). So much so that I recently cancelled by Prime subscription. (see also RWA Series – Subscriptions).
  3. Apple seems “safe”. Washington Post
  4. I’m not interested in having a smart speaker that makes it easier / encourages me to buy anything or hear ads…. ever.
  5. I feel pretty confident that when Apple launches something new that it’s fully vetted, well thought out, tested and ready to go. Others sometimes just want to be first to the market and will launch anything to get a dollar, whether it truly “works” correctly/ideally or not.
  6. Having a lot of choices on which options to “connect to/use” is not my cup of tea. As an IT professional, I prefer to keep my personal technology choices/life simple!

Now, back to business – the business of choosing a smart speaker (Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri). One tech reporter summarizes the decision this way, “You are choosing your tribe… This decision will shape how you get information, what appliances you purchase, where you shop and how you protect your privacy.” Washington Post  To be honest, this article itself wasn’t very helpful; but the comments (781) were: “Here are my top 3:

  1. Why would I “invite” any of these devices into the privacy of my home?  Really, the speaker delivered a family’s conversation to one of their “contacts”?  It is unfortunate that a technology with the potential to be true assistants to those with disabilities, is just being marketed to the general public as a way to build databases to sell more stuff.
  2. Just remember, with all of these products YOU’RE the product. If you think you’re inundated by ads now, just wait. With these devices, your every move is being tracked inside your home and is put up for sale.
  3. Interesting how Apple has solved the privacy/security question. Basically it generates a pseudo random ID when you ask it a question, and that is what goes back to the cloud. So there is no way to associate your account with the action/query. 

I find it pretty interesting that not once have I even mentioned (or thought about) the actual features/benefits of smart speakers. What can they actually do? To be honest, I have no idea other than the general things I’ve heard/read about: turn on/off lights, set the thermostat, play music/movies, lock the doors, etc. Do I really need any of that? Nope. Do I actually want any of that? Nope. I don’t even use Siri on my iPhone. At this point, I cannot think of a single reason/way these items would enhance my life. That is what technology is supposed to do, right?

As this point I just need to point out one (obvious) thing – sometimes we get so caught up in making a decision about which technology to embrace, we forget why we want/need it in the first place. If I HAD TO CHOOSE, it would be Apple Home (privacy/security trumps EVERYTHING); but, to be honest I’m not at all even remotely moved to add a smart speaker my collection. Maybe that will change in the next 6-12 months; but, for now… I’m good! In case you are curious / intrigued, see also Best Smart Speakers 2019

In summary, be sure to let your LIFESTYLE & NEEDS help dictate what technology you embrace (bring into your home) and fully weigh the pros/cons of all options! Bri’s Recommendation on Smart Speakers? Just say no!

 

Bri’s Favorite Things 2018

It’s that time again! For the 5th year in a row I’m publishing Bri’s Favorite Things, which can also be used a Holiday Gift Guide for your friends and loved ones. (See also: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014).

Because it’s year FIVE, I’m going BIGGER and BETTER and offering you TONS of options, so…. BUCKLE UP!

BOOKS & WRITING

Becoming , Crazy Rich Asians, Make Your Bed, The Four Agreements, NotebookMildliner

TECH

AirPods, White Marble iPhone Case,*Tortoiseshell iPhone Case, HP Sprocket (case, paper), Marshall Bluetooth Speaker,*Popsocket, iPad Mini

BEAUTY

FARMACY Green Clean Makeup Meltaway, Benefit Brow Pencil, Travel Size CologneLipstickBloom Perfume

ACESSORIES

Double G Brooch,*Crystal Alphabet Charm, Supreme Backpack, Mini Pochette,*Gold Diamond Initial Necklace (Silver)

TV

Outlander (STARZ), Woman in White (PBS), The Crown (Netflix), Greenleaf (OWN)

CLOTHING & SHOES

Quarter-Zip Sharpa,*Houndstooth Tweed Jacket, Adidas Trefoil Tee,*Vogue Sweatshirt, Slippers, Rain Boots, Alabama Sweatshirt

Happy Shopping!

*items I do not own

 

Small Things (tech, fashion, beauty, accessories and more!)

I am not a fan of large things: from pieces of meat (i.e. steak) to handbags to jewelry, large (desktop) computers, bottles of lotion, you name it. Yes, I know that in most some cases you get a better “value” by purchasing things in the larger size or in bulk as we like to call it – I just tend to not do that. Particularly when it comes to beauty, my Small Things approach allows me to “cycle trough” products faster and try new things more frequently (fun!) without becoming a hoarder! When you purchase the big/value size you are locked in for what feels like forever!!!! 😩 The smaller version also makes for easier travel – you don’t have to spend time figuring out “what fits” in this bag or what fits in that bag, you can just take everything! One other factor that has recently become a bigger influence in my purchasing decision is packaging. For example, beauty products with no pump, spray or that doesn’t come in a tube? Count me out!

This post features a few of my favorite Small Things in tech, fashion, beauty, accessories and more! Some items I own and a few are on my *wish list. Most are also great ideas for Mother’s Day. 🌸 Enjoy!

 

Compact mirror – Yes, darling! A super cute item to splurge on. Keep it in your purse or give it as a gift!

 

 

 

 

 

Key pouch – This is my wallet… really! Why carry around 10 or 20 cards everyday?? On a typical day I only need 3 cards (ID, credit card, insurance card) and they all fit comfortably in this pouch with room to spare. Hook this to my keys and I’m out the door! Need to add cash? Also no problem. (I do own one regular-size wallet but I rarely use it!) #downsize

 

 

 

 

 

Hand cream and hand sanitizer in the smallest sizes available. OK, this one is really a twofer; but, they go hand in hand (get it? ha!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TSA Approved Quart Size Bag. Great for short weekend trips home or take it with you to the beach!

 

 

 

 

 

Bluetooth Speaker – Compact,  cute and the sound is good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Handbag: LOVE! Do I have larger handbags? Yes (a couple)! BUT if I’m not traveling or going to work this beauty will likely be at my side.

 

 

 

 

*Jewelry case. How much jewelry do you own? (I’ll wait…….) How many pieces do you consider to be staples, meaning pieces you wear regularly…. 🤔 For me, it’s 2-3 rings, a couple of bracelets, 2 pairs of earring studs (pearl, *diamond) and 1-2 necklaces, that’s it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laptop – Small, portable, gorgeous! Get rid of your dinosaur and DOWNSIZE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Moisturizing cream (night time only) – This is 1 of 2 of my pot-type exceptions for packaging; but, I do always buy the 0.5 ounce size for maximum freshness. This is one of very few exceptions for me when it comes to packaging, thanks to these mini disposable spatulas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch box. The perfect size, easy to clean and also includes a fork, knife and spoon. Plus it looks cooler than the typical tupperware 😬