The VoicePod by HouseLogix is finally available for integration in your home. Just say “give me VoicePod,” and it’s yours. Well, it’s not exactly that easy. You have to call your local Control4 dealer and have them install it, but that’s pretty easy too.
VoicePod is a device that works with Control4 automation systems and allows voice control over just about anything that the home automation system can do. Instead of tapping on a wall-mounted touchpanel, looking for a remote, or flipping through apps on your iPhone, all you have to do is tell the VoicePod what you want, and it happens.
We first heard about VoicePod at the 2012 CEDIA Expo when it was clearly one of the coolest things at the show. A few months later I was lucky enough to try it out in my home as part of a Control4 system based around Sony’s STA-2800ES receiver (read the Sony review here). By just speaking out commands like “watch Blu-ray” or “lower lights” I could operate any of the integrated parts of my home theater room.
The product has been in development by HouseLogix for a while, and now the company is ready to release it to the public. It’s small enough to be mounted on a wall or cabinet without being noticed, or the installer can hook up an external microphone. Large homes can use two or more VoicePods.
VoicePod is speaker-independent, and requires no voice training, so anyone in the household can use it with the same effectiveness. It works on the Zigbee platform, which Control4 uses, so any commands given to the VoicePod are transmitted wirelessly to the home’s controller. In addition to doing things like operating home theater gear, turning down lights or opening shades, the VoicePod can also report on a home’s security status or give you a weather forecast.
VoicePod sounds like a homerun for people who need a hands-free approach to home control, such as homeowners with disabilities, but it’s a good option for anyone, especially for things that you’d normally do while moving about the house—such as managage lights, temperature, shades or music. Sedentary activities, like watching TV, seem more naturally suited for a physical remote (or touchpanel).
The VoicePod cost $650, and you can get one through your Control4 dealer.
You can see my review of the VoicePod here.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.