Shortcut App Lets You Control Home Devices With Voice Commands

Techcrunch ran a post this week about Shortcut, a voice-enabled mobile app that helps you control all the connected devices within your home. The company behind the Shortcut app was founded by Duy Huynh, Justin Lucas, and Binh Nguyen and is backed by 500-Startups.

ShortcutThe basic idea behind Shortcut is that we need a simple way to control the numerous different devices that already surround us in our homes, or are about to surround us. How can we really benefit from smart toasters and coffee makers and thermostats, lights and door locks, if we have to call up a separate app and interface for every single device? That would almost be like having to grab a separate remote to interact with each individual channel on our TV set.

And why settle for a dumb remote when we can use voice technology to simply talk to the controller? Shortcut is like a mobile personal assistant specifically trained to control all your smart devices based on simple voice commands. Huynh and his team aren’t trying to create an assistant that you can really converse with. The Shortcut app is only trained to understand and execute targeted commands for specific devices.

According to Techcrunch, the app takes advantage of public APIs to connect to third-party devices that offer them. It works with companies such as Sonos, Jawbone, EcoBee, Unikey and others to develop integrations where public APIs aren’t available.

Yesterday I wrote about Bill Meisel’s summary of the Mobile Voice Conference 2014. Meisel mentioned specialized personal assistants, which have targeted abilities in specific areas. Our personal assistants of the near future may know how to control smart devices for us, relieving us of the burden of learning how all these complex systems work. We can look forward to the day when we can just ask the mobile assistant to turn up the A/C and the music, start the coffee maker an hour later in the morning, and record a favorite TV show. The assistant will send all the required instructions to each device and make our wishes come true. Someday we might even be able to have a true conversation with that same virtual assistant while we’re waiting for our coffee to brew!

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