Two minutes ago, I added an Amazon Echo speaker to my Amazon shopping cart because it was just $53 and I’d been hoping to catch them on sale for weeks. Now I’m wondering if one can possibly have too many Echo speakers in a single house?
So, let me start by coming clean. I’m asking if there’s a limit to the amount of Echo speakers a sane person can have in a single dwelling because of the look someone gave me today when I told them I’d have six once this new one arrives.
Hear me out. I’ve slowly built out an entire smart infrastructure since purchasing my house two years ago. When I moved in, I had a two Hue light bulbs, a single color changing Hue Bloom, and just one Echo speaker. This apartment didn’t have a full wall separating the living room from my bedroom, so one speaker could reach the entire place.
Then I moved to my house. The first speaker sat in my office. I purchased an Echo Dot because I wanted one in my kitchen, only to replace it with a full-size model because the Dot’s audio quality was unbelievably bad. Then it made sense to have one in my new office upstairs once I moved out of my original sunroom work area. You know where this is going.
More space wasn’t the only catalyst for more speakers, though. I added more Hue bulbs inside, outside Hue lanterns, a smart thermostat, cameras, and a doorbell. All this stuff communicates with Alexa. Amazon has continued to add incredibly useful upgrades to them too; they’re now my multi-room speaker system, broken glass detectors, alarm clocks, and intercom. Pro tip: Echo speakers now make excellent Xbox One remotes.
At this point, there are just four places in the entire house without them. Two of those dead spaces are intentional — having an always listening speaker in bedrooms is where I draw the line, apparently. One of the other two spaces will get its very own speaker when this new Echo arrives.
Now, I’m not insensitive to privacy issues. I know that there have been cases where law enforcement sought out audio recordings from Amazon. (Personally, I’m banking on using the Echo speakers as an alibi in case i’m accused of a crime I didn’t commit. Ain’t being Black in America grand?) I know that the commands I give are being analyzed by Amazon workers to make them more accurate.
I’m banking on using the speakers as an alibi in case i’m accused of a crime I didn’t commit.
However, the outrage doesn’t resonate with me. Siri has been listening for voice commands on the iPhone for years now. My laptops, tablets, and smartphones have had webcams on them for as long as I can remember. I’ve had two Xbox One Kinect sensors listen to me constantly for voice commands and watch me so closely in motion games that they knew what my heart rate was. One of them actually sat in my bedroom.
So what say you folks? How many smart home devices do you have? When it comes to Alexa and Google Home, how much is too much? Where do you draw the line?
No pressure, but the future of the Amazon Prime order I just placed hangs in the balance.