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What is a smart display and do you need one?

What is a smart display and do you need one? This article attempts to answer the question regarding smart display and if you need it?
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and do you need one? The smart speaker is now a well-known phenomenon, but since this year we also see more and more smart displays – or smart displays – appear on the market. What is a smart display exactly and do you need one? We’ll explain it to you in this article.

What is a smart display?

The Amazon Acho Show, the Lenovo Smart Display and the Google Home Hub. All three are so-called smart displays. In the simplest way we could say that a smart display is the same as a smart speaker, but with a display for more possibilities.

The smart speaker

Then let’s start with what a smart speaker is. That is (often) a wireless speaker that you can place anywhere in the house and that is equipped with a voice assistant. This could be Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, for example. These voice assistants all have an underlying platform to which you can link various devices and services. For example, you can connect your Hue lighting to the Alexa platform, connect your Nest thermostat to the Google Home platform or connect your smart door lock to Apple’s Siri. The support is very broad for all assistants; the most famous smarthome products can therefore be linked to all platforms. You can also link services such as cloud storage, your streaming services, your calendar and your mail to the platforms.

The voice assistant can give you commands, ask questions and let you think along with you. You do this by saying a ‘wake-up word’ or phrase, for example “Alexa” or “Hey, Google”, after which the assistant listens to you. For example, you can give the voice assistant the command to adjust the lighting (if connected), you can ask to read your agenda, you can request it again, you can have your favorite music played or you can schedule an appointment. The possibilities are endless, so we would like to refer you to our page about voice control , where you will find the most important options.

A smart speaker is therefore a multimedia device with access to your own media, your own services and your own smart home equipment. All this in particular thanks to the integration of a speech assistant and the corresponding platform. However, not all media and applications can be shown purely through audio. Sometimes you need some images, at least to make something more transparent. And this is where the smart display comes into play.

The evolution: the smart display

A smart display is the evolution of the smart speaker, because in addition to a speaker with its associated capabilities, the device comes with a screen. Think of it as a tablet, often on a stand. This display offers even more possibilities to use the speech assistant optimally and to display your own media. Think of showing YouTube videos, showing the weather forecast, showing recipes while cooking, surfing the internet, viewing your calendar or even making video calls with family or friends. The ability to display images unlocks so many more functions and more and more manufacturers are responding to this. More and more interesting options are also being developed. For example, Amazon in the US has the option of shopping in the Amazon store through the Amazon Echo Show,

Smart displays are not just ordinary screens; they are also touchscreens. This means that you are not solely and completely dependent on voice control. So you can operate the screen with your fingers and use the device as a tablet. This is especially useful if you want to do some browsing, quickly find something, or browse photos. However, be aware that in many cases smart displays are not full-fledged tablets and therefore come with a simplified interface that you can use quickly and see from a distance. Also, not all smart displays, such as the Google Home Hub, are equipped with a camera.

At the moment there are only smart displays with Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant. Amazon itself has developed the Amazon Echo Show with Alexa, while Facebook comes with the Portal Plus , also featuring Alexa. The JBL Link View , the Lenovo Smart Display and the Google Home Hub have the Google Assistant. Prices are on average between 150 and 300 euros, and screen sizes are between 7-inch and 10-inch.

Do you need a smart display?

Now that we have had the first generation of smart displays – at least in the US – we can say that the teething problems have largely disappeared and that the design is also being considered. After all, the display must fit into the interior. We are also working hard on additional options for the display. So we see that this category is maturing quickly and that the screen really gets an added value.

However, in the Netherlands we are still a bit behind when it comes to voice control. After all, the majority of consumers do not even have a smart speaker at home. As soon as the trend really gets a foothold in the Netherlands – which will happen as soon as the assistants also speak fluent Dutch and the products reach the shops – we expect things to go fast. Perhaps cautious at first; with a cheaper smart speaker. In the future, we will see several of these speakers throughout the house, with one or two smart displays as a kind of hub, for example in the living room and bedroom. These products offer slightly more options and are therefore central points in the house.

A smart display really adds value to the house (keeping) when you make optimal use of the possibilities. Do you have a lot of smart home equipment that you can connect and want to operate via one platform? Would you like to show recipes in the kitchen? Do you want a display next to your bed on which you can watch some videos or series? It depends on how you want to use the functions of the screen, and especially how you want to use it as a family. Unlike a smartphone, a smart display can serve as a hub for the whole family. For controlling the music, showing photos, controlling the lighting or viewing the image coming from the video doorbell.

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