How Does a Smart Speaker Work? [Massive Guide]

A smart speaker is a speaker that is connected to the internet and is connected to a database that can allow the speaker to provide information back to the user. Smart speakers are able to answer questions, they can give feeds, can tell you the time, can control smart devices in your house, and much more.

How Does a Smart Speaker Work?
The Smart Speaker on the Table

How do smart speakers work?

A key to making your home smart involves voice recognition. From a functional standpoint, this application of artificial intelligence aims to understand the words being said rather than exclusively focusing on translating speech into text. Why is voice recognition so important? By detecting emotions and applying correspondingly appropriate actions, voice recognition can make or break the public’s perception of your product.

Different manufacturers use different voice recognition systems for their creations. We’ve covered this topic before, but a refresher can’t hurt! Apple Siri is one of the most well-known assistants, having recently come out with iPhone 7. Apple intends to roll out Siri to many more devices in the future. Microsoft provides its Cortana program on Windows 10 and various other products it has created such as the Surface laptops. Google Home series speakers use the Google Assistant voice recognition user interface – a feature that allows you to ask questions and get answers in real-time much like you would by asking your computer or mobile phone assistant anything! The Amazon Echo series speakers use Alexa as an intelligent personal assistant where users can help them do almost anything they must do around the house: play music, stream podcasts and news, set alarms and reminders, control smart home devices, and much more.

A smart speaker system is a small device that can be programmed to carry out many tasks. Primarily, it consists of two parts: a microphone and a controller. Before talking to a smart speaker, one can simply ask the device to listen by saying the “wake word” that’s programmed into it (typically “Alexa” or “Hey Siri”). Therefore, when someone says this specific word, the speaker will start listening for further commands.

Alexa and other similar products have a keyword (or phrase) that is used to activate it. If you want to change this keyword, you can do so under Settings on the Alexa app.

Once a system is activated, it stores and sends recordings to places like Amazon’s AVS (Alexa Voice Services) cloud service. This can allow developers to access more data on how their products are being used by their customers. For example, the Amabot has the ability to log voice commands given to one version of Alexa (as you learned in class), but another version of Alexa is able to respond only with music. If a user was playing music on her device and issued a command for a cooking recipe, she’d then receive an error message from the system. With additional data from our product’s backend, we’d be able to identify that as an issue and push out a fix without having to manually pore over system logs.

The sound recognition service deciphers the speech and then sends an answer back to the smart speaker.

How does Voice Recognition Work?

The voice recognition software learns how to synchronize with your own personal speech patterns over time, and becomes more accurate as it collects and analyzes information related to how the person listens. This technology becomes more reliable over time, because of its increasing understanding of each user’s vocabulary.

There are a couple of stages that have to be passed through when setting up your smart speakers. Indeed, normally it’s necessary to run through some “learning” process for the devices you’ve assembled in order for them to work as intended.

Origins of smart speakers and smart displays

The idea of a smart speaker might originate from the science fiction genre, but today they are very much a reality. Have you ever tried talking to an automated phone system and either thought it was stupid and needed to be more intuitive or just wished there was a person that could understand your voice commands? Well, Google Home is one of the most popular and well-designed tools in this field right now – with reviewers rating it 4.2/5 on Amazon.

By this measure, at least, the year 2015 was when the virtual assistant as we know it became mainstream. The first mainstream virtual assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, made its debut on store shelves and in living rooms that same year. Users were amazed that simply speaking “Alexa” could help them perform all sorts of useful tasks with just a few spoken words; tasks as searching for recipes, adjusting home lighting settings and the thermostat, and ordering supplies from other vendors (like toilet paper!), setting up alarms and reminders, ordering a ride home from work when they needed it…and so many more — all of which would be voiced to them instantly. And all without picking up our phones or opening any apps.

We can all agree that a picture is worth 1,000 words, so if you have a smart speaker handy a smart display could be even more useful to you. If you prefer seeing overhearing, wouldn’t an update on the traffic situation in real-time come in handy? Or say you’re trying to cook something from scratch with a recipe already loaded onto the screen isn’t it easier for you to just quickly scan through instructions rather than wait for your Echo device to read out each line individually?

Smart displays are the newest devices to enter the digital assistant market. In 2018, Lenovo released its Smart Display which looks like a tall side table with a large screen. The device links up to other techs such as voice-activated speaker systems or televisions. As of April 2019, there are seven smart displays on the market from manufacturers such as Google and Amazon.

Smart speaker speech recognition process

The science of speech recognition has advanced significantly in recent years. Although it was once considered almost theoretical to the point of being curiosities, Speech Recognition is now used commercially in a variety of different fields from Smart Speakers to Virtual Personal Assistants, and many other applications that rely on seamless communication between a computer and someone utilizing its features without having to speak one-to-one with the device itself.

While many people listen to others talk and can also understand what they are saying, it’s something that is very difficult to achieve when undertaken by computers.

Computers are programmed to recognize individual “phonemes” or sections of words. Phones get linked to other phones so that they effectively become different words. An example can illustrate how this works.

However there are variations on this basic theme, the basic concept is the same for all speech recognition systems.

Data Security

We know there are a lot of concerns around stolen accounts but it’s important to realize that voice hacking does not necessarily mean hacking into one’s device – rather, it involves the recording or mimicry of one’s voice and then concocting a dupe (or “spoof”) account.

It has been found that most automatic speaker verification systems are not able to detect whether a recording has been previously recorded, but it is also noted that new and up-to-date systems will be created to ensure they can recognize and determine if there is any previously recorded audio.

Something that has been worrying a lot of people is that some might say certain smart speaker systems have been made in such a way that they are more responsive than intended to continuous noises, for example when one listens to music on their phones or nearby radios. However, it does not appear to be a serious issue at all.

Smart speakers are convenient but they pose some great risks. One of the biggest issues with smart speakers set up in your home, or anywhere else for that matter, is the security of the system. The Wi-Fi network and any devices connected to it all need unique passwords to prevent hackers from getting into your network and taking over. Another way hackers can gain access is by exploiting weak passwords that people often use because they are too lazy to think of something more complicated but when you consider that a hacker only needs one password to take over a whole list of other services then it should serve as a wakeup call for everyone.

The technology for smart speakers is more advanced than ever before and their use will continue to increase. The future looks bright for this type of innovative speaker! They can connect to the outside world through voice recognition, something that the new and improved Google Home Mini seems to carry out best. Smartphones are already able to support this feature, which further cements its crucial role in communication and connectivity. As a result of this, users will be able to control other smart devices such as washing machines, air con units, and internet-based streaming platforms through speaking commands too.


Smart speakers are a dream come true for many people. They are an incredible way of using voice commands to do all kinds of things, including setting reminders, playing music, searching the internet, and even controlling your home. The possibilities are endless, and most people discover new ways to use their smart speakers every day. We hope you found this article on how smart speakers work to be helpful and informative. If you have any further questions on your smart speaker device, please feel free to contact us anytime at _. We are always happy to help our customers.

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