We have a set of home automation devices. We also have devices that group them together so they can be used in ways that are personal to us.
For example, when I say “Alexa, turn on the Den”, the high-hat lights in the den turn on, as do two lamps. The wall switches only make the high-hats turn on/off. But by using Alexa, I can add different lights to the group, and turn them on/off or dim/brighten them, even though they are connected to different switches or circuits. It’s possible to connect every electrical device in the house, and turn them all on/off with a single voice command.
Our entertainment center is also personalized. If I say “Alexa, turn on ESPN” the TV, cable box, and receiver turn on, and the cable box is tuned to the correct channel number.
While this is great, it’s also a problem. Voice commands are as difficult to remember as passwords. If you don’t use them often, it’s easy to forget them. A forgotten voice command is useless.
Also, I can set up as many easy-to-remember voice commands as I like, but that doesn’t mean anyone else in my house will remember them, or know they exist. People come to my house and have no idea how to turn on TV or turn off the lights. I need to spend a few minutes giving them instructions, which they often forget a minute later.
Logitech and Philips sell buttons that can be set to control devices. The buttons can be programmed to do multiple things (one button can turn off all lights in the house, or turn on the entertainment devices, or whatever). I think buttons are easier to use than voice controls, but seem like a step backward. If you are going to use multiple buttons, you might as well go back to using 3 remote controls to work your TV.
I don’t know if there is a solution to this. But it’s funny that the more personal we make our home, the more incomprehensible it becomes to everyone else.