If you have a litany of different smart gadgets in you home like Philips Hue lights, Unikey door locks, Nest or EcoBee smart thermostats, Belkin WeMo switches, Dropcam, Fitbit, Jawbone, or Sonos speakers; you’re going to love this new app.
Freshly launched yesterday afternoon in the Google Play store, Shortcut allows you to interact with a wide variety of connected devices by using voice commands. In the words of co-founder Duy Huynh, it’s basically like “Siri for the Internet of Things.”
This app addresses one of the biggest problems plaguing today’s DIY smart homes; the fact that you often need to fire up a separate app for each device you want to control. There are a few companies that have addressed this interface problem (like Revolv for example) and others (like Enblink) have dabbled in voice control, but this is the first app we’ve heard of that combines the two to create a unified voice-control platform for all of your gear.
Shortcut currently supports a pretty sizable range of popular smart home devices, and the company is moving quickly to add more. It uses public APIs to connect to the gadgets when available, and when they’re not, Shortcut works directly with the company in question to develop custom integration. Currently, Shortcut is working on a number of connections that aren’t publicly launched just yet — including several of the above mentioned integrations (Sonos, Jawbone, EcoBee, and Unikey), and even a few for lesser-known devices like the PebbleBee, Rocki, BTMATE, OBD LINK, Greenbox, and Rachio.
The coolest part is that, much like Siri, Shortcut is designed to understand natural speech. You don’t have to phrase your commands in a certain order to get them them to work — you can just spout off whatever you want, and so long as it pertains to home control, it should work. The team behind the app built it with a natural language processor geared toward understanding a range of short commands related to home automation, so you can say things like “turn up the temperature,” “unlock the door,” or “turn on the lights,” and it’ll know what you mean.