Pretty soon, smart home products may not even have buttons on them depending on how many people continue to rely on increasingly sophisticated voice commands. The latest smart home manufacturer to add a new bell or whistle to its popular line of products is Neato Robotics, the Newark, California-based company that designs some of our favorite vacuum cleaners right here at home, while porting manufacturing over to China.
The company announced that it’s adding support for Siri Shortcuts to its latest firmware update. That means owners of the popular intelligent robots will soon be able to access user-generated voice commands. Neato says the new features will be available this fall and work on all of the company’s current models. The vacuums are also expected to be HomeKit-friendly, so users can issue commands from Apple’s HomePod smart speaker, as well as from iPhones and iPads.
Initially, Neato says that users can use Siri to tell the robots to start cleaning, pause cleaning, dock, or go to base. Users will also be able to use voice commands to tell them to clean designated zones and recognize customized no-go lines. Meanwhile, the products’ onboard machine learning intelligence will learn user routines and provide suggestions.
Neato’s top-of-the-line, flagship Botvac D7 Connected model continues to be one of our top-rated robot vacuum cleaners, but it’s still a pricey piece of smart home equipment at $830. That said, Neato has always been good about offering a wide variety of products at a number of different price points to fit distinct lifestyles, from the $400 D3, to D4s and D5s that fall in the $500 range, to the D6, which tops $700 but has most of the features of the Botvac D7 on board.
The company continues to develop new innovations and models, while promoting features and capabilities that are fairly unique to its products, including laser-guided mapping, zone cleaning, quick boost charging, and the aforementioned no-go lines.
The company, which has around 65 employees, was recently purchased by the German diversified corporate group Vorwork but continues to function as an independent operation. The company’s first model, the XV-11 robotic vacuum, was released in 2010, while the completely redesigned Botvac models first came to market in 2014.
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