Raise your hand if you’re calling your smart speaker by saying its wake up word, then wait a second or two for it to light up. You may be surprised to know that you don’t have to wait for a response.
How Wake Word Detection Works
You probably know that your smart speaker is «always listening». This is different from «always recording», but privacy issues aside, the hardware inside your smart speaker constantly uses local processing to listen to its wake word so it’s ready at a moment’s notice.
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In the case of the Amazon Echo, the microphones are constantly working with the smart speaker’s processor and listening to any sounds they hear. If he hears something in the form of «uh-heh-heh», he knows to keep listening and start writing down what you say after that. From there, the voice data is analyzed and turned into action.
Since your Echo is constantly processing every sound it hears, it already listens to everything you say after it hears your word. The processors are fast, so it doesn’t take an extra second or two for it to gain composure before listening to your voice command.
But what about Wake Lights?
Oh yes, the LED is on, indicating that your smart speaker is ready to listen for a voice command. Unfortunately, they are misleading.
Those lights on your Echo, Google Home, or HomePod that light up whenever you say the word «wake» are actually nothing more than a visual glance and a bit of reassurance for the distrustful. After you shout the word «wake up», it takes a very short time for them to start saying voice commands before your smart speaker even lights up.
Long story short: no need to stop
The moral of the story is that there is no need to say something like «Alexa… … turn on the lights.» Instead, you can just say «Alexa turn on the lights.»
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Now, one situation in which you might still need a pause is if you’re not in line of sight or in a location where you think your smart speaker might not be able to hear you. In this case, you might want your smart speaker to play a sound whenever you say the word «wake» so that you can hear it being heard.
You will have to stop for a short time after saying the word «wake up» while you listen to the call, which has the same delay time as the LED indicators. Of course you don’t need pause, but like I said, if you can’t see your smart speaker or aren’t sure it can hear you, this beep lets you know for sure.