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Get Ready for Your Home’s New Best Friend

October 25, 2016

The logo for Josh, a new home automation system, is a dog. In fact, on their website, www.josh.ai, there’s a photograph of an adorable and perfect-looking golden retriever, guaranteed to be someone very lucky’s best friend. Why a dog? Well, the folks behind Josh want their customers to really understand that in having Josh, you’re getting a best friend. For your house.

Home Automation systems are certainly the new It product in home technology. The response with regular folks has been very enthusiastic—people like the idea of navigating certain devices in their house with a voice controlled command center. Consumer Reports finds that almost 20% of subscribers are already using their phone or tablet to remotely control some aspects of their homes, and almost 70% of those who aren’t yet, are interested in giving it a shot.

Are they looking for a friend or companion? The jury may still be out. But Josh, along with Google Home and Amazon’s Echo, can become very familiar.

So Google Home, set to be released November 4th with a $129 price tag, competes well with Amazon’s Echo, around $179. Both manage functions through voice-controlled stationary microphones and both have catch phrases that command them to run your devices. They both sync with music, entertainment and lighting systems, when properly programmed. Home and Echo have the same basic features and fairly minimal differences to the average consumer—turning lights on or off, setting the thermostat, playing tunes and so forth.

The Rolls Royce of Home Automation

Now, meet Josh. Coming in at between $10-$14k, Josh will be available this year for just 100 customers. After all, exclusivity makes things more desirable, right?

Here’s what’s up with Josh. Josh is touted as having a personality of his own. Instead of speaking to Josh with a specific set of programmed voice commands, Josh understands natural language and can (almost) carry on a conversation with his owner.

Josh manages the same basic tasks as Echo and Home, but unlike them, Josh is able to integrate with more than one smart home system. Like the dog on their website, Josh can roam by your side and knows more than one trick. You can talk to him from anywhere, with any smart phone—literally, anywhere in the world, or any room in your home.

Also like a golden retriever, Josh is intelligent and responsive. Josh is a complete standalone system. Instead of spending hundreds or thousands on a custom integrated system to connect your home automation features, or having 20 different apps to manage them, you just talk to Josh.

Josh doesn’t require hardwiring or custom programming, only a wifi connection and an electrical outlet. Josh works with Nest, Sonos and Lutron among others. Things Josh specifically controls are:

• Lighting
• Audio
• HVAC
• Custom Switches
• Home Theater
• Security Cameras
• Locks
• Sprinklers
• Sensors
• Garage Doors
• Shades

While Google Home and Amazon’s Echo can manage these functions as well, Josh is a simpler, streamlined buddy system who can also handle multiple commands. For example, you could say, “Josh, please turn on the kitchen lights, play a Beatles song and warm it up in here,” and your wishes would be his command.

Best In Show

Josh is the fancier version of Home and Echo, for sure. They all control the same basic functions and are all connected to the cloud. Google Home has a “My Day” feature that can tell you the weather, traffic and your schedule, if you so desire. Alexa has “Skills,” over 1,000 at press time and counting. Like apps for your phone, Skills can be programmed for things like Uber, ordering pizza or paying your credit card bill—all just by asking.

But Josh. Well, Josh can be your (house’s) best friend. And yours.

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