The future depicted in science fiction, where practically everything people own will be controlled via voice commands, is really not too far off anymore. Over the last few decades, voice recognition technology has made great strides. Research and development have improved it to the point where people are starting to recognize it as a standard capability on our common gadgets.
Why is it Taking so Long?
Voice recognition is really more complicated than it seems on the surface, which is why people are still a little ways off from appliances that are solely controlled via voice commands. There are so many variables that have to be taken into account when programming a device to recognize speech. Beginning voice recognition algorithms were developed by studying the frequencies created by a person speaking a word, a very slow and tedious method.
When computers were brought into the process, things sped up. More and more corporations pushed their research departments to develop better voice recognition programs. Besides the increasingly improved computer software, people now have voice recognition installed on the most current smartphones, iPhones, tablets and GPS devices. Having this ability in these gadgets takes a large leap toward having most of our equipment controlled via voice commands.
It's on Cell Phones so Why Not on Home Appliances?
As noted earlier, voice recognition is actually a long process despite it working within seconds on your device. Your spoken command is not only processed on your device, but is also sent out to your ISP to be deciphered by a server that has models of speech for comparison. This is why sometimes you can receive a "Server Error" when attempting to do a speech-to-text message if the communication is broken between your device and the server. To date, our home appliances are not controlled via voice commands and most likely because they are not part of a network, either wired or wireless and do not have access to servers that are capable of recognizing speech.
Won't Be Long Now
Google, as well as other companies not as recognizable, are working on improving the voice recognition process as well as creating software and devices which would allow us to have home appliances controlled via voice commands. Android, Google's mobile OS, is not too far away from producing such capabilities. For users, it is just a matter of waiting in anticipation.