iRobot Adds Native Siri Voice Commands to Roomba Vacuums
iRobot has augmented its Roomba vacuums with Apple Siri voice commands as part of the new iRobot Genius 4.0 Home Intelligence software. Roomba already featured Alexa and Google Assistant connections and voice control, but the platform widens the options to encompass a Siri Shortcut integration native to the Roomba app.
Siri is limited to a basic list of Roomba voice commands right now, allowing users to start and stop, pause and resume, and send home the robotic vacuum. Google Assistant and Alexa understand commands to clean specific rooms, by comparison. Future updates will give Siri comparable flexibility, including custom phrases picked by users. That said, the native integration means setting up Siri voice commands in the iRobot Home app doesn’t require the Apple Shortcuts app.
iRobot has been steadily pursuing voice assistant integration for half a decade since it first added some Alexa voice commands. Since then, Roomba has deepened the Alexa and Google Assistant conversational AI connection. That led to Alexa gaining proactive cleaning features in November. Using Alexa Hunches, the voice assistant could activate Roombas when and where the AI calculated would be best. For instance, only starting the vacuum when owners were likely to be out of the home or in rooms it knows aren’t in use at the moment. Roomba also enabled Alexa Announcements, prompting the Alexa-enabled devices to tell owners about problems or when the vacuuming was complete.
The new collaboration follows Siri’s partnership with iRobot rival Roborock, though the list of Siri-compatible third-part smart home devices is still relatively short compared to Alexa and Google Assistant’s partners. The iRobot Genius upgrade includes other new and improved features. iRobot added a do not disturb setting, child and pet locks, adjustable room cleaning preferences. The software also extends the existing Roomba smart mapping feature to the entry-level i3 Roombas.
“The beauty of iRobot Genius is that our robots get smarter over time and continuously provide customers with new ways to clean where, when and how they want. As iRobot develops new features and experiences, the updates are pushed out to customers’ robots at no cost,” iRobot chief product officer Keith Hartsfield said. “From the day a customer welcomes a Roomba robot vacuum or Braava jet robot mop into their home, they know that they’ll always benefit from new features and functionality. They are also getting a robot that works harder for them, so they don’t have to. With more than 60 million personalized recommendations provided to customers to date, our robots are proven to learn, respect and work around individual schedules and needs.”