Connect Your Smart Home with Amazon’s Alexa

Jamie SmithSmart Home, Technology

The Amazon Echo, commonly referred to as Alexa, is quickly becoming a staple in people’s homes. There are currently three available for purchase, the original Echo, Echo Dot, and the newest product, the Echo Show. These devices can easily connect to your smart technology products, making Alexa the hub for your smart home.

Alexa has a number of different skills that you can activate, either through the Alexa app or by telling her to enable a skill. By connecting her to your smart devices, you can simply tell her different commands, like “Alexa, turn off the lights.” Before you’re able to do that, you may need to purchase smart devices. Learn what you can connect to your Alexa in order to have a simple and easily accessible smart home.

Let Alexa Be Your Head of Security

use amazon alexa to arm your security system

Put Alexa in command of your home security! She’s able to arm your security system and lock your smart lock doors. Alexa is compatible with Z-Wave devices, like the Helix security system. Simply say, “Alexa, arm my security system.”

Learn everything you need to know about Z-Wave devices.

She can also be connected to your smart door locks and can lock your doors. However, she can’t disarm your security system or unlock your doors so that strangers or home intruders can’t break in by commanding Alexa. You still need to use your alarm code or door code to disarm your security system or unlock your door.

Lighting Control

alexa can control your smart home's lights

In order for Alexa to control your lights, you need to have smart light bulbs or smart light switches. You can label the different lights, like Living Room or Master Bedroom lights, so that you can control lighting in each room. With smart lightbulbs, you are also able to adjust brightness and can dim the lights. For example, “Alexa, dim the living room lights 50%.”

To control other appliances or devices that aren’t smart, you can use smart outlets. For instance, you can plug in lamps to a smart outlet, and that allows you to turn it on or off.

Control Your Thermostat

use amazon echo to control your smart thermostat

Smart thermostats, like the Nest thermostat, are easy to install in your home and with schedules, can save you money.

Smart thermostats are also compatible with Alexa. You can ask Alexa to adjust the temperature to cool down or heat up. You can also instruct her to set the thermostat to a certain temperature: “Alexa, set the thermostat to 72 degrees.”

Hands-Free Entertainment

alexa can control your speakers and television

The main difference between the original Echo and the Echo Dot is that the original has a high-quality speaker and the Dot has a low-quality one that likely needs to be connected to an external speaker.

If either don’t provide the surround sound that you want, you can connect Alexa to speakers, like Sonos. By using Sonos, you can control the music and audio in any room where the speakers are installed.

For even easier TV control, Alexa can change channels, change volume, turn the TV on or off, and set timers. All you need is a hub to connect her to your TV.

Everyday Assistant

amazon echo dot can be your personal assistant

In addition to being the central hub for your smart home, Alexa can be used as your hands-free everyday assistant. She can read the news, set timers or alarms, read audio books, and perform over 10,000 “skills.” Skills are the different features or apps that she can run.

This is only the beginning of smart home capabilities. Each day, more skills are becoming available. Here is a list of devices that the Amazon Echo can control.

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