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Convert Your House into a Smart Home with Alexa - Smart Home and Energy Savings Blog - Mysa

Convert Your House into a Smart Home with Alexa – Smart Home and Energy Savings Blog – AC Spare Parts Dubai

Amazon’s Alexa Echo devices make it easy for anyone in any living situation to take advantage of new smart home luxuries. Homeowners with multiple rooms, tiny houses, and even rural properties can all benefit from the voice assistant and her compatibility with smart home devices like smart lighting, smart thermostats, smart security, and more. And because few of these devices require permanent installation, even renters can take advantage of the many benefits of smart living.

Setting up most compatible devices with Alexa Echo is quick and easy. Most devices require minimal installation, making them a breeze to get set up – even for those of you who aren’t too technological savvy.

Amazon offers a variety of Alexa Echo devices to fit your home, needs, and budget. Below are just a few of the Alexa Echo devices you can choose from and their embedded features:

Amazon Alexa Echo Spot

  • Alexa voice recognition assistant
  • Built-in video capability
  • Hands-free video calling
  • Built-in speaker
  • Manage compatible devices including security, smart thermostats, lighting, & more!
  • Buy the Amazon Alexa Echo Spot now >>

Amazon Alexa Echo Dot

  • Alexa voice recognition assistant
  • Built-in speaker
  • Hands-free calling
  • Manage compatible devices including security, smart thermostats, lighting, & more!
  • Buy the Amazon Alexa Echo Dot now >>

Amazon Alexa Echo Input

  • Alexa voice recognition assistant
  • Add Alexa to any quality speaker you already have (great for audiophiles!)
  • Manage compatible devices including security, smart thermostats, lighting, & more!
  • Buy the Amazon Alexa Echo Input now >>

Alexa Echo devices easily pair with a wide variety of compatible smart home devices to simplify and improve your life. As you use your Alexa Echo, Alexa will learn and adjust to your behaviors, preferences, and daily patterns to help you reach that balance.

Additional Features Include:

  • Alexa Guard. Your Alexa Echo device will send you alerts about your compatible devices when you’re not at home and can continue running them systematically to deter burglars when you’re on vacation or stuck at work later than usual.
  • Whisper Mode. Set your Alexa Echo device to Whisper Mode, allowing you to give your commands in a softer voice in the evenings, before your morning coffee, and when your children are sleeping.
  • Alexa Routines. Alexa Echo devices strive to make your life easier in many ways. You might create a routine where the words, “Alexa, good night” triggers your Alexa Echo to remind your kids to brush their teeth and 10 minutes later, read a bedtime story followed by soothing music. Or, the phrase, “Alexa, I’m leaving for work” can prompt Alexa to recite the day’s weather, real-time traffic on your commute ahead, turn off the lights and coffee pot, set your smart thermostat 10 degrees lower, and remind you to grab your lunch bag out of the refrigerator. The opportunities are endless!

Smart Home Devices to Pair with Your Alexa Echo

As a market leader, Amazon’s Alexa Echo offers one of the widest variety of compatible smart home devices that can all be voice controlled with the built-in Alexa voice assistant.

Smart Plugs

If you’re just getting started with smart home technology or looking for easy add-ons to further improve your smart life, smart plugs are definitely one of the simplest and most impactful choices.

Smart plugs make it possible to turn any electronic you already have into a smart device to be controlled by your Alexa Echo. Simply plug the smart plug into your electrical outlet and plug in any lamp, fan, TV, stereo, exercise equipment, or other electronic you’d like to control. Smart plugs make it possible to use your Alexa Echo device to turn not so smart devices on and off and automate them according to your schedule.

Check out the easy Amazon Smart Plug or the Eco4life WiFi power strip for indoor electronics and the iHome ISP100 plug for outdoor electronics like Christmas lights and patio entertainment.

Smart Thermostats

Constantly adjusting a manual thermostat can be frustrating and costly. Families that can’t agree on a comfortable temperature often fight over temperature control, increasing the electric bill. Even those who don’t even touch the thermostat may be using more energy that necessary by cooling an empty house or keeping it too warm at night. Analog Thermostats are typically built with outdated technology that can add significantly to your bill every month. Smart thermostats remove all that frustration and added expense by automating your indoor temperature so you never have to think about it again.

If your home runs on baseboard heating, be sure to investigate your smart thermostat options as not all are compatible with this type of heat or Alexa Echo devices. You’ll need a high voltage smart thermostat designed specifically for baseboard heating, like the AC Spare Parts Dubai Smart Thermostat.

Multi zone thermostats make it possible to cool and heat rooms individually or as a group, enabling you to keep the kitchen cool and the bedrooms warm or skip heating and cooling altogether in unused rooms like the basement and guest bedroom. By connecting your smart thermostat to an Alexa Echo device, you’ll achieve hands-free voice control of your indoor climate to tell Alexa to cool the temperature down when you turn on the fireplace or warm it up when your loved one is coming down with a cold. Smart thermostats are easy to set up and begin using with your Alexa Echo same-day.

Smart Lighting

Using an Alexa Echo device, you can pair compatible smart light bulbs and fixtures to your smart home system. Smart light bulbs are energy efficient and long lasting to save on electricity and maintenance and are also available in dimmable, single color, and color changing options.

Paring smart lighting and smart thermostats to your Alexa Echo smart home system is a great combination to automate your routines and truly make life easier. They’ll also work together, systematically adjusting the smart thermostat to a lower temperature when more lights are turned on.

It’s easy to switch out existing light bulbs for new smart bulbs and begin using Alexa Echo voice commands to control them immediately. Your Alexa Echo device will learn your lighting preferences and patterns and adjust according. You can also set automations and zoning to automatically control lighting by your schedule and most-used rooms. The Philips Hue is one of the most popular smart lighting options currently compatible with Alexa Echo voice control.

Smart Security

Homeowners and renters in neighborhoods, cities, and high crime areas find smart security devices to be a highly valuable add-on to their Alexa Echo smart home systems. The popular Ring Doorbell (also made by Amazon) provides 24/7 video surveillance and motion detection of your front porch to prevent break-ins, watch for package deliveries, and even communicate with friends and family if they stop by while you’re away.

Whenever the doorbell is rung or motion is detected, the connected device will alert your Alexa Echo and app, no matter where you are. These doorbells are installed just like any ordinary doorbell and can be switched out with your existing doorbell in minutes.

For increased security, you might also consider adding Alexa Echo compatible indoor cameras. The Blink camera provides motion detection and live-streaming in addition to voice control with any Alexa Echo device. If you do choose to install any video security system, be sure to choose an Alexa Echo device with video capability like the Alexa Echo Spot or Alexa Echo Show.

Some of these systems are free, but some also come with monthly fees and tiered rates depending on the level of security and smart features you want.

Set Smart Home Zones and Scenes with Alexa Echo

Many compatible smart devices like smart plugs, smart light bulbs, and smart thermostats offer zoning options to control multiple areas of your home with a single voice command or routine. Instead of telling your Alexa Echo voice assistant to have the smart thermostat lower the temperature in each bedroom individually, a zoned command makes it possible to tell Alexa to lower the multi zone thermostat temperature in all bedrooms at once.

Alexa Echo’s scene setting capability also makes it possible to create unique settings to control multiple devices and zones with a single command. For example, you might create a dinnertime scene that dims smart lighting, instructs your smart thermostat to turn up the heat, and begins your dinnertime playlist on your kitchen smart speaker.

Learn more about smart home automations here >>

Amazon’s Alexa Echo devices are widely compatible, providing you endless options to make your home, and your life, a whole lot smarter. Tell us about your smart home plans in the comments section below!

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Best Smart Thermostats For Amazon Alexa - Smart Home and Energy Savings Blog - Mysa

Best Smart Thermostats For Amazon Alexa – Smart Home and Energy Savings Blog – Mysa

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to smart thermostats, but which ones work best with Amazon Alexa? For low voltage systems, the best option for Alexa is the Ecobee4. For high voltage, go for the Mysa Smart Thermostat. But why do we need different thermostats?

In North America, there is one big split between how you heat or cool your home – low voltage and high voltage thermostats. Furnaces and other central air based systems (low voltage) make up the vast majority of installations all over the continental United States and Canada, a total of 90% American and ⅔ of Canadian households. These range from natural gas, propane, oil, to wood furnaces. The alternative to this is electric heat of some sort – baseboards, in floor, fan-forced or many others. These are called line or high-voltage systems. Depending on what you have in your home makes a huge difference in what kind of thermostat you should install.

 

Ecobee has become a serious competitor to Nest’s domination of the low voltage smart thermostat market, in part due to its extensive list of integrations. While the open API allows for all sorts of compatibility possibilities, Ecobee has definitely built a huge following around the native Alexa integration. The 4, in particular, takes it to the next extreme – it’s built into the device itself and doesn’t require an extra piece of hardware like the Echo or Dot. This is something the company has carried over into its recently released light switch, as well.

In general, the Ecobee4 is a fully-featured smart thermostat with smart learning capabilities, remote scheduling, and support for the majority of 24V (low voltage) heating systems. It uses a singular, central hub as the main control unit and further room sensors to make sure that your every part of your house is perfectly set for comfort. Ecobee’s being making quality hardware for years now, so even a 3 or Lite will give you the control you desire – but the 4 is a much more advanced piece of hardware, especially for those Alexa inclined.

 

 

The Mysa Smart Thermostat is the premiere smart option for electric heat. Before Mysa, there were no fully featured options on the market for high or line voltage heating systems. Mysa uses smart phone apps to control your electric heat from anywhere and can connect natively with Google Home, amongst other smart home systems. Advanced design and control leads to energy savings and lower utility bills – which you can keep track of with in-app energy charting. Mysa is the one true smart option for baseboard, electric heat.

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Best Smart Thermostats for Alexa | Smarthome Blog

Best Smart Thermostats for Alexa | HVACDXB Blog

We took a look recently at the best smart thermostats that work with Google Assistant and today we’ll be outlining your strongest options if you prefer Alexa.

Perhaps you have an Echo device and you’re looking for that Works with Alexa capability in a thermostat. Maybe you want your AI baked right in instead. Either way, we’ve got 7 superb smart thermostats that all play nice with Alexa.

7 Best Smart Thermostats for Alexa

  1. Google Nest Learning Third-Generation Works with Alexa
  2. ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control
  3. Johnson Controls GLAS Smart Thermostat
  4. Honeywell Programmable Thermostat
  5. Insteon Remote Control Thermostat
  6. Google Nest Thermostat E
  7. GoControl Thermostat Works with Alexa

1) Google Nest Learning Third-Generation Works with Alexa

Now rebranded as part of Nest folding back into Google, the iconic Learning Thermostat is now into its third iteration and better than ever before.

If you hate the idea of programming thermostats, you won’t need to bother with Learning. As the name hints, this device accustoms itself to your habits and self-optimizes heating and cooling.

Once in place, your input is minimal, then. While you can take charge in-app on yoru smartphone, you can also use Alexa for voice control. All you’ll need is an Echo smart speaker or smart display and you won’t need to lift a finger.

Design is stripped-down and subtle. Choose from 4 finishes to match your décor. Along with the temperature clearly displayed, you see a green leaf when your smart home is running energy-efficiently.

FarSight is a welcome touch. The display stays muted until it detects motion from a distance then greets you with the temperature on cue.

Home and Away mode streamlines heating and cooling when the house is unoccupied. As with all smart thermostats, you can expect to make savings of around 10% on your utility bills.

You can use sensors along with this thermostat for even more robust functionality.

As you’d expect from Google Nest, compatibility with other smart devices is broad. You can create routines and schedules so you’re welcomed home to a perfectly cooled house and the lights on to show you in.

Google Nest Learning remains one of the finest smart thermostats in 2020 despite stiff competition so check one out right here.

2) ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

When ecobee refreshed ecobee4, they changed the naming convention. The fifth-generation is known as SmartThermostat with Voice Control since Alexa comes built in.

If you have a Google Home or HomePod smart speaker, you can use Google Assistant or Siri. With Alexa, you don’t even need an Echo device to take the helm using voice commands.

Beyond simple voice control, interoperability is wide-reaching extending to SmartThings and If This, Then That.

With Alexa, you’ll be free to use the Drop In feature rendering your Echo devices a makeshift intercom. You can also send messages between devices.

The retooled ecobee is finished in glass and features an uprated processor and dual-band WiFi connectivity for your complete convenience. This allows you to take advantage of 5GHz connectivity and you’ll get supercharged performance.

Ecobee thermostats are hardwired so you’ll need to factor this in. Think about whether or not you can take the job on yourself or whether you’ll need to call in a contractor. There’s an installation video in-app.

ecobee’s all-new SmartThermostat with Voice Control helps you save money while enjoying comfort and convenience when it comes to climate control.

3) Johnson Controls GLAS Smart Thermostat

Not everyone is looking for the cheapest smart thermostat but the sleek GLAS by Johnson Controls makes a great choice if you have deep pockets and exacting tastes.

The 6-inch transparent OLED gives GLAS a sci-fi aesthetic that manages to look elegant rather than excessive. Touch controls are baked in giving you responsive navigation. Throw in an Echo device and you can take full advantage of Alexa for hands-free control.

If you’re not insistent on using Alexa, Microsoft’s proprietary AI digital assistant, Cortana, comes baked in. Google Assistant is also supported covering all main bases.

Running on Windows 10 IoT Core, scheduling and programming are straightforward. With your baselines set, user input is limited. GLAS adjusts heating and cooling intuitively as it starts to learn your habits.

Besides rock-solid climate control, the GLAS also monitors air quality both indoors and outside. Enjoy real-time reporting with feedback on humidity, carbon dioxide levels and any VOCs (volatile organic compounds) soiling the air quality in your smart home. Outdoors, GLAS keeps you abreast of pollen levels along with the UV Index and Air Quality Index.

While we can’t pretend GLAS is cheap, the best things in life seldom are. In return for that stiff price tag, you get potent functionality, valuable air quality metrics, and award-winning design: what’s not to love?

4) Honeywell Programmable Thermostat

Honeywell has a deep bench of smart thermostats and this WiFi Color Programmable Thermostat punches above its weight and price band.

Compatible with the majority of 24-volt heating and cooling systems, you’ll be able to automate the workaday tedium of climate control at home. Not only can you make savings by using less electricity, you’ll end up more comfortable without needing to lift a finger. Never come home to a house too hot or too cold and don’t waste money heating or cooling unoccupied rooms either.

You can read temperature and humidity levels indoors and outside at a glance. You’ll receive alerts when it’s time to change the filter and also if there’s any interruption in web connectivity.

You’ll be able to customize the color touchscreen so you can display a backdrop inkeeping with your décor.

The Honeywell supports voice control with both Alexa and Google Assistant. All you’ll need is the requisite smart speaker and you can take charge hands-free.

While you can buy pricier Honeywell thermostats, we feel this nifty color model gives you all that you need and more.

5) Insteon Remote Control Thermostat

It’s impossible to curate a list of the best thermostats without including the classic Insteon Remote Control Thermostat.

As with all Insteon kit, you’ll need the Hub in place to benefit from robust remote control. Throw in an Echo device and you can use Alexa to control your thermostat hands-free.

This thermostat works well with most heating and cooling systems including 2-stage systems. Integrating fully with the overall system, you can control air duct dampers and ceiling fans as well as the temperature.

The unit can also act as an Insteon controller. It can activate other devices when the temperature hits designated levels.

Although this thermostat isn’t the greatest looker, if you’re looking to automate heating and cooling at home on a budget and you’re committed to an Insteon ecosystem, it’s a smart bet.

6) Google Nest Thermostat E

Google Nest offers Thermostat E for those who want many of the benefits of the legendary Learning without such a steep price tag.

You should first check out the design of this thermostat and decide whether it would slot neatly into your living room. Appearance polarizes opinion but if you’re OK with the looks, what else does this WiFi thermostat offer?

You can obviously use Google Assistant but you’ll also be free to deploy Alexa if you’ve got your smart speaker lined up.

If you prefer app-based control, you can stay connected to your home remotely wherever you happen to be.

Although you don’t get the same extent of intelligent and intuitive functionality found on Learning, programming is a cakewalk and you can build out from a basic schedule and see how you go.

Home/Away Assist keeps energy costs down when you’re away from home but you’ll always come back from work to a house heated or cooled to your requirements.

Energy reporting in-app allows you to see how and where you’re expending energy at home. Along with intelligent and optimized heating and cooling, you could notice a drop in your power bills of perhaps 10%.

7) GoControl Thermostat Works with Alexa

Last but certainly not least, GoControl serves up a pocket-friendly Z-Wave thermostat ideal for both retrofit and new-build use.

Design could most accurately be described as minimalist bordering basic but how about the way it works?

Suitable for standard HVAC systems and pump HVAC systems, you’ll get Z-Wave connectivity. This means you’ll want a hub and compatible devices if you want to use your thermostat in line with other tech in your home. For many, this is as simple as getting the lights to come on when you return home with the temperature just the way you like it.

If you like the idea of hands-free control, the GoControl supports Alexa if you have a smart speaker or smart display in the house.

While you won’t get any bells or whistles here, what you do get is a cost-effective way to automate climate control while paying less month on month for power consumption.

Add Expert Installation for Your Thermostat

Some smart thermostats come hardwired so you might not feel comfortable doing this work yourself. Indeed, unless you’re confident working with electrics, we would advise you don’t do it yourself.

If you want to add expert installation to any of the smart thermostats above, you can do so right here.

Final Word

Well, we trust by now you’ve seen a representative sample of smart thermostats that play nicely with Alexa. In most cases, all you’ll need is an Echo device. With some thermostats, Alexa comes fully integrated.

Bookmark our blog for impartial reviews of the best tech along with how-to guides for all levels of home automation and the latest smart home news.

If you’ve decided on the right thermostat for you, sign up for our email newsletter before you hit the buying trail. We’ll give you 20% off your first order here at Smarthome along with more great content straight to your inbox. Sign up right here and come back soon.

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Building an Alexa Smart Home in 2020 | Smarthome Blog

Building an Alexa Smart Home in 2020 | HVACDXB Blog

Setting up an Alexa smart home in 2020 is a whole lot easier than it was just a couple years back.

Why is that?

Well, you really don’t get much by the way of compatibility issues these days. The impressive Works with Alexa program means these days it’s surprising to see something that doesn’t work with Alexa.

Another prime benefit in of Alexa in 2020 is the huge choice of smart speakers and smart displays you have at your disposal.

So, today we’ll walk you through the logistics of creating an Alexa-powered smart home the easy way and it’s got to start with that Echo device…

Choose Your Smart Speaker or Smart Display

The Echo bench continues to widen and deepen. The recent launch of several new models along with some retooled models means there’s never been a better time to invest in an Echo.

Choose from the following options:

Echo

The original smart speaker debuted Alexa in 2016 and this new and improved second-generation comes with overhauled audio and a facelifted design.

As with all Echo devices, you’ll get a vehicle for hands-free control of your smart home. If you’re looking to bring Alexa out to play and you want serviceable audio, the classic Echo still makes a valid choice in 2020.

Pick from 3 colorways and opt for a multipack if you want even better value and you need multiple smart speakers in your home.

From hands-free home automation to entertainment, organization, and voice calls or messages, Echo delivers exceptional value for money.

Echo Plus

If you’ve got a more fluid budget and you like the idea of a Zigbee radio onboard your smart speaker, Echo Plus is the obvious solution. This works as de facto home hub affording you voice control of selected compatible devices without needing a third-party gateway.

Beyond this neat property, Echo Plus delivers a crisp, immersive soundscape. You can pair Echo devices for stereo sound. You can also manipulate the settings in-app to personalize your listening experience.

With 3 subtle designs to choose from, Echo Plus will blend in rather than standing out while Alexa will streamline your life wonderfully.

Echo Dot

All-new Echo Dot comes with the time displayed making it better than ever as a bedside smart device. Measuring just 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.7 inches, this tiny disc will sit neatly on your dresser and allow you to launch into your day the smart way.

While you’ll need to make some compromises on the audio front, you won’t lose out on any of Alexa’s smarts.

Echo Dot also comes in a colorful kids’ edition.

The price of Echo Dot is firmly in budget territory so there’s no reason not to invite Alexa into your home even if you’re on a tight budget.

Echo Spot

Now being slowly phased out, if you act quickly, you could still pick up an Echo Spot, Amazon’s first attempt at a small smart display.

The diminutive 2 ½-inch screen gives a visual edge to search and music without eating up too much space on the counter.

As with every Echo device, Echo Spot comes with the inimitable Alexa onboard and ready for action.

Echo Studio

As we regularly point out, most smart speakers are certainly plenty smart but they typically underperform on the audio front. This is perhaps not surprising since the primary use case for most smart speakers is hands-free control of other tech.

That said, Amazon redress the balance with the upscale Echo Studio now flying off the shelves after its recent launch.

Echo Studio is bulky and weighty with no less than 5 speakers crammed inside. You won’t begrudge that extra weight when you ask Alexa to fire up your favorite playlist. The sound is powerful yet balanced. Echo Studio also automatically self-optimizes for the dimensions of your room for an even stronger sound.

As an added bonus, you’ll also get the Zigbee hub previously only seen on Echo Plus.

Echo Flex

Do you have areas in your house where you’d like to take Alexa but you can’t accommodate a regular Echo device?

For stairs, hallways and attics or basements, Echo Flex is an all-new solution from the innovative Bezos stable.

A plug-in smart speaker, Echo Flex boasts a USB port to maximize functionality by giving you an extra charging station while preserving power outlets. There’s also space for optional accessories. At the time of writing shortly after launch, a motion sensor and night light are available. We’re confident Amazon will build out more devices to capitalize on this port.

From dropping in on other Echo devices to performing all your home automation, you really can take Alexa anywhere in 2020.

Echo Show

In the second iteration of the original smart display, Echo Show has an expansive 10.1-inch screen along with revamped sound giving you a greater experience than ever before.

With smart displays, the screen adds a great layer to your entertainment by opening up music videos, visual search and video calling. You’ll also be able to follow the lyrics of your favorite tracks on screen.

The display comes in handy in the kitchen where Alexa can give you plenty of help with ingredients, recipes, and timing.

As you’d fully expect, Alexa is primed for action across the whole home, too.

What do you do if the full-size Echo Show is just a bit big for comfort? Well, you’ve now got the option of a pair of smart displays with smaller screens so which one will it be?

Echo Show 5

The dinky Echo Show 5 is half the size of its big brother so makes a fantastic bedroom device. It also works well in the kitchen or anywhere space is at a premium.

As with all new Echo devices, you’ll benefit from multiple and robust layers of privacy.

Maybe you like the idea of a smaller Echo Show but this feels a little restrictive. Well, you’re in luck as there’s an 8-inch version available as well…

Echo Show 8

Echo Show 8 is designed to fight head-to-head with Google Nest Hub with its roughly comparable 8-inch screen. This gives you enough screen real estate to watch some music videos or movie trailers while Echo Show 8 remains eminently portable.

Priced keenly and currently up for grabs at a steep discount, Echo Show 8 will not disappoint.

So…

You’ve now got what you need to control your devices with voice commands so how do you get started?

How To Set Up Alexa to Control Your Smart Home

While setting up some smart tech can have you scratching your head, Alexa is straightforward to install even if you’re a complete beginner.

First thing’s first, you need to set up your smart devices per manufacturer’s instructions. This typically involves plugging it in then hooking up a third-party hub to your router. Once you’ve done this, install the app the search for your device and enter a passcode.

With your devices fired up, open the Alexa app then enable the skill for every device you want to pair with your Echo device. Enabling the skill is as easy as pushing a button.

Some devices also call for you to pair smart devices with Echo. Simply command Alexa to “Pair devices” and it’s done for you. She’ll locate your thermostat, smart bulb, or whatever else you want to control with your voice.

Do You Need To Stay Loyal To One Ecosystem?

Here’s the good news…

Unlike just a few years back, if you plan to run your smart home with Alexa, you won’t be prevented from mixing and matching devices or brands. There’s no need to remain locked into a single ecosystem.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from staying loyal to one brand. This can often make your life easier since you’ll be using the same hub and app. This streamlines this nicely.

That said, there’s no need to feel that you’re locked in so experiment and get the devices that fit best with your needs.

All you need to look out for on the buying trail is that the device “Works with Alexa.” You certainly won’t find yourself short of options! We’ll touch on a bare handful down below when we look at setting up a robust Alexa smart home in 2020.

Before that, a swift look at Alexa’s skills. What are they and why should you care?

Alexa Skills for The Smart Home

Alexa comes with many skills. You can think of these as apps although most you only interact with hands-free without setting eyes on.

Put simply, these skills tell Alexa what to look for and what the device in question can do.

How can you find these skills, then?

The most direct approach is to ask Alexa: “Alexa, enable the Nest Learning skill” is the swiftest route to skill-grabbing.

Alternatively, use the Alexa app on your smartphone to search for skills. This is not a bad ploy anyway as you’ll need to enter your account details in-app even if you bag the skill using voice commands.

All you need to do is this:

  • Open your Alexa app
  • Push the hamburger icon
  • Select Skills
  • Open the category of devices or search by brand for your device
  • Push Enable once you’ve found the skill
  • Punch in your account details

Using skills is pretty intuitive for the most part. Nevertheless, it’s still worth reading through the skill info in case you need to employ specific phrasing.

Now you’re almost there but you need to ask your virtual butler to scan for devices.

Command Alexa To Scan For Devices

Now you’ve set up all your smart devices and told Alexa what these devices are, you can now search for them.

Luckily, this is a quick and easy process.

Either say, “Alexa, scan for devices” or “Alexa, search for devices” and the ever-faithful Alexa will do the rest.

You are now fully equipped to control all compatible devices in your connected home hands-free.

Grouping and Routines

If you’re looking to get the most from your smart devices and to streamline control further, you can take charge of multiple devices simultaneously thanks to grouping.

Here’s what you need to do for to create groups:

  • Open your Alexa app
  • Press the hamburger menu icon
  • Hit Smart Home then Add Group
  • Choose which devices you’d like included in that group
  • Name the group (ie living room, downstairs, bedroom)

The best use case for grouping is a simple on/off application.

Do you want even more automation?

If so, with routines you can associate certain actions with trigger phrases. There’s also scope here for incorporating third-party scenes.

Here’s what you need to do for to create routines:

  • Open your Alexa app
  • Press the hamburger menu icon
  • Press Routines then tap + so you can add a new routine
  • Choose a phrase or a time for the routine
  • Select your required actions from the categories provided

OK…

As with all aspects of creating a connected home, be prepared for a slight learning curve and enjoy experimenting until using Alexa is second-nature.

To round out, we’ll look at how you can commission Alexa in a 2020 smart home.

6 Ways To Use Alexa in Your Smart Home

It goes unsaid this list is by no means exhaustive. We’re here to save you time, though, and we don’t want to keep you all day with a list of every conceivable Alexa application.

We’re sure you’ll agree that with the following half-dozen approaches, you’ve got a solid foundation for a hands-free smart home this year.

  1. Speak To Your Smart Lock
  2. Enjoy Hands-Free Lighting with Philips Hue
  3. Treat Yourself to a 50-Inch Smart TV with Alexa Baked In
  4. The Ultimate Smart Thermostat with Hands-Free Control
  5. Control Dumb Appliances with Voice Commands
  6. Monitor Your Security System with Alexa

1) Speak To Your Smart Lock

As with most smart devices, you’ve got a wealth of options if you’re looking to smarten up your entryway.

One of the most impressive smart locks that works well with Alexa is the August Smart Lock Pro.

DoorSense differentiates the Pro from a slew of competitors. This nifty feature means you’ll never need to worry about whether or not you’ve locked up again.

The Connect bridge you need comes bundled so to enjoy hands-free interaction, all you need to do is add in an Echo device and you’re all set.

2) Enjoy Hands-Free Lighting with Philips Hue

If you’re intending to smarten up your lighting this year, one of the best Alexa-enabled options is the classic Philips Hue Starter Kit.

You’ll get 4 white and color ambiance LEDs with this set alongside the Alexa-compatible hub to get the most out of your lighting.

There are a huge number of variations on the starter kit so take your time and get the right one for your needs. Hands-free control of your lighting is just minutes away with the super-simple Hue set-up.

3) Treat Yourself to a 50-Inch Smart TV with Alexa Baked In

When you’re taking care of all the essential products in your connected home, it’s easy to forget to make time to enjoy yourself.

Insignia’s expansive 50-inch Fire TV Edition gives you the chance to navigate all your media and entertainment with voice control. Alexa is built right in so you won’t even need an Echo device.

4K UHD picture delivers 8 million pixels and ensures all your content looks as great as if you were at the movie theater.

Thanks to Fire TV and Alexa, you’ll be free to journey through a half million movies and TV shows hands-free meaning you’ll never say, “There’s nothing on TV” again.

4) The Ultimate Smart Thermostat with Hands-Free Control

If you think about smart thermostats, one of the first names that springs to mind is likely to be Nest. Now rebranded as Google Nest, the classic Learning Thermostat now edges into its third iteration and it’s better than ever before.

Unlike many intelligent thermostats, Learning will accustom itself to the temperatures you prefer putting an end to scheduling and programming. If you need to fine-tune heating or cooling, you can do so without even picking up your smartphone as long as you have an Echo device.

Save money while making your life easier – what’s not to love?

5) Control Dumb Appliances with Voice Commands

Do you like the idea of lamps but hate contorting yourself to switch them on or off?

Well, invest in a pack of mini smart plugs and you can uprate those old, dumb appliances, throw in an Echo device and hit the lights using voice commands.

Since these outlets come with WiFi on board, you won’t need a home hub either.

6) Monitor Your Security System with Alexa

One of our favorite home security systems is the iconic Arlo Pro. Why do we like it so much?

The wire-free set-up makes this the perfect security solution for homeowners and renters alike.

Compatibility is first-class. Arlo plays nicely with Google Assistant, If This, Then That and, of course, Alexa. Grab yourself one of the Echo devices we highlight above and you can check in on your system hands-free.

Final Word

We hope by now you can see that building an Alexa smart home in 2020 is a piece of cake. With a smart speaker or smart display and a handful of smart devices all you need, why not start the year by enjoying some hands-free convenience?

If you want even more handy hints on making your life easier, remember to bookmark our blog. Along with plenty of detailed guides like this one, we’ll also bring you the best products and the latest smart home news.

As a final incentive today, we’d suggest you also sign up for our email newsletter. Along with more great content, you’ll also benefit from 20% off your first Smarthome order. Why not use that to pick yourself up an Echo device?



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