The hottest products on the home market right now are Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices (the Dot and the Echo), which can help bring many functions to your fingertips—or rather, to the tip of your tongue. Voice-activated commands make Alexa your personal assistant, offering you any one of her over 10,000 skills. She can tell you the weather or tell you a joke, play you a song or play games with your family. But some of her real superpowers lie in her third-party skills that can connect to a full menu of smart home products to help bring functionality, security, and convenience to your everyday life.
Alexa has the ability to connect to some of the most important systems in your home. By connecting your Alexa device to a smart thermostat, for example, you can change the temperature. When everyone is cuddled up on the couch downstairs watching a movie, a simple voice command can adjust the temperature in the house: “Alexa, set the thermostat to 72 degrees.” Likewise, if you’re in bed already and would like to kick the thermostat down for the night, a voice command can set the home to a comfortable temperature—this also helps your smart thermostat learn your household behaviors so it can start to anticipate preferences.
Similarly, your Alexa device can also connect to your home’s lighting systems. By either switching out your light bulbs for smart bulbs, or swapping out your outlets and switches for smart switches, Alexa can communicate with a smart hub to control the various lights in your home. With a simple voice command on your way out the door, “Alexa, turn off all the lights,” you can save energy and the hassle of going through the house to find every light the kids left burning. You can come home, ask Alexa to turn on the kitchen lights, and say farewell to the days of fumbling around in the dark for a lightswitch with your hands full.
Currently, Alexa has the capability of connecting with every door in your home, from the front door to the garage door and every one in between. Again referencing the scenario of climbing into bed at night, this time imagine the hundreds of times you’ve wondered if you remembered to shut the garage door or lock the front door. With a simple voice command, Alexa can do both. She can lock or unlock the door for you, from anywhere the sound of your voice can reach.
Alexa is also compatible with certain security systems. While she cannot unarm the system for security reasons, she can arm your home security system with your voice commands, a function that could provide peace of mind and ease of use for users. Certain systems also come without the need for a monthly subscription so you can feel like you are in charge of the level of your own security.
Perhaps most important to Alexa users are her multitudinal functions of convenience. Whether you have multiple Dots, Echoes, or third party Alexa-enabled speakers, you can play music from your Alexa device into multiple rooms of the house. This also works if you would like to use Alexa and her third-party compatibility with speaker systems as a whole-home intercom. Roust kids out of bed in the morning with some lively music, ask questions to occupants in other rooms without having to shout, or make public service announcements—like alerting everyone that it’s time to leave or that dinner is ready—without playing hide-and-seek through every room of the house.
Alexa can also act as your personal assistant. From keeping grocery lists to keeping your daily planner, Alexa’s skills can help keep you organized and keep your appointments in order without also having to keep a hundred Post-It notes all over the fridge.
- • Alexa's 50 Most Useful Skills
- • Amazon Echo: 17 Best New Skills
- • All Alexa-Enabled Devices You Can Utilize with Amazon's Echo Lineup
- • How to Control Your Smart Home Products with Your Amazon Echo
Posted: February 5th, 2018 @ 12:00am by tammy