It’s safe to say that the Amazon Echo has done pretty well for itself since its release earlier in 2017. The voice-controlled smart speaker utilises Amazon’s personal assistant, Alexa, to work with and speak to homeowners in order to perform a variety of commands and to answer questions such as “what is the forecast for today.”
The Echo has been one of the best-selling smart speakers produced so far and a lot of that is down to the performance and capabilities of Alexa. Unlike Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistants, Alexa seems to continue learning and is capable of performing far more complex tasks when asked to – such as controlling smart home systems.
Whereas Siri is pretty good at performing routine tasks, Alexa continues to learn with the always-on updates provided through the cloud. As Alexa develops, so does the range of compatible products.
With brands realising the power, quality and effectiveness of voice control and smart speakers (and 55 of those classed as millennials use voice control on a daily basis according to a recent study) more and more are likely to jump on the bandwagon with their own range of smart home products. For the time being Alexa remains the leading voice assistant and you can control a number of smart home systems with her help.
If you’re thinking of buying a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo, it’s worth knowing what Alexa is compatible with so that you can do your comparisons and understand whether the system will work with your existing smart home system or not.
To help you out, BT Shop have compiled this handy Alexa-compatible guide – aren’t we nice!
Alexa smart home lighting systems
Smart home lighting is one of the most popular smart home setups, and the Philips Hue wireless lighting system contains the widest range of options. With this system you can choose from 16 million different light configurations for each bulb, and thanks to Alexa you can control them without having to move.
A simple command such as “Alexa, switch on the lights” will turn the lights on in the room it is synced up with through the app on your smartphone or tablet. You can perform similar tasks using the TP-Link smart plug and bulbs, which you sync up with your device and you can control when the lights come on using a timer set on your app. By doing this you can get your lights to come on around dusk when you’re on the way home from work, deterring potential thieves and letting you arrive home to a lit house.
Alexa smart home heating systems
Smart heating is another widely adopted system and there are currently a number of major providers who are getting it just right at the moment. Hive and Nest smart heating systems have been installed in homes all over the UK and homeowners can adjust the temperature at the touch of a button on their smartphones or tablets at the moment.
With the help of Alexa and devices like the Amazon Echo smart speaker, users can give commands such as “Alexa, turn the heating off” and that’s exactly what will happen. At present users can turn the heating on or off, up or down, but all by tapping on their smartphone apps.
These smart thermostats are proving to be incredibly popular, especially when combined with smart meters that show exactly how much power is being used at that moment and how much money it’s costing the homeowners. Smart meters give out a digital on-screen report so if you decide that you’re using too much power at that moment you can give Alexa the command to make the necessary adjustments.
Alexa smart home entertainment
The Amazon Fire TV stick and a number of smart TVs also have Alexa functionalities. The great thing about smart TVs is that you can control everything so easily, flicking between your standard television shows, your satellite provider and web-enabled programmes like YouTube and Netflix.
With Samsung Smart TVs or the Amazon Fire TV stick you can stream all of your favourite shows and with Alexa’s help you don’t even need the remote. For instance, you can sit on your sofa and say “Alexa, play the latest episode of…” and in a matter of seconds you’ll be catching up with the latest drama or watching the newest addition to your collection of box sets.