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How to Control Your Smarthome Products with Amazon Echo



How to Control Your Smarthome Products with Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo can do more than play music and check the weather. As futuristic as you’d expect, you can control a wide range of smart home products so all the comforts of your home are at your fingertips. Read on as we show you how.

What do you need

As you can imagine, you’ll need an Amazon Echo (or any Alexa-enabled device for that matter), as well as a few smarthome-compatible devices.

Other than that, you just need the Alexa app on your phone, which you’ve probably already downloaded. But if not, it is available for iPhone and Android.

Prepare your Smarthome devices

Before you sit down to add smart devices to your Echo, we highly recommend doing a little update and cleanup on the smart side of things. In our experience, Alexa takes a fairly literal approach to importing items and works best with up-to-date software.

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As such, we recommend that you first update the firmware and associated software for the smart devices and hubs you want to add to Alexa.

Next, check your smart devices and make sure all names, settings, labels, etc. are modified as desired. For example, instead of a Philips Hue bulb called “Lamp 1”, you might consider changing it to “Bedside Lamp”. This makes it easier and more natural to give Alexa commands to turn lights on and off, for example.

How to add smarthome devices to Alexa

Adding smarthome devices to Alexa is easy (assuming you’re using a compatible device, of course). To make your experience even more seamless, it’s important to understand how Alexa handles smart devices.

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First, you’ll add the devices to Alexa. Then, for ease of use, you can create groups in Alexa to group certain devices together. Sometimes Alexa doesn’t import the existing groupings you already have in your smarthome systems, but instead imports each raw device separately.

For example, let’s say you have a group in your existing smarthome hub called “Bedroom,” and that group contains two light bulbs, a smart plug, and a heater. Suppose you have set up a shortcut in the hub software called “Bedroom On” and everything turns on in the morning when you wake up. You can still use all of these with Alexa, but you’ll need to recreate your group in the Alexa app and name it “Bedroom” for the “Bedroom On” command to work with Alexa.

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With that cleared up, let’s see how to do exactly what we just described.

Add your devices

With your smart home devices up to date and their naming schemes in order, open the Alexa app on your smartphone and tap the menu icon in the top left corner.

Update: The app has changed a bit. See Amazon website for the latest instructions.

From the drop-down menu that appears, select “Smart Home”.

There are four sections on this screen: Groups, Devices, Scenes, and Smart Home Skills. Start by clicking on “Devices”.

Before we can add smarthome devices to Alexa, we must first enable the respective Alexa smarthome skills. So press “Smart Home Skill”.

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Follow our guide on how to activate Alexa skills and install the necessary smarthome skills you need. So if you have Philips Hue lights, you’ll want to install the Hue Skill. If you have a Nest thermostat, you’ll need to activate the Nest Skill… and so on for all your devices.

Once that’s done, we’re ready to start adding devices to Alexa. Go back and tap “Discover” at the bottom of the screen.

The Alexa app will start searching your network for all connected devices that it supports. With Philips Hue, you need to press the physical button on the Hue Bridge for Alexa to access it. However, other smarthome products will not require any physical steps.

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Once the app scan is complete, you will see a list of smart devices that have been successfully added. Also, if you go back to the main Smart Home screen and tap on “Scenes”, all the scenes you have created for your different devices will appear here.

Remember earlier in the tutorial when we encouraged you to name your smart devices? This is a perfect example of why you want to do this. Kim’s bedroom lamp? headboard? It is very clear where they are. Office 1? We know she is located in the office, but we have no idea who she is.

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If you have a compelling reason to prevent Alexa from controlling a discovered device, now is the time to press “Forget” to remove it from the Alexa system. If not, just go through the list and make sure all the devices you thought would show up have it. If something doesn’t show up, you may need to install the necessary Alexa skill for it.

Group your devices

Now you can organize your connected devices into groups for easy control and management. From the main “Smart Home” screen, press “Groups”.

Tap “Create Group” at the bottom.

At the top, give the group a name, such as “Office.” Just make sure it’s not a name already in use by an existing device.

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Note that Alexa will import the Philips Hue room settings, so you won’t need to group lights into rooms within the Alexa app, but grouping other smart devices may be required. Also, you may want to group a set of lights and a smart plug together, that way everything will turn on and off with a single command.

Either way, after naming the group, scroll down and select all the items you want to include in the group. When you’re done, scroll down and tap “Save.”

Your group will now be listed with the number of devices that are in that group. Create as many other groups as you like by pressing “Create Group”.

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How to use Smarthome voice commands with Alexa

While every smart device is a little different in terms of control, the more literal you get with Alexa, the better. When it comes to smart lighting, Alexa is good at two types of controls: binary (on/off) and graduated (brightness via percentage). For other devices, it’s only good for power on/off or power on/off and additional input (such as turning on a heater and adjusting the temperature, if the device supports it).

Let’s take a look at lighting controls as examples. Although we use Philips Hue, these controls work well with any lighting device connected to your Echo. You can use the following commands to control your lights (and other smart devices):

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You can find the syntax “start “It’s useful for things that aren’t as binary as a light switch. For example, if you want to turn on the lights, the power strip you plugged into a smart outlet, and the heater in his room as part of your morning routine, you can create a group with all these items called “my morning routine. “” that could be triggered by saying “Alexa, start my morning routine” when you wake up in the morning.