If you use Amazon, you’re most likely well aware of their smart home device, Alexa. It can order laundry detergent, play music, or even ask you Jeopardy! Questions, all of which are great, but as more and more homes get smart devices, more and more companies make products that can be linked with Echo and voice activated. Even now, there are many options that will make your home a smarter, more convenient, voice activated-space. Here’s how to get started.
Purchase an Amazon Echo
This may seem like a no-brainer, but to begin your quest to a smart home, you’ll need a smart device hub, like an Amazon Echo or the Echo Dot. The Echo Dot runs around $50 and the set-up of either device is fairly straightforward: plug your Echo in and download the Alexa App to your smartphone. From there, the app will be able to walk you through the pairing process, as well as give you an overview of the different things–which Amazon and the Echo call skills–Alexa can do, and you’ll be a Jeopardy! whiz in no time!
Explore Smart Device Options
To continue your journey to a voice-activated smart home, explore the variety of devices that can pair with Alexa. The options run anywhere from light bulbs to televisions to thermostats to refrigerators, making it possible to find an option for just about every want or need.
One of the most popular smart thermostat options is Nest, which can help conserve energy usage, making it a smart device in more ways than one. You can adjust the temperature or turn on the air conditioning mid-workout without losing your groove.
When it comes to sound, you don’t need to feel limited to just playing music through the speaker that’s in your Echo. Companies like Sonos have freestanding speaker options whose controls can be adjusted with just your voice. That way you don’t have to leave the table when the ambiance music of your dinner party is just a little too loud, or request the next karaoke song from Alexa. If you are more of a movie person, Sonos also offers a playbar which can of course be paired with your Echo to create a theatre like experience; That is if you could adjust the sound just by saying so in a movie theater.
Additionally, there are entire systems like tp-link that can be installed so you can control your light switches and outlets with Alexa. You can ask your Echo to turn on your porch lights, or turn off the kitchen lights. You could ask her to turn on a specific lamp, or your coffee maker if they’re plugged into Echo-synced outlets. The tp-link system even enables an app called Kasa, making it possible for Alexa to schedule exactly the time of day you’d like those porch lights on, and making it easy to impress your neighbors with your smart home.
Certain Amazon Echo compatible devices will be easy to set up and pair to your Alexa, and you most likely won’t need help screwing in an Alexa paired lightbulb, but when it comes to replacing thermostats or mounting soundbars on your television, it may be a good idea to call in an experienced certified electrician to help you. After all, a smart home that has its devices installed incorrectly isn’t much of a smart home.
Your Smart Home Installation Resource
If you have questions about the installation and pairing of smart devices in your home, contact Prairie Electric. We’ve been operating in the Pacific Northwest for 35 years, and we would love to help make your home a smarter space.