Amazon Echo is revolutionizing the smart home, and doing it one step at a time. Alexa is now being upgraded to support Belkin WeMo and Philip Hue devices.
After much anticipation. this update is finally being implemented into the smart, voice operated speaker. After months of waiting, the update has finally been made official, and could change the modern home. Amazon’s goal was to create a Siri-like assistant, compacted into a speaker using built-in microphones. However, instead of being called Siri, they branded the device with the name of Alexa.
“Its dual downward-firing speakers produce 360° omni-directional audio to fill the room with immersive sound” the Amazon website says. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios are stored inside the hood, allowing Alexa to control switches, lights, and other smart gadgets littered around the house. Some modders have already been able to hack the Echo into doing these before the official update.
The days of modding Alexa to turn on your Kitchen light are over, after Amazon has made the update official. For now the Echo is only able to support connected lights with Philips Hue and switches and LED light bulbs with Belkin WeMo. It won’t be a surprise if the Echo will be able to support smart locks, sensors, and thermostats in the near future. Although these have not yet been implemented into Alexa, some will find a way to get the job done.
Setting up the Echo has never been easier. The user only has to install the latest version of their app and tell Alexa to scan for a device. Alexa will then be able to detect any device connected to the same Wi-Fi network, making it easy for the whole family.
The Philips Hue device will require you to press the main button on the Hue Bridge while Alexa looks for devices. This will only take a minute, and your device will be connected to Alexa with no further instructions. For the WeMo devices, no set-up is required, and the user will be able to switch on or switch off gadgets with no problem.
There will be some limitations when dealing with these devices. For example, once you have set a specific name for each device, you will need to refer to it when talking to Alexa. Also, to plan a change automatically, you will need to use the Echo App. This is useful when the user needs to schedule for a lamp to turn on at a specific time.
Furthermore, Alexa will not be able to alter the color of the users Philips Hue lights. You will not be able to turn the lights red, even if you use the app. The Echo is able to switch them on or off and dim the lights to the user’s needs however.
Smart homes using voice control seem to make life easier, and we will most likely see major improvements in the future. Various companies such as Apple and their Apple HomeKit have taken voice control to the next level.
Alexa is looking at bigger and better updates in the future, and will revolutionize the smart home.