Amazon’s Echo range of devices are all the rage, from giving you cricket score to weather updates to streaming music on demand, it can do it all. But, did you know you can convert your home into a smart home with the Echo devices and then summon Alexa to help you get things done in the physical world?
All you have to do is get a few compatible gadgets, switches and plugs and, you are ready to go. Most of them can be retrofitted by yourself on a weekend and do not necessarily warrant electricians and carpenters.
Here are a few ways to use Alexa to make your home a smart home:
Mood jaisa, light waisa: Get a compatible smart bulb from the likes of Syska, Philips, fit them on a regular socket and you are good to go. Just ask Alexa to change the light colours to red and dim it by 50 per cent or set it for bright white if you are in the mood to read a book.
Either way, connecting a smart bulk is absolutely simple yet most incredible feature to get started with smartening your home.
Voice control your home appliances: TV remote made us truly enjoy the comfort of a couch, now thanks to Alexa, you can couch control entire range of home appliances through voice and without lifting a finger. Get Veetar, Oakter or Pert ‘kits’ which are essentially a hub and bunch of smart sockets that can be retrofitted into existing plug point in your home to ‘smarten’ any home appliance. They fundamentally connect to Alexa through home's wireless network to give you complete voice control over switches on which appliances are connected.
You can voice control any IR compatible device at home like set-top box or music system through Alexa. Don’t fret if you don’t own a smart TV or Smart AC, buy a compatible IR Blaster like Oakter or Silvan and then simply command your TV to change channels, or AC to change temperatures.
Automate routine household tasks: Routines is a feature on Alexa that synchronises actions between the smart home devices and Echo, for tasks such as watering the lawn at a fixed time, or to turn on a pump at 4 am when you usually get water supply etc.
Routines also lets you enable or disable a prefixed set of actions, for example, when you say Alexa, sleep time, it can dim the lights, turn on AC in the bedroom and turn off the TV.
See CCTV anywhere you have an Echo Spot: If you have an Echo Spot device, the one with a cute display screen in it, then you can use it for inter-room calling or get an Ezviz Mini or D-Link Mini camera to access video feed from another room to keep a check on a child or elderly. You can also simply say, Alexa, show my backyard and can check for live feeds relayed from your camera fitted at the backyard.
Discover an existing smart product: Just like Bluetooth that’s widely accepted norm for pairing two devices, ZigBee is a similar global standard for connected devices and if you happen to own an Amazon Echo Plus device, it has a built-in hub that seamlessly connects and controls ZigBee smart devices. Just say "Alexa, discover my devices" and Echo Plus will discover and set up your ZigBee compatible devices.
Sreeraman Thiagarajan, Co-founder, Agrahyah Technologies