6 Ways to Do More with Amazon Alexa
Smart Home Automation and Alexa are a Perfect Match
The Amazon Echo really is an amazing device—just plug it in, connect to Wi-Fi, and enjoy having your own voice-controlled assistant! The smart device hit more than 10,000 unique skills in February of this year, so there certainly are plenty of things you can take advantage of.
But get this: late last year, Experian did a survey to find out exactly how people were using Amazon Alexa. The most commonly tried skills were setting a timer (84.9%), playing a song (82.4%), and reading the news (66%). Those are useful skills, but if you want to do more with your Alexa in your St. Petersburg, FL home, then it’s time to explore smart home automation. Keep reading to learn about these creative ways to put voice control to work.
1. Let there be Light
Turning the lights on and off just so happens to be a scenario when most people find the hands-free control of Amazon Alexa to be most useful. When you walk in the door one evening with your hands full of groceries, it’s so convenient to simply say “Alexa, turn on the lights” instead of having to juggle four bags and the light switch.
2. Arm the Security System
Security providers have been slow to pick up on voice control because of concerns about Alexa’s ability to differentiate between different people talking. But the security manufacturers have approached it quite cleverly, giving you the ability to choose just how much voice control will play a role in your system. You could allow Alexa to lock doors or arm the security system while leaving the disarm function unavailable. If you’re comfortable controlling the system via your voice, the best approach is to use a secret code that is spoken to disarm it.
3. Adjust the Temperature
When you’re snuggled up on the couch and wish the living room were just a few degrees cooler, you don’t have to get up and walk to the thermostat. Instead, just ask Alexa to lower the temperature. She’ll communicate with your smart thermostat for you
4. Lower/Raise the Window Shades
Same scenario: you’re snuggled up on the couch and don’t want to move. Only now, the glare from the setting sun is hitting right where your eyes are. Instead of getting up and closing the shades yourself, tell Alexa to close the shades. The motorized window treatments in the room will quietly and quickly lower, blocking out the annoying rays of sun.
5. Control Your Media
While Alexa on its own can play music from your personal library or a streaming service, let’s be honest: the speaker in the Amazon Echo is nowhere near the quality necessary for good music enjoyment. Instead, connect your Echo to a multi-room music system or high-end speakers. Then, you can listen to high-quality music whenever and wherever you like. And Alexa’s abilities aren’t limited to just music. She can control your smart TV too! Have her turn on the television, adjust the volume, or change the station.
6. Start a Scene
Up until now, all the skills we’ve talked about have been one-off features, but the best benefit of adding Alexa to a full smart home automation solution is the ability to use scenes. A scene is a collection of settings that are saved to your smart home system. These settings could include the brightness of the lights, the position of the window shades, the volume and playlist of your music, the desired temperature, etc. We recommend that you choose scenes for the activities or scenarios you’ll use most often. Here are a few examples:
- Movie Night: When you select the scene, the lights in the media room dim, the shades close, and the TV and surround sound system turn on.
- Good Morning: Instead of waking up to an annoying alarm, your smart home system will gently bring you out of sleep by opening the window shades to let in natural light, turning on music, and raising the temperature.
- Goodbye: When you leave the house for the day, just tell Alexa goodbye. She’ll lock the door, arm the security system, raise the temperature, and make sure all the lights are turned off throughout the house.
Want to take advantage of these Amazon Alexa skills in your smart home? Call us at (727) 441-9292 to get started!