What is Amazon Echo and how can I connect it to my smart home?

Amazon Echo is a speaker which has been designed around voice control. It uses far-field voice recognition to answer questions, play music, report news, provide weather updates and control smart devices.

To operate the speaker you simply need to speak the word “Alexa” followed by your command. This could be something such as “turn off the hall light”. Another example, to play music you could say “Alexa, play my morning playlist”.

Amazon Echo set up

It’s fairly straight forward to set up Amazon Echo, simply connect the plug and turn it on. The next step is to download the Amazon Echo app and follow the on screen instructions. It will ask you to connect to your Wi-Fi network so you need your password to hand.

Once done it will show you the getting started video on the app, with useful commands you can say to get going. Then you are free to start exploring. There is also a things to try section in the menu if you wish to gather more ideas and test it out further. Useful questions you can say are things such as “What is the capital of Italy?”.

How can I connect Amazon Echo to my smart home devices?

Once you have set up your Amazon Echo, you may wish to connect it to other smart devices. On the Echo apps settings, I went to the smart home menu and searched for devices. Unfortunately the search didn’t discover any, even after turning some of the devices on.

Luckily I’d done my research the day before and the app requires you to add ‘skills’ to connect with other apps or devices. I searched for SmartThings as this is my main hub where most devices are connected and it was discovered. I entered my SmartThings credentials and it picked up all my devices and routines.  Then you click discover devices and authorise any devices or routines.

Your device is then ready to run, try “Alexa, turn on [light name]” or “Alexa, run goodbye”. Hopefully your devices will act accordingly.

Voice control for home automation is another set forward it making it easier to control smart devices. Beginning my home automation journey, it was sometimes frustrating taking out my phone to turn off devices. With Amazon Echo, these frustrations will be soon ironed out and help make your home smarter.

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