Do I want an Alexa you ask? Yes, of course you do, it can do so much cool stuff and some pretty mundane stuff that’s rather useful. It has all sorts of useful ‘Skills’ you can enable, “Alexa Fart”, for example is one you will never tire of, well, I haven’t yet 🙂 It’s especially useful if you (like me) have the memory of a Goldfish – hello Dory – by reminding you about stuff. “Alexa – remind me”………..not much use if you forget to ask her though!
What I find most interesting/useful is the Smart Home integration and control. This really excites me, and I may be a bit on the geeky side, but it is so cool. You need a Smart Hub to control Smart thingies, the Amazon Echo Plus has one built in so if you’re just starting off with Alexa and want to play with Smart stuff, this really is the one to get.
Smart Home Apps
The list of Smart thingies is huge and I’m just mentioning a few here:
- Smart lightbulbs – These are a nice, cheap way to get started on your Smart Home and they’re so easy to configure
- Smart lightswitches – whilst needing fitting by a qualified electrician, they do look rather cool and enable Smart control of your lights without changing your bulbs, handy if your light fitting has 10bulbs for example
- Smart wall sockets – Perfect for where you may plug a bedside light in, or your Xmas Tree – “Alexa – Turn on my Christmas Tree”
- Smart radiator thermostat – If you like to regularly adjust your radiator
Devices such as these can be given your own appropriate names, “Alexa – turn on the toilet”. They can be grouped, “Alexa – turn on every light”. They can be scheduled, perfect for security whilst you’re away on holiday, you can set your lights to come on at night. Carry on with the Smart Home integration and it can open/draw your blinds on schedule too. We are going a little more expensive now, with Smart roller blind motors such as these.
Once you’ve got your Alexa and Smart Hub in one spot in your house. It’s very tempting to add the Echo Dot/s to other rooms and they can all control Smart devices. Whilst Alexa is very good at picking up voices, you really do need one per room if you want to be comfortably telling her what to do everywhere!
For more home tips have a look at Recipe for Home.