Amazon’s Alexa is a smart speaker that’s not just limited to “smart speaking.” She can also monitor a lot of “smart doings” — that can blow your mind. All you need is a set of smart bulbs, smart home lightings, smart security cameras, connected hubs and smart home hubs to bring out the real deal. Yes, probably these sound like a lot, but these are it. You get them, and your home becomes the smartest house in the neighborhood.
If you’re just getting started, it’s advisable to not buy scores of smart bulbs and end up with a lighting symphony. You don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket just yet. Try getting a few mood bulbs for starters. Once you get the hang of them, you can get more for your house and make the whole lighting system automatic!
It’s simple — why not? Once you connect Alexa to all your other smart home devices, Alexa really starts to make sense. All your lights get automatic, your house knows when to start/stop your coffee maker, it puts your kettle to boil — and so much more! You can ask Alexa to do anything and everything — apart from just asking questions, playing music and setting reminders. She is the personal smart butler you don’t have to pay for!
We’ll guide you through how to work with Philips Hue for starters. Make sure your Philips Hue bridge is installed. Also make sure that your lights are plugged into the fittings, and are working in sync with the Philips Hue app.
Here’s a guide where we’ll walk you through the steps that’ll help you connect all your smart devices with Alexa, and make your home smarter.
The most crucial step towards making an Alexa device discoverable by Alexa is to install Alexa skills in them. This, of course, is null when it comes to Amazon Echo Plus. Amazon Echo Plus can discover smart devices on its own to an extent. But hey, if you don’t have an Echo, that’s alright. Adding Alexa skills isn’t that complicated as it sounds. All you have to do is add the login information for each of the devices and you’re good to go!
Once you’ve set up the devices and their own ecosystem, we can get to the whole figuring out process!
- Ask Alexa “Hey Alexa, discover my devices.”
- Or you can head over to the Amazon Alexa app, click on Devices, and then press the Add (‘+’) button.
Alexa will then scan your home and locate smart devices. The names you’ve given them in their app will be the same names displayed in the Alexa app.
Alexa takes the default name and sucks it into her own app. However, this feature can clash if you have the same default name for two. For example, let’s say you bought two smart light bulbs for your home, from different manufacturers. What if both of them have the default name “lounge light”? You’ve got to rename them because the result can be chaotic and you may find yourself doing a bit of Alexa housekeeping in the end.
To rename your devices, follow the steps below
- Launch the Alexa app.
- Tap on Devices at the bottom of the app.
- Choose the type of product from the screen so that it’s easier to find the device.
- Tap on a device and select the Settings cog
- Click on ‘Edit Name’.
And you’re done!
You can group your smart home devices, for example, group all the lights downstairs as the “Downstairs lights”, or maybe “Kitchen Lights” or maybe the staircase ones as “staircase lights.” It all just makes the interaction between the smart devices and your home seamless. Here are the steps on how to do them:
- Launch the Alexa app.
- Click on Devices.
- Press the Add or ‘+’ button on the top right
- Click on Add Group
- Choose Smart Home Group and name it something that you will remember.
- Tap on devices you want in the list and voila! That’s it!
If you have designed scenes with apps like Philips Hie, Alexa will automatically detect and import them. Scenes usually get added when your network gets scanned. All you need to do is install the relevant skills beforehand. Once registered, you can ask Alexa to control them!
“Alexa, it’s Bedtime” [to activate a Scene].
“Alexa, Make the light warmer/cooler.”
“Alexa set the temperature to 21.”
“Alexa set the light to blue.”
“Alexa set the light to soft white.”
“Alexa, lights on.”
“Alexa lights off.”
“Alexa, dim main lights to 50%.”
On an honest note, during this pandemic when people are advised to stay in their homes and practice social distancing, voice technology is showing us its own wonders. With everything hands-free and creating a seamless experience, it’s proving to be a lifesaver for us all. We’re advised not to touch surfaces (as much as possible, though) anyway. And Alexa? We just can’t get enough of her.