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SmartThings Now Works With Amazon’s Echo

Amazon Echo is striving to revolutionize your household experience via voice control. Already there is Alexa voice assistant to control devices like Wink, Belkin WeMo and Philips Hue. But Amazon is wasting no time to promote its product and its unique ever-evolving features.

SmartThings announced that it is now compatible with Amazon Echo, which is basically wireless speaker designed to respond to voice commands without lifting your finger. Initially, Echo had limited capabilities compared to what amazing things it can do now. In the last few months, various capabilities like reading synced Kindle audiobooks aloud, re-ordering from Amazon, relaying information on scores and schedules from MLB and MLS were added. In terms of creating smart home functionality, Echo can control WEMO and Philips Hue gadgets.

Due to SmartThings newly integrated system, it gives Echo the control of lights, switches and outlets. This feature works with existing as well as upcoming SmartThing hubs. By smartly collaborating with SmartThings, Amazon Echo can now control most of top-selling smart home systems. It is impressive given that Echo was widely available since recently. Once you have everything in place, just go back to your Echo’s settings app and let the Alexa discover newly authorized devices. After that, you can yell as much as you want at the Echo.

Customers who are looking to create a smart home powered by SmartThings and Alexa should generally start with a $180 Echo and adding either SmartThings or pre-order the upcoming next generation Hub. Then according to user’s requirements, they can add smart locks, outlets, lights, thermostats and other SmartThings gizmos to their smart home network.

Smartthings now works with Amazon Echo

Smartthings now works with Amazon Echo

As SmartThings is now on board, Amazon is looking to add more smart home automation elements compactable with Echo. To allow more convenience for Echo owners, now they can simply utter ‘Alexa’ followed by their command to get work done. Just by saying the word ‘Alexa’, your Echo will know you want something because of far-field voice recognition. There is an array of things Echo will bring at your disposal. Like getting weather forecast, streaming music from any library like iTunes or Pandora, adding items to do list, searching something on the internet, controlling switches, getting live traffic reports etc. It is easy to set up and connect to your home network.

This entire thing can be a deal breaker for some people. The Echo doesn’t always perform as instructed. Once in a while due to mechanical glitch, Echo doesn’t turn off all bedroom lights. However probability of errors occurring is low.

Here are some quirky ways to use Amazon Echo:

  1. Provide a back door to your Sonos: You can control your Sonos speaker from Amazon Echo to start or stop existing playlist. You need to connect Sonos speaker through SmartThings account. However, functionality is limited to this feature.
  2. Play Bingo: Whenever your digital life gets overwhelming, take a break from your screen. All you need to do is print out some Bingo cards and gather your family and friends. Pass some markers and your Bingo card printouts. Next command Echo by saying Alexa adding open Bingo. By doing this, Alexa will call out numbers for you.
  3. Shared Calendars: By simply asking Alexa about your calendar today, she will let you know number of things you have planned for your day. You can manage your schedule much better.
  4. Alarm and timers: They are available on Alexa triggers by pairing them with any IFTTT supported app. Things you want your Echo to do when alarm goes off can be call your phone, send a message or an email etc.

 

 

Introducing Amazon ECHO !

After seven months of rigorous tests on an invitation only basis, the Amazon Echo is finally available for everyone to buy. It is a part wireless personal assistant speaker which can be integrated with the different smart home devices. Amazon Echo , selling for $179 (roughly Rs. 11,390), is a voice-activated device which can “fetch” music or news along with controlling the home automation such as lighting and temperature and is available for buyers around the world at a price of one hundred seventy nine US dollars. In India it is priced at eleven thousand three hundred ninety.  Customers have been waiting for it and their response to the Amazon Echo has been very positive hence Amazon is trying really hard to
build more as quickly as possible in order to meet the growing demands.  Amazon’s vice president says that they are very grateful to the early birds (customers) and appreciates their engagement along with providing valuable feedback which has helped evolve the gadget. The Echo now features audio books, Pandora, home automation, sports scores, calendar, and much more.

amazon-echo-introduction

The device is cylindrical in shape and has a cloud based brain referred to as Alexa which are built into its speakers and can be seen as a challenge to virtual assistants in Apple’s coveted mobile devices known as Siri. Echo speakers are a ring of microphones built into a can shape which enables the device to identify different voices even when music is playing. News, weather, streaming music and much more can be accessed by Echo using wireless Internet connections. A feature that makes Echo appealing is the fact that it can also be managed remotely using free applications built for smartphones which are powered by Apple, Android or Amazon’s Fire operating software.

Amazon would keep testing the Echo and gauge on early reviews since its likely that they had a slow rollout. Hence the company would not encourage a demand it couldn’t meet. Echo was previously priced at one hundred ninety nine US dollars for non Amazon Prime members but the company made it very clear that the early pricing would only be available for a limited time. Echo is the perfect example for how a smart home should feel like. It’s unclear if the consumers will pay for the funky system but the Echo does have potential especially when it comes to shopping and smart home capabilities. Amazon is in the business of selling things and the fact that Echo makes it easier to buy items makes it a natural fit in the market. The Echo if continues to move into the territory of smart home automation like Google or Apple have done recently then it is also an obvious choice to become Amazon’s smart home-automation hub. Amazon announced in April that the Amazon Echo could work with WeMo and Philips Hue’s smart lights and switches allowing users to adjust the lights in their home via voice control.

With so much on offer in the market with varied features and deals it is not easy to say whether consumers will automatically flock to the Amazon Echo. Nowadays a big challenge in the smart home industry is to show people why they would even need something like this and why it’s worth their time and money. As of now Amazon hasn’t reported any sales of the Echo during its release but the company has fallen on both sides of the success spectrum for its hardware in the past with the Kindle having solid interest early on but the Fire phone becoming a massive flop. So be ready for a whole new expereince.