If you're reading this blog, my bet is that you have both an Amazon Echo product – either an Echo or it's smaller sister, the Echo Dot – and some smart home gear you'd like to connect and control via Alexa.
If you're not there yet, go back and read our blog on how you can get started with Z-Wave smart home gear and Amazon Echo.
We'll go through the setup in the Amazon Echo app, which is pretty straightforward, and it will allow you to be on your way to controlling your smart home devices with only your voice!
Download the Amazon Echo app and sign into your Amazon account in the app. The app doesn't need to be used much beyond for set up and adding "Skills" (more on that in a bit), but you still want to have it on your phone.
After you sign in, click the three lines on the upper left corner to pull up the full menu, and click "smart home" to get started with your integration.
The first part will show you "Your Groups" which is where you can pull all your devices together by room or by desired action and give them a name. This comes in handy when you want to say "Alexa, turn off the living room (as the lights in my living room are all collectively called in this group)" instead of individually turning each light off in the room.
The next thing you see on the screen is "Smart Home Skills" – a skill is Echo lingo for an integration or connection your Echo has with an outside device or service. This is where you'll want to enable the "skill" for whatever brand of products you have. With Z-Wave, you only have to enable the "skill" for your hub, the rest of the devices (lights, thermostats, locks) are controlled through there. In my case, I have a SmartThings hub, so I only had to enable that skill to get everything working.
Continue to scroll on the screen and you'll see the "discover devices" button. Once you have all your smart home gear set up, you can hit this button and Alexa will go into discovery mode to find each individual smart device you have connected. You can click them and change the name – remember to name the devices something easy to say, you'll have to call the device this out loud to Alexa when you want her to take action.
Control your devices! If you have dimmable smart bulbs, for example, you can say "Alexa turn on the living room lamp" but you can also ask her to set the lamp between 0 and 100 to create a better ambiance in the room. I like to set the living room to 10% first thing in the morning as it gives me some light with my coffee without waking me up too fast.
Whenever you add more devices to your home, just revisit these steps to get them connected to your Echo ecosystem. And you only have to do this one time – even if you add more Echo Dots to your home, the information is in the cloud and accessible on the app, so you don't have to setup every device. When you go to speak a command, the Echo device that is closest to you will respond.
Enjoy your new voice assistant! And remember, you don't have to say please, although I'm sure deep down Alexa appreciates it.
voice control, Amazon Echo, how-to, smart lights, smart thermostats, smart locks, SmartThings
There's an old saying that goes something like this: "If you want to experience all four seasons in one day, come to Alabama." Mind you, that's true of many other places beside the Yellowhammer State, especially this time of year. With the seasons changing, chances are you need the heat in the morning, AC at lunch, and heat again by bedtime.
First things first, you'll want to check and see if you already have any Z-Wave devices in your home. Chances are that you might without even knowing it. If, for example, you have a home security system by ADT Pulse, AT&T Digital Life, Vivint, Alarm.com, ASG Security, Honeywell security, or Protection 1, you may have the foundation for a Z-Wave smart home.
Before Driving to Cabin AT&T Digital Life
Z-Wave Smart Home Lighting & Security
For many, home safety and security are intertwined. Seeking peace of mind, homeowners often look for smart home solutions that protect not only their most cherished valuables, but also the home itself and everyone in it.
Holiday decorating – whether you have a small set up or a full blown light show in your front yard – is part of getting in the holiday spirit. But it doesn't have to be hard – some quick smart home gear can be you started!
Complete Home Energy Efficiency - Vivint
FIBARO Smoke Sensor
Some of the most popular and sought after items for homeowners are things that protect and keep a home safe. Whether it's preventing burglaries and unwanted intruders or making sure your home is protected from the elements, these purchases are among the most important you can make for your family. But what about protecting your home from the elements?
By integrating Z-Wave devices throughout your home and yard, you can have smart home products from a variety of manufacturers all work together to make your grass greener and your outdoor space worry-free.
And while home security systems were once complicated and a bit vexing, newer technologies have made them simple and even smarter.
Thankfully, smart home technologies can help with the turning off of lights, as well as other habits that can drive up your energy bills.
I have Somfy motorized blinds, and I ended up buying a Z-wave controller that translates Somfy's proprietary protocol to Z-wave so I could control it with the Echo, $179.99 at Amazon using a hub like SmartThings or Wink, $60.28 at Amazon for voice control.
Smart home devices can be connected using the Wi-Fi network, but Almond 3 also works with ZigBee and with Z-Wave and Bluetooth through the use of Bluetooth dongles. As a result, Almond 3 works directly with most major smart home products on the market — including Amazon Echo.
Home technology is always moving, always improving, always promising to provide ease and convenience to our lives. So what sort of innovations stand to make a big impact? Here are 10 developments you'll want to keep an eye on.
You should look for accessories that not only work with your chosen DIY home automation system, but also with other types of systems. This is a good way to keep you options open in case you choose a different system in the future. Buying Z-Wave accessories, like the ones we highlight below, is a good way to accomplish this
So if you have a Z-Wave bridging smart hub, and want to monitor water levels in your sump pump, then the Aeotec Sensor is a great option.
The smart home revolution is only just beginning, and technology companies are still working out how it is all going to work together — but if you want to, you can make your home 'smart' today