Amazon’s Alexa-controlled Echo speaker is a wireless speaker. But it’s capable of much more. Using nothing but the sound of your voice, you can search the Web, create to-do and shopping lists, shop online, get instant weather reports, and control popular smart-home products—all while your phone stays in your pocket.
Alexa is particularly meaningful for smart-home users because it lets you control your connected devices without having to take out your phone and launch an app. Most of the time, the Echo, Tap, and Dot let you access most of Alexa’s useful features by calling out the ‘wake’ word ‘Alexa’ without your having to interact with a screen at all.
Lighting & Fans
With Alexa and compatible devices, you can control lighting products using your voice, smartphone, or tablet.
“Alexa set the light to blue”
Outlets & Switches
Make any appliance smart when you pair a smart outlet with an Alexa-enabled device.
“Alexa turn off the TV”
With Alexa and compatible thermostats, you can control the temperature of your home using your voice, smartphone, or tablet.
“Alexa set master bedroom to 67 degrees”
With Alexa and compatible devices, you can control door locks using your voice, smartphone, or tablet.
“Alexa is the front door locked”
With select smart cameras and Echo Show, you can ask Alexa to show the live video feed from the front door, nursery, or anywhere else.
“Alexa show me the front door”
With select home entertainment products and an Alexa device, you can ask Alexa to turn on the TV, turn up the volume, or pause the TV.
“Alexa, turn on the TV”
Using Voice Commands to Control Your Home
Open the Smart Home section of the Alexa app, then ask the app to discover your device. Once it shows up you’ll be asked to name it (e.g., Living Room Nest, Kitchen Sink Light, Dining Room Sconces). You can also add it to a group (such as All Lights, All Thermostats, or Christmas Decorations). Naming and grouping are important for managing your devices. By placing several items in the same group, such as a couple of Hue bulbs, a WeMo switch, and a Lutron switch, and calling the group “Living Room Lights” you can control multiple devices at once. A device can be in more than one group at a time.