‘Alexa, Automate My Life’: Tips for Controlling Your Amazon Smart Home

Chris Monroe/CNET

If you own a Amazon Echo smart speaker Where Echo Show smart display, but you’re not using it to control and automate your home, you’re missing out on an incredibly useful tool. Not only are Alexa-powered smart speakers great for playing music and letting you know the day’s weather, they can also lock doors, activate appliances, turn on lights, arm your home security system, and more. Moreover.

Let’s start with the basics of setting up your smart home devices, including lights, thermostats, and home security systems. After that, I’ll offer some creative tips for controlling these devices with Alexa and getting the most out of your smart home.

The first step: connect your devices

First and foremost, you need to make sure your Echo and your smart devices are plugged in, connected to your home wireless network, and (if necessary) connected to your smart home hub. It’s a fairly simple process for your Echo, but the exact steps vary for each gadget. Consult your user manual or the Internet for details on setting up your particular devices.

Next, it’s time to connect your smart home devices to your Amazon Echo. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Amazon Alexa app on your phone (which you should have downloaded in the previous step).
  2. From there, tap on “Devices” and then the “More” button in the upper right corner.
  3. When the menu slides up, tap “Add device”, select your device and follow the on-screen instructions.
  4. Repeat this process for each smart device you want to connect to your Echo.

From here, you can organize your devices into groups using the “Add Group” feature. This is especially useful if you want to control all the lights or devices in a room or area of ​​your home with a single voice command. This way you can say “Alexa, turn off my upstairs lights”, rather than turning off each li individually.

Finally, you can build Routines to orchestrate multiple commands at once. We’ll explore a few examples below, but to put it simply, you can use Routines to activate multiple smart devices simultaneously, either at a certain time or when you say a certain phrase. They can be added in the Alexa app under the “Routines” button.

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Many smart lights work with Alexa, which means you can light up the whole house – or just one room – with just one voice command.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Tips for Automating and Controlling Your Alexa Smart Home

With the basics out of the way, let’s dive into some handy tips for building an Alexa-enabled smart home.

Establish a daily wake-up routine

Waking up is tough, but you can make it a little easier by establishing a morning routine with Alexa. For example, you can designate a time to sound an alarm, turn on the lights slowly, turn up the thermostat, and pour a cup of coffee. Alternatively, you can trigger this setting when you say a specific phrase (eg, “Alexa, hello”). To do this, you’ll only need smart lights or bulbs, a smart thermostat, and a smart plug (in addition to your Echo).

Protect your home when you’re out of town

Planning a trip but don’t want your neighbors (or potential intruders) to know? With Alexa Guard, your Echo can automatically turn the lights on and off to make it look like you’re home. For even more security, you can upgrade to Alexa Guard Pluswhich can activate siren or dog bark to prevent burglaries.

Come home to a tidy house

Maybe you forgot to vacuum or start the dishwasher before you left the house (we’ve all been there). With Alexa, you can return to a clean home without lifting a finger. All you have to do is create a command like “Alexa, ask Roomba to start cleaning” or “Alexa, ask Whirlpool to start a cycle.”

Unlock your home

Whether you forgot your house key or need to let a guest in, you can use Alexa to open your front door or garage door. To do this, you will need to install a smart lock Where garage door and pair it with Alexa.

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If you forget to lock your door before bed, just tell Alexa to do it for you. Better yet, establish a routine so that when you say “Goodnight”, Alexa locks the doors and also turns on the porch lights.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Get help in the kitchen

Need an extra set of hands while cooking? You can pair smart kitchen appliances with Alexa to turn on your oven, microwave, or sink (to name a few examples). Plus, you can use your voice to ask Alexa to set a timer, add an item to your grocery list, find a recipe, or even play an instructional video on YouTube (using a echo show).

Welcome your guests to your home

With Alexa, you can quickly transform your home into a comfortable and welcoming place for visitors, whether they’re spending an evening or staying for a while. For example, if you’re hosting a dinner party, you can create an Alexa routine to adjust mood lighting and turn on your favorite playlist, again triggering all those settings with a single command. Or, if you’re hosting long-term guests, you can enable the Guest Login feature to give them limited access to your Echo device.

Create a work-from-home routine

If you work from home, it can be difficult to create boundaries between your work day and your home life. However, with Alexa, you can set up reminders that make the transition from work to personal life easier. For example, you can ask Alexa to make an announcement when it’s time to wrap up the day or occupy your pets during an important meeting.

Listen to Alexa’s insights

If automation is your ultimate goal, Hunches might be a good feature for you. Essentially, Alexa can alert you if she thinks you might want something, like your front door locked at bedtime. To make sure insights are turned on, go to the Alexa app, tap Continued > Settings > hunches. Then press the Settings speed in the upper right corner and activate insights.

The bottom line

With so many compatible devices and gadgets, there are countless ways to automate your life with Alexa. For more Alexa tips and tricks, check out the following CNET coverage on the subject: