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How to set up a Smart Home with Alexa
By Kaustubh on 1 October 2020
We all love Alexa, Alexa has become the best buddy in our lives. Smart home with Alexa brings not only convenience but also happiness.
Smart homes with Alexa are based on the voice user interface. Earlier the interface of devices was manual either by switches, buttons, or by the touch screen now the technology has led voice as the new interaction mechanism, making things simpler and faster.
What made the users opt for VUI(Voice User Interface)?
The ease and convenience offered by the VUI and the various possibilities of making life easy and smart made the users opt for voice assistance.
Ask Alexa to turn off the lights or decrease the volume of the television in your Smart home before going to operate them on your own.
What is a Smart home?
We all have smart devices in our homes, like, the air conditioner cools your room basing on the number of occupants present in the room, microwave sets the time to cook based on the item placed inside.
How are they doing this? The sensors in those devices are making them smart.
A smart home is a home where the smart devices interact with each other over Wi-Fi and can be controlled by a central Smart hub.
A smart hub is a mobile application that controls and operates the smart devices in smart home through WIFI. It connects all the devices under one application and is capable of turning the smart home devices on and off.
What is the technology behind the Smart home?
ZigBee is the networking technology behind the Smart home.
ZigBee can be used to connect smart devices and their controllers, within a range of 100 meters.
It is best used for smart homes because of their low cost and low power features.
How Alexa helps in a smart home management?
Alexa can operate many smart devices in your home, some of how Alexa helps in Smart home management are the following
A Smart doorbell provides safety with convenience by giving us the details of the users requesting entry to our secured smart home. Once paired with Alexa, Alexa gets the video of the front door security cam, Alexa answers on your behalf, keeps a note of visitors when you are away, and many more.
Once Paired, Alexa helps in opening and closing the garage door of your smart home.
Pair your locking system with Alexa turning them into smart locks.
Now don’t worry whether you have forgotten locking the front door or closing the garage door. Simply ask Alexa whether the door has been locked or not. It checks with the paired smart locks, if not it will be intimate that the doors are not locked. then you can simply ask Alexa to lock the door, it does the job.
Smart locks are very helpful in securing your smart house with just voice commands.
You can ask Alexa to start a microwave, to heat or cook for some predefined time.
There are smart bulbs by Philips hue, that can be operated by Alexa.
Now Alexa brightens your smart home, just try asking Alexa to dim your lights or to turn on your lights. Alexa adjusts the brightness of the smart bulbs as requested.
If your bulbs are not smart. Don’t worry just make them smart by plugging them into Smart plugs.
What is a Smart plug?
A smart plug helps to convert dumb devices of your smart home into smart devices. A device is known as dumb if it can not be connected wirelessly to another device in your smart home or if it can not be voice-controlled by Alexa.
Suppose, you have a Coffee maker in your home and you want it to operate virtually by either smartphone or through your voice assistant, Alexa you need to make it smart by plugging it in a smart plug.
Once plugged in, the device can be manually operated like a smart device.
There are various smart plugs available online
It lets you control various devices in your smart home through voice commands by Alexa.
Easy set up with the Alexa app.
Once connected with a smart plug, your coffee maker and kettle take voice commands.
You can turn off and on lights and fans with the help of Alexa.
How to set up a smart home with Alexa?
Smart home with Alexa can be set-up with either
1.Devices with built-in Alexa
2.Devices controlled by Alexa
Let us know more about the difference between these two types of devices
Starting with the core concept only,
How does Alexa work?
When the user requests something, AlexaAlexa processes the request by applying its skill knowledge.
Skill knowledge is composed of various algorithms where the first thing is done is speech recognition. Followed by natural language processing, where the speech is converted to text and the result is searched in the server by applying Skill application logic to the text, and finally, the response again is sent to the user.
The backend server is the cloud service hosted by Alexa, aws, or another server.
So, what are these skills of Alexa?
How does Alexa know these skills?
Alexa’s skills are like plugins to increase the functionality of Alexa.
They add the possibilities of using Alexa in many different ways, assisting the users in high productivity.
Most of them are developed by the manufacturer. Some are developed by third-party organizations linked with amazon.
By just installing them, we can extend the functionality of Alexa.
There is an option of customization of skill set also where the users using pre-defined functionalities by SDK Alexa software development kits can create customized skills meeting their requirements.
Also, read about Alexa skills for smart assistance to elderly
Smart home Devices with built-in Alexa
One link safe and sound is an alarm for your smart home capable of detecting carbon monoxide levels and smoke. It is compatible with Alexa and apple home kit. It can be paired with other alarming systems in the house.
2.Mobile alerts activation in case of emergency.
3.Voice alerts indicating the type and location of the detection.
4.Music from airplay2 streaming across multiple rooms in your smart home.
5.Easy installation with mounting bracket and quick start manual.
6.Talk to Alexa to check on the weather and other smart home devices.
Smart home with Echobee smart thermostat saves power by 23percent reducing energy wastage with increased efficiency. Sensors automatically detect the number of persons in the room and adjust the temperature accordingly. Built-in Alexa provides voice-controlled assistance.
1.Smart control by ecobee app. Easy installation brings comfort and convenience to your smart home.
2.With built-in Alexa, you can ask Alexa to set the temperature in the specific room of your smart home by simple voice commands.
3.Free software upgrade of ecobee app helps in easy maintenance.
4.Enjoy streaming from various sources with the help of Alexa and Bluetooth connectivity.
Switch on and off the lights in your smart home with the help of a smart light switch. With built-in Alexa, you can simply ask Alexa to do the work for you.
1.Control your smart home’s lighting with the help of an echo bee app. Easy installation in just 45 minutes.
2.Built-in motion sensors or ambient light sensors help in automatic switching on the lights in your smart home basing on movement detection.
3.Use Alexa to read the news, know about the weather, and listen to your favorite music.
This is an all in one device for your smart home, where connectivity along with voice interface (Alexa)is provided at one step.
Lyra provides connectivity up to 2000sq ft with a speed of 2200mbps.
1.Along with providing Mesh Wi-Fi to the Wi-Fi dead spots in your smart house, Lyra provides voice assistance through Alexa.
2.Network security powered by Trend Micro and the device security is provided with AiProtection. Advanced Parental controls with AiMesh Support, AiProtection.Can be Extended with AiMesh routers compatible with Lyra.
3.Enjoy music in stereo sound in your smart home with built-in Alexa and Stereo speakers.
Alexa voice remote with a fire stick plugged in your HD tv opens your new world of entertainment streaming your favorite shows, news, and Hollywood hits in your smart home.
1. 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+ picture quality gives the ultimate viewing experience in your smart home.
2.Smart Streaming of more than 500,000 movies and TV episodes. Streaming is facilitated by various platforms like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc.
3.Storage for more apps and games.
4.Listen to your favorite music through various services like Spotify Apple music and amazon music.
Smart home with Alexa controlled devices
This is a voice-controlled smart oven that works like a microwave food warmer and air fryer. Pair it with Alexa to send voice commands from anywhere in your smart home to start or stop cooking.
1.Setup is simple and software updates are easy.
2.Alexa gives notification once the oven is preheated or food is warmed.
3.Scan your packaged foods with the Alexa app and allow Alexa to do the remaining work. Once done, Alexa alerts that the food is ready.
No more keys, lock your smart home with a mobile app, or through your voice command. Voice control with Alexa allows you to check the lock status.
1.Upgrade Your Deadbolt, you can use your existent lock by attaching the smart lock and use the old keys of your smart home.
2.Smart home safety with smart features like activity feed giving an account of visitors, guest access to family and friends.
3.Pair with Alexa to enable auto lock and unlock of the smart home.
Enjoy your full smart home protection where you can watch your home anywhere with this wireless indoor security camera. Low light technology helps in recordings even during the night.
Built-in Alexa intruder alerts based on motion detection in your smart home.
1.Can add 8gb or 16gb or 32gb memory card to enable continuous recordings.
2.Smart ways of using the camera to monitor pets at home or use it to keep watch on your children who are home while you are at work.
3.Ask Alexa to show the kids’ room can be used as a smart baby monitor device.
These doorbells with motion sensors help the users to know who is present at the front door requesting entrance to your smart home.
Once the doorbell is pressed the visitor arrival is intimated by notifications to your mobile phone.
Once paired with Alexa, Ask Alexa to talk to the front door of your smart home, Alexa asks the visitor information, their video gets displayed on the echo screen.
1.Set up is easy with the Ring app and the picture is clear with 1080p HD resolution.
2.Two-way communication is provided. This smart doorbell allows you to see, listen, and talk with your smart home visitors.
3.Can record videos and photos of visitors for 60 days. Monitor your smart home in smart ways.
4.Night vision is also provided.