In the age of Smart Homes and Smart Devices we’re all learning the convenience of handling everything from what music is playing, the brightness or color of our lights, or even the temperature of our homes from the comfort of the couch with the use of apps on our smart device. However, absolutely nothing beats being able to adjust the comfort level of the room just by talking to your Amazon Echo. Once you’ve done it, you’ll never want to return to the old days of using an app or actually having to get up to adjust it. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to get started and never have to mess with apps or dials again.
What You Need
To make the leap to voice activated control of your thermostat, you’re going to need an Amazon product, such as the Echo, a wireless network and a thermostat that is labeled “Works with Alexa”. The Echo comes in several different varieties including the Echo, Echo Dot and the Echo Plus. The price range on these devices run from $49.99 to $139. Each variety has different features and capabilities that we will cover below. The next thing you’ll need is a Smart Thermostat that works with Alexa, such as the iComfort Wi-Fi Thermostat by Lennox.
- Echo ($99) – Amazon’s original Echo is now on it’s a second generation, which means it’s a shorter Alexa speaker with a range of different finishes for a more contemporary look. It offers up the same power as the original Alexa while also coming in at a much cheaper price of just $99. The drawback of the new Echo is that the speaker is not as good as the original, nor as good as the more expensive Echo Plus. So this is the model to get if you want to get connected cheaply, but are willing to sacrifice the sound quality of your music.
- Echo Dot ($49.99) – The Echo Dot clocks in at 1.6 inches tall with one tiny speakers and is half the price of the regular Echo. Just like the original Echo is features always-on Alexa, connects to the cloud to stream music, controls your smart home drives, as well as all of the normal features that come with the Echo. At half the price you would think something has to be missing and that something would be the speaker from the original Echo. The Echo Dot only comes with one small speaker that is good for Alexa’s voice only. The Echo Dot is designed to be connected to an existing stereo or other audio device using either 3.5mm connection or Bluetooth. However the Echo Dot is a great way to get connected for a really cheap price, providing you have a pre-existing audio device to stream your music.
- Echo Plus ($139.99) – The Echo Plus is now the top of the line device in the Echo family. It looks like the original Echo, however it offers better sound quality than the 2nd Generation Echo and even than the original Echo. It contains all the features you know and love from the other members of the Echo family, but it’s a much better smart home hub, thanks to the inclusion of Zigbee. Zigbee is a smart home standard that is used in many devices, such as the Phillips Hue Lights, which allows the Echo Plus to setup and control the devices without the need for a separate app specific to that device. As an example, you would plug in the Hue Lights, tell the Echo Plus to search for them and it will find them, name them and takeover the voice commands. It’s extremely simple to setup, which makes it a powerful component for your Smart Home.
Smart WiFi Thermostats
The Lennox iComfort s30 Wi-Fi Thermostat is programmable Smart Thermostat that allows you to change the temperature from anywhere in the world with a Wi-Fi connection. On top of that it presents unprecedented temperature accuracy and is capable of holding the temperature within 0.5 degrees of it’s setting. On top of all that it is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, allowing you to change the temperatures by merely telling Alexa. It’s available in Wichita Kansas at Comfort Systems. Call (316) 265-7831 for more information and pricing.
Setting Up Your Amazon Echo Products
- To Start using the iComfort thermostat with Alexa, you will need:
- An Amazon Echo/Dot linked to your Amazon account
- The Alexa mobile app installed on your phone
- A Lennox iComfort thermostat with a registered iComfort account
- Open your Alexa App and login to your Amazon Account
- Find the Skills section, and enable the iComfort Skill
- Once enabled, you will see the iComfort Login, enter your iComfort credentials
- Inside the Amazon Alexa App, follow the directions to discover your iComfort Thermostat
- Your Amazon Echo and iComfort are now working together! Enjoy!
What Else Can Alexa Do?
Alexa is an amazing assistant that can do much, much more than just adjust your thermostat. In addition to keeping your house comfortable Alexa can adjust the hue and brightness of the lights, wake you up to your favorite song, dictate hands free text messages, stream music throughout your house and even pair wines with food. It’s truly a versatile and irreplaceable home assistant and can make everyday tasks so much easier. Here is a list of just a few tasks that Alexa can perform to make your life easier.
Asking “Alexa, what are your deals?” will get you a series of Prime member exclusive deals that you need an Alexa enabled device to order. In addition you can visit Amazon’s Voice Shopping page to get the sentences needed to trigger them and start saving money.
Scare Off Burglars
Most of leave the lights or the TV on when leaving the house, but now you can use Alexa to trick would be burglars. Say “Alexa, run away mode” and Alexa will play a recorded conversation, tricking burglars into thinking there is someone home. Burglars will hear an eclectic cast of characters from players playing an overly technical space pirate game, to a mother attempting to assemble an Ikea product and even a would be podcaster.
Plan Your Trip
You can even use Alexa to help plan your next trip. If you have a Kayak account it is possible to enable Alexa to help you plan a trip. The skill can even track flights and check prices. In addition, you can tell it your budget, and Kaya Explore will tell you where you can go. To activate it, say “Alexa, ask Kayak where I can go for $500”.