Category: Crazy Cool Tech

What can I control in my home with Alexa ? – Home Automation with Voice AI

The 2nd Generation Amazon Echo is amazing.  Apart from getting the weather report, asking to play a quiz, getting songs played on Spotify, you can do so much more like control your home with your voice.  Here are some cool products and ideas of what you can use for Home Automation that is compatible with Amazon Echo Alexa:

Wifi Smart Plug Mini, GMYLE Smart Home Power Control Socket, Remote Control Your Household Equipment from Everywhere, No Hub Required, Compatible with Amazon Echo Alexa, Amazon Echo Dot & Google Home(2 Packs)

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Available on Amazon via this link for $29.98 for a 2 pack, it’s a great way to begin taking back the power consumption in your house,  therefore, combining these with a service like IFTTT you can configure your power devices to come on at certain times so they are not draining power.  An example, your TV,  in the wee hours of the morning you’re not going to be up watching it so why have it sitting in standby mode.  Have Alexa control when the device has power.  

You could instead look for a power bar or power strip,  some have individual socket controls others are an on / off toggle so do your research before you buy, you can find a selection here.  There are also wall sockets that are compatible now too.   Not sure how these would marry up with the Wifi or if they would need a network cable,  do your research.  House builders may want to consider including these in future projects as Echo and Google Home seem to be the standards for in-house AI control.

Turning up the heat!

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You have seen the houses of the future allowing you to control your temperature in your home with your voice,  well the future is here today with with many thermostats having support for Alexa built in, there are so many and not being an expert on this I will simply tell you its available so consider paying for one that has Alexa / Google Home support.

If your considering selling the home or you are a home builder it would be a great selling point to have the realtor come in with a potential buyer and ask Alexa to change the temperature in the house as well as setting the lighting which I will get to now.  Check out a wide range here.

Setting the mood with lighting.

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There are some variations on the lighting options from WIFI-enabled individual bulbs to network-enabled dimmer switches and toggle switches.    Some LED bulbs can even do a full spectrum of colors.

So that’s it, right?   Temp, lights, and power?  Dream bigger there is more…

Curtains controlled by voice ?! Coffee? Doorbells… Your home automation is here!

Yep,  you can have your Amazon Echo Alexa control your curtains.   I could only find one but its a 5-star rating from Curtain Call: Electric Remote Controlled Drapery System W/8′ Track Center Opening & Ceiling Mount Brackets CL-920A

Its a bit of a cheat as to have Alexa support you need to use an Adapter Cable 1450 and Wemo Smart Plug to have the Alexa support, as a result, how impressive it would be to have Alexa open the curtains in the morning. “Alexa Good Morning” or when you set a morning wake up alarm your room is illuminated by the day’s natural light.

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61TJ73gUY8L. SY500 What can I control in my home with Alexa ? Home Automation with Voice AI“Alexa puts on some tunes”. The curtains open, your morning playlist from Spotify starts and with a wifi controlled power outlet you can Alexa brew coffee… or you could get the Behmor Connected Customizable Temperature Control Coffee Maker, Compatible with Alexa

“Alexa put on some coffee” and seconds later you a nice pot waiting for you.  All you need to do is pour.

You’re making coffee and expecting company?

Well, the Wifi Doorbell with Alexa support will tell you when the company is here and there are many,  some with Camera options so you can make sure its who you’re expecting,  Check them out here.

Not expecting company?  Then the Alexa Home security will help you feel safe in your home.

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There’s more?!

If you can think it should be something you can control remotely. There is likely a way to do it with Alexa,  I looked around and found these Alexa Compatible devices as examples.:

Therefore, if you can plug it in you can use Wifi Power to turn it on an off!.  I found a Wifi Enabled Dyson fan but didn’t see Alexa support but with a Wifi enabled Power outlet you can use that too.

In summary:

Dream big and begin converting your home to an automated paradise all controlled with voice control.    Its something any new house being built should include is support for Google Home and/or Amazon Echo‘s Alexa.  I did check the hardware stores in Canada and they are less on the ball them say Best Buys for having the equipment but its coming.

If you are looking for a gift idea for Science Geeks try here.

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Full Home Control At Your Finger Tips

The 2nd Generation Amazon Echo is amazing.  I first was exposed to it visiting a friends house over Christmas and was instantly hooked and amazed.

I asked him why he chose the  Amazon Echo and he said it was because he subscribed to Amazon Prime.

The annoyance of having to pick up a phone is gone,  you simply ask out and Alexa responds,  you can control wifi enabled devices like lights, power outlets, thermostats and much more.

Now Google Home may be a better option for compatibility with more services but time will tell.

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  • The 2nd Generation Amazon Echo connects to Alexa who is a cloud-based voice service similar to Google Home, you can ask it to play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, ask questions, check your calendar, weather, traffic, and sports scores, manage to-do and shopping lists, control smart home devices, and more with your voice.
  • You can ask the  Amazon Echo for a song, artist, or genre from Amazon Prime Music, Spotify, Radioplayer and more. With multi-room music, you can play music on compatible Echo devices in different rooms.
  • Call or message almost anyone hands-free with your Amazon Echo device. Also, instantly connect to other Amazon Echo devices in your home using just your voice.
  • The Amazon Echo has powerful speakers with Dolby processing fill the room with immersive, 360° omni-directional audio, and deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass response
  • With seven microphones, beamforming technology, and noise cancellation, Amazon Echo hears you from any direction—even while music is playing
  • Just ask Alexa to control your compatible smart lights, thermostats, locks, and more
  • Alexa is always getting smarter and adding new features and skills. Just ask Alexa to control your TV, check flight status, and more.
  • Alexa Voice Service is currently only available in English (French language not supported)

Fun things you can do with Alexa had a fun list of things to try with Alexa:

1) Alexa, the Dude abides. What can we say? Alexa has a taste for the classics.

2) Alexa, make me a sandwich. The answer you get here is pretty useless, but it’s the perfect setup for the next command.

3) Alexa, sudo make me a sandwich. This is the sort of thing that delights geeks. If you’re not a command-line geek, you can just smile and nod the way you do when we start waxing poetic about grep and awk and Game of Thrones and The Expanse. It’s okay. We’re used to it.

4) Alexa, keep calm and carry on. God save the Queen.

5) Alexa, set volume to 11. It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever. Try it. Then reset it back down to something that won’t blow out your eardrums.

6) Alexa, sing a song. Let’s be clear here. Don’t ask Alexa to play a song. You want to say, specifically, “sing a song.” It’s charming.

7) Alexa, talk like Yoda. May the Force be with you.

8) Alexa, can you rap? Is there anything Alexa can’t do?

9) Alexa, what is pi? The answer is the sort of thing you’d expect from a smart AI assistant. On the other hand…

10) Alexa, what is the value of pi? This is the sort of answer you’d expect from a smart-ass AI assistant. Let’s just say Amazon has all those data centers for a reason.

11) Alexa, more cowbell. Never question the Bruce Dickinson.

12) Alexa, do you have any pets? Every day, she’s getting better and better.

13) Alexa, tell me a dirty joke. Make sure the kids leave the room first. You can ask this a bunch of times.

14) Alexa, find Chuck Norris. Probably best not to ask this.

15) Alexa, hello HAL. This probably means more to me than you — unless your name is also David.

16) Alexa, sneeze. Sometimes, it just seems like Alexa’s developers need to get out more.

17) Alexa, up up down down left right left right b a start. Delightful, especially if you’re into another kind of classics.

18) Alexa, never going to give you up, never going to let you down. No comment.

Amazon Echo Specifications

Size148 mm x 88 mm x 88 mm
Weight821 grams Actual size and weight may vary by manufacturing process
Wi-Fi connectivityDual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5 GHz) networks. Does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
Bluetooth connectivityAdvanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Echo or from Echo to your Bluetooth speaker. Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Hands-free voice control is not supported for Mac OS X devices. Bluetooth speakers requiring PIN codes are not supported.
Audio63.5 mm woofer and 16 mm tweeter
Alexa AppThe Alexa App is compatible with Android and iOS devices.
Warranty and Service1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 1-year2-year, and 3-year extended warranty available for Canada customers sold separately.
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