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Amazon Echo adds smart home voice controls

by Todd Haselton | April 8, 2015April 8, 2015 8:00 pm PDT

The Echo, Amazon’s paper towel-looking voice controlled device that can be used for playing music, checking the weather, ordering goods and more, received an update on Wednesday that now allows it to control your smart home, providing you have the right equipment at home.

You can now use voice commands to control lightbulbs and other products offered by WeMo and Philips Hue. Once you’ve installed your devices and connected them to your Wi-Fi network, you can force the Echo to recognize these devices by speaking the command “Alexa, discover my appliances,” Amazon explained. Depending on your configuration, you can then issue commands such as “Alexa, turn on my fan,” or “Alexa, dim the bedroom lights,” or “Alexa, turn off the coffee maker.” It even supports dimming switches, so you can dim the lights 40 percent, should you decide to.

The Amazon Echo is still only available through an invite-only process, through which you’ll need to request a unit and wait for Amazon to send you an option to order. Amazon hasn’t said when, if ever, the unit will be more widely available, but it’s starting to become a lot more desirable.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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