Key Home Automation Takeaways from Amazon Echo Plus & New Alexa Services
Amazon's new home-automation play includes ZigBee-enabled Echo Plus (not Z-Wave?) and Alexa services such as Routines, enabling macros to be activated by voice control or time and day.
New Amazon Echo Products
$100, ships in October
With an all-new compact design, Echo fits easily into any room in your home while delivering next generation far-field performance and improved room-filling sound. Pick from a variety of shell colors and finishes to fit into your home’s décor—choices include charcoal, sandstone, heather gray, oak veneer, walnut veneer, and silver.
Echo combines an all-new speaker architecture, a dedicated tweeter, a 2.5” down-firing woofer, and
Second generation far-field technology
The new Echo uses Amazon’s second generation far-field technology, which features better wake word processing, improved beamforming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation. The Echo far-field technology works to detect the wake word from across the room even in the noisiest parts of your home.
Echo Plus, the Smart Home Hub
$150, ships in October with one Philips Hue bulb, while supplies last
With its built-in smart home hub, Echo Plus makes connecting to compatible smart home devices easy. Just say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and Echo Plus will automatically discover and set up compatible lights, locks, plugs, switches, and more without the need for additional hubs or apps. This simple set-up works with a variety of ZigBee products from leading brands such as Philips Hue, GE, Kwikset, and more. To help get your smart home started,
More powerful audio and better performance
Echo Plus has enhanced 360-degree omni-directional audio, with
$130, ships in December
Echo Spot delivers everything you love about Alexa with a smaller design and the added convenience of a circular screen so that Alexa can show you things.
“Echo Spot combines the popular small design of Echo Dot, the display of
Designed for any room, with the added convenience of a screen
Echo Spot fits easily into any room of your home. The size and viewing angle of the screen make Echo Spot ideal for use on a nightstand or desk as a smart alarm clock that can also turn your lights on and off, watch a video flash briefing, show your commute time, get the weather, or show your calendar. Or use Echo Spot in the kitchen to easily set and view timers, call friends and family, see shopping and to do lists, and more.
New microphone array with second generation far-field technology
Echo Spot features second generation far-field technology with four microphones, acoustic beam-forming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. If you have more than one Echo, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo you’re closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception).
Front-facing camera and Alexa calling help you stay connected—call anyone hands free
Put an Echo Spot in each room so you can drop in on the kitchen to ask when dinner will be ready, or drop in on the family room to see how homework is going. Just like
Built-in speaker, plus Bluetooth and audio-out to connect to your existing speaker systems
Alexa can talk to you and play music directly on Echo Spot through the built-in 2W speaker. Echo Spot can directly connect to speakers through Bluetooth or using a 3.5mm stereo cable, enabling you to add Alexa to your home entertainment system. Then, use just your voice to control Amazon Music, Prime Music, Pandora,
Easily control your smart home
Echo Spot integrates all of the smart home capabilities that customers love about Alexa—turn on the lights, view your live camera feed from the nursery, set up Routines, control the temperature, lock your doors with your voice when you’re heading to bed, and more.
Echo Buttons are new devices that deliver ways for customers to play games with friends and family using Alexa. The buttons illuminate and can be pressed to trigger a variety of multiplayer and interactive game experiences. There will be a number of new
$35, available “later this year”
Four months ago,
Echo Connect is easy to set up—simply connect it to your home Wi-Fi network and home phone jack or VoIP adapter, and use the Alexa app on your mobile phone to set up Echo Connect. Echo Connect is just
Amazon Alexa - New Features
Routines allow you to automate a series of customizable actions using a single voice command of your choice. For example, say, “Alexa, good night,” and Alexa will turn off the lights, lock the door, and turn off the TV. You can also create Routines based on the time of day – for example, you can create a Routine that has Alexa turn on the kitchen lights, start the coffee maker, and read the weather forecast at
Routines are compatible with popular Works with Amazon Alexa lights, plugs, switches, and door locks from leading brands like TP Link, Philips Hue, Wemo, and August, and will be available for all Alexa devices including the all-new Echo, the previous generation Echo, Echo Dot,
Alexa smart home groups
You no longer need to remember the specific name of a smart device or group of smart devices to control them. Now you can place your Echo and smart devices into smart home groups, which enables Alexa to act intelligently on your request, making your interactions with your smart home more natural and effortless. For example, when you walk into the kitchen, you can now say to your Echo “Alexa, turn on the lights” rather than “Alexa, turn on the kitchen overhead lamp.”
This feature will be available on the all-new Echo, the previous generation Echo, Echo Dot,
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at email@example.com
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