“Hello.” No, homeowners are not channeling the new Adele song. Instead, this is the first word your customers soon might be commonly repeating to use Amazon Echo's Alexa to activate and control their lights as Lutron Electronics announces the integration of its affordably-priced Caséta Wireless system with Amazon Alexa using an Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, or Amazon Fire TV.
Lutron foresees the integration between Caséta Wireless and Alexa occurring primarily in areas where people spend the majority of their time, like the family room and kitchen.
“Asking Alexa to control your lights is undeniably powerful and can simplify things like coming home with arms full of kids, pets and groceries,” says Matt Swatsky, director of product management at Lutron, who also noted the product’s usefulness to the aging in place community. “For some people, this technology restores the freedoms once taken for granted – like freely moving about to alter the lights. Smart home products are not just about the wow factor anymore – they’re about changing peoples’ lives.”
For starters, the lighting control commands to which Alexa can respond are simple “turn on/off the lights” “dim the lights” or “brighten the lights,” according to Neil Orchowski, product development manager for strategic alliances at Lutron. The Echo does not support scene control but only individual lights or groups of lights. It also does not control the Caséta Wireless shades, only lights.
All an integrator needs to do for their client is go to the Alexa app and add a Lutron account. The app auto-discovers the lights. Lutron is working on getting working demos into its Experience Centers across the country for integrators to see. Lutron has packaged a $99 Caséta Wireless that includes a Pico remote, smart bridge and dimmer. The Caséta Wireless smart bridge must be connected to the home’s Wi-Fi router to work with Alexa.
“Using your voice to control smart home devices like Lutron’s Caséta Wireless system is both easy and natural with the magic of far-field voice recognition on Echo,” says Charlie Kindel, director, Amazon Alexa Smart Home. “We’re excited that Lutron customers can now control their lights simply by asking Alexa.”
Introduced in 2014, the lower-cost Caséta Wireless helps overcome hurdles with LED and installation challenges. Due to its dimmer design, a neutral wire is not required for in-wall installation … a challenge faced by people living in homes built before 1965.
And according to Swatsky, the system’s Pico remote, which can be mounted to a wall without wiring or affixed to a tabletop pedestal, is ideal for times when talking to Alexa just isn’t possible, like when kids are sleeping or you’re in the middle of an important phone call. “Lutron has worked hard to make sure all situations are covered,” he adds.
In addition to Caséta Wireless plug-in and wall-mounted dimmers, the Caséta Wireless smart bridge must be connected to the home’s Wi-Fi router to work with Alexa.