Ikea entered the home automation market earlier this year with a new line of products called TRÅDFRI, which means “wireless” in Swedish. With a hub that costs just $29.99 and smart bulbs that start at $11.99, they are among the least expensive ways to add smart lights to your home. At launch, the product line only worked with Ikea’s app and $14.99 physical remote, which greatly limited their appeal. Now the TRÅDFRI has gained compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, as well as Apple HomeKit and Google Home, making them much more appealing to Amazon Echo and Fire TV owners.
For those of you who missed out on the $21 sale last month, the TP-Link Smart Plug is on sale today only for $22.99. This plug has been $15 and $18 through Alexa-exclusive deals in the past, but if you don’t want to wait until Prime Day next month, this current sale is a pretty good price. This switch can be directly controlled by Alexa without needing any hubs or other equipment. Just plug it in, set it up in the app, and you’ll be able to control it by saying “Alexa, turn on/off the [chosen name].“
The TP-Link Smart Plug has just gone on sale for $20.96 on Amazon. The discount does not appear on the product page, but you’ll see the sale price when you go through checkout. This is the second lowest price I’ve ever seen for this smart plug, second only to when it was briefly available for $18 through an Alexa exclusive deal this past Cyber Monday. This switch can be directly controlled by Alexa without needing any hubs or other equipment. Just plug it in, set it up in the app, and you’ll be able to control it by saying “Alexa, turn on/off the [selected name].” To receive the discounted price, the plug must be purchased from the seller Network Giant.
Amazon’s list of available Home Services has been steadily expanding ever since they started offering the services two years ago. One of the fastest growing categories is the collection of Smart Home related services, which range from the relatively simple task of setting up a Fire TV to more daunting all day multi-device setups. If the ever-growing market of smart home devices and services is overwhelming, Amazon is offering smart home consultations completely for free. Read more ›
Ecobee just announced their brand new ecobee4 smart thermostat with Alexa built-in, but what was more surprising was the announcement of an all new product to facilitate, what they’re calling, “whole home voice.” The new product is an ecobee smart light switch with integrated temperature, occupancy, and daylight sensors. As if that weren’t enough, the light switch has microphones and speakers for full built-in Alexa functionality. Read more ›
Ecobee has officially announced the ecobee4 smart thermostat with built-in full Alexa capabilities. To be clear, this isn’t just a smart thermostat that can be controlled by Alexa, but rather, it’s like having an Echo Dot attached to your wall that happens to also directly control your home AC and heater in a smart way. The ecobee4 has a microphone, speaker, and lightbar to facilitate Alexa communication, as well as a touchscreen and smartphone app for its standard thermostat interface. Read more ›
My buddy Dave Zatz from zatznotfunny.com has uncovered evidence that the unannounced Ecobee4 smart thermostat will have Alexa capabilities built-in. Dave first speculated the next-gen thermostat would have Alexa when he found the device’s FCC report and noted that the new model appears to have gained a rear-facing speaker. In addition to the image above, which shows off an Alexa blue light bar on top of the device, Dave has found marketing materials that confirm Alexa is in tow. Read more ›
Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant has been able to change the color of smart bulbs for a while, but it was in a roundabout way. You had to first setup a scene with a new color and then ask Alexa to activate the scene. Now Alexa can finally just directly change the color of a smart bulb.
You can say “Alexa, set the bedroom light to orange” to select a specific color, but what’s probably more useful is the ability to say “Alexa, make the living room light warmer/cooler” to adjust the color temperature from a blue-ish white to an orange-ish white, and vice versa. You can also say “Alexa, set the kitchen light to cool/warm white” if you want a specific temperature of while. The new ability is already available with Philips Hue, TP-Link, and Lifx bulbs. You just need to have the respective Alexa Skills enabled.
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, Smart Device
Amazon just added native support for smart locks earlier this month. This allow you to lock your door and check if your door is locked using your voice with ease. If this is something that interests you, the August Smart Lock just went on sale for $182.99 at Amazon. At 20% off the retail price of $230, that’s the lowest price this lock has ever been.
The August Smart Home skill lets you ask Alexa using natural speech. That means you can say “Alexa, lock the front door” or “Alexa, is the front door locked?” to perform the action or receive a response. There is also a regular August skill that adds the optional ability to unlock the door by speaking a PIN code, if that interests you. This works through any Alexa access, not just hardware like the Echo and Fire TV, but also through the new iOS app integration. So the next time you leave the house and immediately question if you locked the door, you can quickly find out and put your mind at ease.
The all-new WeMo Mini Smart Plug is currently on sale for $27.99 at B&H Photo, $27.99 with promo code SPRINGBREAK at Belkin.com or $29.99 at Amazon. These are the lowest prices I’ve ever seen for this new smart plug model. This is the updated version of Belkin’s smart plug that is smaller and no longer covers adjacent power outlets, like the previous generation did. These smart power outlets are fully compatible with Alexa, so they can be controlled with your voice. Even better is they do not require a hub to work, like many of the other smart plugs on the market. You literally just plug them in, configure them with the WeMo app, say “Alexa, discover devices,” and you’ll be controlling anything plugged into the smart plug with your voice within minutes with nothing else to buy.