The Amazon Echo can do a lot more than just listen to music and check the weather. Futuristically, as you might expect, it can actually control a wide range of SmartHome products so that all your home comforts are just a voice command. Keep reading as we show you how.

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What you need


You’ll, as you’d expect, need an Amazon Echo (or any other Alexa-enabled device) as well as some compatible smarthome devices.

Other than that, you just need the Alexa app on your phone, which you probably already downloaded. But if not, it’s available for iPhone and Android.

Prepare your SmartHome devices

Before you actually sit down to add SmartHome devices to your Echo, we highly recommend doing a little upgrade and housekeeping on the SmartHome side. In our experience, Alexa takes a fairly literal approach to importing and works best with updated software.


Therefore, we recommend that you first update the firmware and associated software for the SmartHome devices and hubs you are about to add to Alexa.

Then, review your SmartHome devices and make sure all names, settings, labels, etc. are set to your liking. For example, instead of a Philips Hue lamp named «Lamp 1», you can replace it with «Bedside Lamp». This makes it easier and more natural, for example, when issuing Alexa commands to turn the lights on and off.

How to add Smarthome devices to Alexa

Adding smarthomes devices to Alexa is easy (as long as you’re using a compatible device, of course). To make your experience smoother, it’s important to understand how Alexa handles smarthome devices.

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First, you’ll add devices to Alexa. Then, for ease of use, you can create groups in Alexa to group specific devices together—sometimes Alexa won’t import existing groupings you already have on your SmartHome systems, but will instead import each raw device separately.

For example, let’s say you have a group in an existing SmartHome called «Bedroom» and that group contains two light bulbs, a smart plug, and a heater. Let’s say you set a shortcut for the «Bedroom On» hub software and everything turns on in the morning when you wake up. You can still use all of these items in Alexa, but you will need to re-create your group in the Alexa app and name it «Bedroom» for the «Bedroom On» command to work with Alexa.

With everything cleared up, let’s see how to do exactly what we just described.

Add your devices

Once all smart home devices have been updated and naming schemes are in order, open the Alexa app on your smartphone and tap the menu icon in the top left corner.

Update : The app has changed a bit. Visit the Amazon website for the most up-to-date instructions.

In the menu that appears, select «Smart Home».

This screen has four sections: Groups, Devices, Scenes and Smart Skills. Start by clicking on «Devices».

Before we can actually add smarthome devices to Alexa, we need to enable the appropriate Alexa smarthome skills first. So click on «Smart home skill».

Follow our guide on how to turn on Alexa skills and install the essential smart home skills you need. Therefore, if you have Philips Hue lights, you need to install the Hue skill. If you have a Nest Thermostat, you need to enable the Nest skill… and so on for all your devices.

Once you’re done with that, we’re ready to start adding devices to Alexa. Go back and click «Discover» at the bottom of the screen.

The Alexa app will start scanning your network for any connected smarthome devices that it supports. With Philips Hue, you have to press the physical button on the Hue Bridge for Alexa to access it. Other SmartHome products do not require a physical step.

Once the application completes the scan, you will see a list of SmartHome devices that have been successfully added. Also, if you go back to the main Smart Home screen and click Scenes, all of your scenes that you have created for various devices will appear here.

Remember earlier in the tutorial when we suggested naming your devices SmartHome? This is a perfect example of why you want to do this. Kim Bedroom Lamp? Headboard? It’s very clear where they are. Office 1? We know he’s in the office, but we have no idea which one it is.

If you have a good reason to prevent Alexa from controlling a detected device, now is the time to click «Forget» to remove it from Alexa’s system. Otherwise, just go through the list and make sure all the devices you were expecting to show up did so. If something doesn’t appear, chances are you need to install the required Alexa skill for it.

Group your devices together

You can now organize your SmartHome devices into groups to make them easier to manage and control. On the main Smart Home screen, tap Groups.

Click on «Create a Group» at the bottom.

At the top, give the group a name, such as Office. Just make sure that this name is not used by an already existing device.

Keep in mind that Alexa will import room settings from Philips Hue, so you don’t have to group lights into rooms in the Alexa app, but other smarthome devices can be grouped together. In addition, you can group a set of lights and a smart plug so that all these things turn on and off together with a single command.

In any case, once you’ve named the group, scroll down and select all the items you want to include in the group. When you’re done, scroll down and click Save.

Your group will now appear in a list with the number of devices in that group. Create as many groups as you want by clicking «Create Group».

How to use Smarthome voice commands with Alexa

While each smarthome device is slightly different in how it is controlled, the more literal you are with Alexa, the better. When it comes to SmartHome lighting, Alexa is suited to two kinds of commands: binary (on/off) and graduated (brightness percentage). For other devices, it is only good for turning on/off, or turning on/off and an auxiliary input (for example, turning on the heater and setting the temperature, if the device supports it).

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Let’s look at lighting commands as some examples. Although we use Philips Hue, these commands work well with any lighting device connected to your Echo. You can use the following commands to control your lights (and other SmartHome devices):

You can find the syntax «start [groupname]’ useful for things that aren’t as binary as a light switch. For example, if you want to turn on a light, a charging strip that you have connected to a smart plug, and a heater in your bedroom as part of your morning routine, you can create a group with all of these items called «my morning routine», which can be called that you say «Alexa, start my morning routine» when you wake up in the morning.

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