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Now perfectly tuned, our smart home is a symphony of devices in perfect concert

We made it! After months of re-wiring, thousands of pounds of recycled electronics, and who knows how many pounds of drywall dust, our smart home renovation project is complete. We started with a non-existent network, aging home theater components, a crumbling distributed audio system, and more than just a few technical hurdles. Now, we end with a completely retrofitted smart home worthy of being called state-of-the-art.

As smart as Amazon’s Alexa may be, the digital assistant is not capable of making simple work out of coordinating a dozen or more disparate smart home devices — that’s where Control4 comes in. With Control4 acting as the conductor of our smart home symphony, a simple voice command to Alexa through an Echo device is transformed into specific instructions to multiple devices, all executed in concert. If you could see inside the Control4 center’s brain, it would look like a frenzy of arm waving, lever pulling and button pressing. Yet, thanks to tight integration with Alexa, voice commands just work — and simply at that.

In this fourth video of our Connect my Crib series, you’ll see this integration at work. By speaking the words, “Alexa, turn on home,” a series of lights turn on, the thermostat automatically adjusts, and quiet music begins playing from a previously specified Spotify playlist. Conversely, “Alexa, turn off home,” sets in motion the shutting down of the home, be it for the duration of a short trip to the store, or a night of sleep. We can also tell Alexa to put the home in vacation mode, which turns off all but a certain set of lights, which are strategically chosen to make it seem as if the home is occupied.

The Alexa control extends to every room in the house through carefully hidden Echo Dot speakers, so that Alexa can hear us no matter where we are. Voice commands can start music from any number of streaming services or local music sources, and play them in any room of the house, at any volume level desired. And because of Control4’s switching matrix, different sources and songs can be played in different rooms all at the same time.

Alexa also makes easy work out of controlling our impressive home theater, switching on our projector, A/V receiver, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, cable box, Apple TV, and any other needed device for a seamless entertainment experience.

In the end, the result was well worth the effort and the time invested. We now have a great test bed for new smart home devices and a chance to work with Alexa’s growing list of skills. You’ll be seeing our new smart home featured in many articles and videos to come.

Some components of this installation were provided and installed courtesy of Control4, Sony, Audio Control, and Sunbrite TV.

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Caleb Denison
Digital Trends Editor at Large Caleb Denison is a sought-after writer, speaker, and television correspondent with unmatched…
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