Earlier this week, Samsung-owned SmartThings announced its new home automation hub will be available in early September for $99. Like the current version, it controls lights, thermostats, and and other smart-home devices, but now processing will be done locally instead of on the cloud. The company is also promising a more powerful app, but that isn’t all it has planned for increasing the reach of its automated devices.
Today, in a blog post, SmartThings announced it now works with Amazon Echo, the online retailer’s wireless speaker that responds to voice commands. When it first appeared, the Echo was a bit limited in capabilities, at least compared to what it can do now. In the past few months, the Echo has added the ability to read synced Kindle audiobooks aloud, reorder items from Amazon, and relay information on scores and schedules from MLB and MLS. In terms of smart-home functionality, the speaker has been able to control WeMo and Philips Hue products since April.
The SmartThings integration means you can say, “Alexa, turn on the lights,” and if you have a compatible bulb installed — like a Cree or Osram — the Echo will switch it on for you. Similar commands will also work with anything plugged into the SmartThings power outlet, so if you have your coffee maker connected, you can summon a cup of Joe via voice command.
Lights, switches, and the outlet were all that were mentioned in the blog post as far as what the Echo can control, but that’s by no means the extent of the products SmartThings is compatible with: speakers, door locks, and thermostats are all on the list.
In our review of the Echo, we were really impressed by its responsiveness to voice commands and were interested to see what functionalities would be included down the line. Considering Amazon’s push to integrate into the home with things like Dash, it’s not surprising that it’s pushing to make the speaker compatible with every smart-home system possible.
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