Ecobee’s smart thermostat and light switch speakers support Alexa Announcements

There’s no need to give up counter space for an Amazon Echo or Dot with the Alexa-enabled ecobee4 smart thermostat and ecobee Switch+ smart light switch. Because ecobee’s smart wall units support Alexa Announcements, you also can use them as a home public address system.

If talking to light switches in your house seems peculiar, imagine how you’ll feel the first time they remind you to get ready to go out or broadcast that dinner is ready.

After you’ve enabled Alexa Announcements on an ecobee4, one or more ecobee Switch+ wall switches, or other announcement-compatible Alexa-enabled devices, there are three commands that will activate the feature.

You can say “Alexa, command…,” “Alexa announce…,” or “Alexa, tell everyone…” followed by your message. When Alexa makes the announcement via your home’s supported devices, it first sounds a short chime and then broadcasts the message in your voice, not Alexa’s.

If you’d rather not have announcements play on every Alexa-enabled device in your home, you can exclude specific devices by configuring them ahead of time. For example, you might not want to allow broadcasts to play in a home office or a baby’s bedroom.

To exclude a device, select Alexa Devices from the Alexa App and then toggle Do Not Disturb to turn the feature on or off. You can also set up specific time periods to exclude a device from Alexa announcements by selecting Scheduled in the Do Not Disturb menu and then selecting start and end times.

The ecobee devices also work with the Alexa App when you’re away from home. If you’re on your way home from work, for example, you say, “Alexa, announce I’ll be home in five minutes, and I’m bringing pizza.”

Alexa skills let you use ecobee smart devices for more than just announcements. In addition to turning lights on and off with the Switch+ and managing temperature with the ecobee4, you can ask Alexa to read the latest news, play music, order groceries, or even tell a story while you do chores around the house.

The ecobee4 Smart Thermostat sells for $250 on the company website. The Switch+ smart wall switch is usually $100 but is now on sale for $80. An ecobee4 Smart Thermostat and Switch+ bundle, normally $350, is on sale for $300.

Smart Home

This just in: Alexa can now deliver the news like a professional newscaster

The Amazon Alexa team has given Alexa a newscaster voice that improves the way she delivers the news and reads Wikipedia articles, making the smart assistant easier to understand.
Deals

Need a smart speaker? Amazon knocks $50 off the Sonos Beam sound bar with Alexa

If you're looking to add some oomph to your home audio setup, then through February 3, the Alexa-enabled Sonos Beam is on sale for $50 off, bringing this excellent smart sound bar down to just $349 on Amazon.
Home Theater

Polk Audio’s Command Bar joins Alexa’s multiroom music party

Polk's Command Bar is a home theater soundbar with Alexa built in. But with a new update, it can also be grouped with Amazon's Echo products and other third-party speakers for a multi-room experience.
Smart Home

Here’s everything Amazon and its partners announced for Alexa at CES

Amazon Alexa is rocking CES 2019. After selling millions of Echo and Dot smart speakers during the 2018 holiday season, extending its reach everywhere, Amazon has announced a ton of new partnerships with device manufacturers.
Smart Home

Speed up cooking with one of the best pressure cookers on the market

Not all pressure cookers are created equally. You have to choose between stovetop cookers, multicookers, canners, and even microwave cookers. Our pressure cooking buyer's guide includes our picks for the best in each category.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Product Review

Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the simplest entry into a smarter doorway

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 may lack the style and sophistication of premium door-dingers, but few can match its simplicity and versatility. The device, available in both wired and wireless configurations, is easy to set up and adds instant…
Smart Home

Ring security camera catches man licking the doorbell for hours

A family in Salinas, California had their Ring camera capture something pretty unexpected: a man licking the doorbell outside of their home for more than three hours. The incident took place around 5:00 a.m.
Smart Home

GHSP makes a (back)splash with its touchscreen concept kitchen

One of the coolest concept kitchens from CES 2019 came from GHSP. It created a backsplash entirely made of touchscreens. That means the control panel for your kitchen is accessible no matter where you are.
Product Review

Kwikset Kevo Contemporary review

Tired of carrying around keys? Make keyless entry so easy that all you have to do is have your phone nearby to open the door. It’s a little pricey, but sleek lines and simple features make the Kwikset Kevo Contemporary a great choice for…
Smart Home

Airbnb says sorry to guest for how it dealt with undisclosed security camera

An Airbnb guest recently found a surveillance camera in his rental apartment that hadn't been properly disclosed in the listing. The firm admits its initial response to the guest's complaint was poor, but has since made amends.
Health & Fitness

In search of the fountain of youth, beauty companies turn to tech

Beauty tech is a fairly new concept, but at CES 2019, companies such as Olay, L’Oreal, and Neutrogena were fully embracing it with all kinds of gadgets that promise to give you glowing skin.
Smart Home

Thinking of buying an Instant Pot? Here's what you need to know

The Instant Pot is a powerful kitchen appliance that does everything from pressure cook to to slow cook to steam. Heck, you can even make yogurt in it. Here's all you need to know about the magic device.