We all know Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, works with third-party integrations -- aka skills -- in order to offer a wide range of functionality. It can do everything from send texts for AT&T users to host a daily round of Jeopardy.
But did you also know it can also be used to control smart devices perfect for your office? You'll of course need to get the compatible products into your home or office first in order to fully leverage Alexa's ability to double as a smart home hub.
So, here's a list of five devices you should consider...
Philips' crazy-vibrant, smart lights line is available in $199 white and color ambiance starter kits. With these connected lighting solutions, you can program your Hue bulbs to set a mood or reflect the time of day. But there's also spotlights and designer lamps and LED light-strips and other kits you can choose from. The one thing they all have in common is that they can be controlled by Alexa. You can ask Alexa to "turn on wake up in the bedroom," and your lights will turn on gradually.
So this is technically two things. Still, Alexa can control robot vacuums. Just buy the Neato Botvac Connected for $699, and then simply say, "Alexa, tell Neato to start cleaning." Or, you can buy iRobot's Roomba 900 Series, and say, "Alexa, ask Roomba to begin cleaning." Either way, you'll soon have clean floors without ever having to move. And with both these robots, you can also use Alexa to start, stop, or pause cleaning whenever you want. Ah, the good life.
The Nest 3.0 smart thermostat, which costs $249, offers Alexa compatibility (only the third-generation Nest does). The connection is simple: You can tell Alexa to turn the temperature up or down. But Alexa can also learn. So, you'll be able to say, "Alexa, tell the thermostat that I'm too hot" to get it to turn the temp down. But, for whatever reason, if you don't like Nest, you can always consider Honeywell's smart thermostats, such as the new Lyric T6R, which offers location-based services and geofencing and more fancy features.
The TP-Link Wi-Fi smart plug costs $29.99 and essentially makes non-smart products smart. It's a Wi-Fi Plug that you can use with a regular lamp or coffee machine or whatever you have in mind. Once you switch it on, you can start barking commands to Alexa. As long as it's a basic device plugged in, you'll just need to tell Alexa to switch on that plug.
IFTTT is definitely an Alexa-compatible service worth mentioning. With this system in place, you have way more options. Nest, for instance, already has over 50 recipes that allow you to turn on a fan or just say "good morning" to turn up the heat. There are loads of these pre-set triggers/actions available to choose from in the IFTTT catalog, and each of them allows you to automatically control many smart devices at once -- via Alexa -- with ease.