How to Get Started
Most home automation products require you to download a device-specific app for your phone or desktop computer, which is a fine approach if you have only one or two smart accessories. But if you have a bevy of home automation devices (such as 16 different lightbulbs, thermostat, wall plug, and lock), having a separate app for every device can be a real pain in the you-know-what. Smart home hubs, like an Echo or Echo Dot, enable you to consolidate and govern all your devices from one location. Just connect your devices, and you can simplify your bedtime routine with voice commands like, “Alexa, dim the lights in the living room.”
To get started, you need to set up your smart devices and obtain an Alexa-powered device if you haven’t done so already. Next, you’ll need to download the Echo app for Alexa on your phone or computer and sync the Echo Dot or Echo with the Echo app.
But before you go around telling Alexa what to do with all your other smart devices, you’ll need to enable a skill.
To do so, visit the Alexa app and search for each device’s skills. Once you’ve found a skill, hit the “enable” button, and voila! You might need to pair Alexa with your smart equipment, which you’ll do by saying (to Alexa), “Pair devices,” and you should be good to go.
Note: In addition to Alexa’s at-home command capabilities, you can control Alexa (and therefore your smart devices) remotely from your phone. That means you can double-check to ensure you locked the door, turn on lights to give the appearance that you’re home, or control the temperature when you’re on vacation. And while you might think these capabilities are pointless if you have a home security system, it’s better to protect your home from all angles and be extra safe than extra sorry.