Smart Home

Smart Homes and Alexa

There are few things more compelling than embracing the future and integrating your home with smart technology. How cool is it having the lights scheduled to come on for when you walk through the door and Alexa starting up the TV with the latest Amazon Prime shows loaded up and ready to play? Even being able to manage all of the plugs and watching the front door camera from a phone while out and about. So, in this post, we aim to cover seven of our favourite Smart Home gadgets and how they work.

1) Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

Amazon Echo Dot

A great starting point is the Amazon Echo Dot. This is really the brains of the whole operation. Using Alexa to connect all of your various Smart Home devices using their easy-to-use mobile app then allows you to manage them with voice commands such as “Alexa, turn on Entertainment System”. You can even ask Alexa to play any of your music through any of the Bluetooth speakers connected in the house.

2) TP-Link Kasa Cam

TP-link Kasa Cam

Through the Kasa app on your phone, you can see a live feed of Kasa Cam. The image is of good quality and the phone gets notified any time there is motion outside. Having several of these gives you good coverage of the house. This model is fine for indoor use, but for outside we would recommend something more durable.

3) Anki Vector

Anki Vector

What Smart Home is complete without a Smart Pet? Vector is an Alexa enabled device, but he has his own personality and is capable of manoeuvring around any flat surface without falling due to four drop-sensors on his underside. He is capable of recognising individual faces and comes with a cube which he can interact with to keep himself occupied. When he starts running out of power, he moves back to his charging bay so he can carry on all day (note: Vector is actually our office pet, we love him!)

4) TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb with Multicolour

TP-Link Kasa Smart Wifi LED Bulb

These light bulbs have so many great features. Not only can you change the brightness and colour, but you can also review how much power the bulb is using and schedule times for it to automatically power on or off and how bright it will be each time. It’s very fun grouping all lights together and saying “Alexa, turn all lights to red” while in the middle of a horror film with guests.

5) Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Ultra HD

Amazon Fire TV

Install this handy device onto your TV and use Alexa’s voice controls to easily open up your favourite shows and online video players. Watching TV has never been easier.

6) Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)

Amazon Echo Show

This Alexa device has a built-in screen which is capable of making video calls or watching videos. The screen can link to home security, simply by saying “Alexa, show me the front door” you can see everything outside the front of your house.

7) TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug with Energy Monitoring

TP-Link Kasa Smart Wifi Plug

A simple yet great addition to the Smart Home. This plug allows you to control your devices and monitor their energy usage through the Kasa app or Alexa. Being able to schedule all of the household plugs to turn off at night really does help save with the bills.