Smart Friends and Alexa: Your voice controls your home  

Smart Friends and Alexa: Your voice controls your home

Smart Friends and Alexa allow you to control your home with your voice. Amazon Alexa understands your spoken commands and Smart Friends controls your tech. You decide which tech you’d like to use, set up custom scenes and, after activation, you’ll be in control of your home like never before.

The project

Level: Beginner

Time required: 30 minutes

Budget: from £650 (incl. 3 LED recessed lights)

What you need: Smart Friends-Box, Amazon Echo, Downlights

Extend with: further Smart-Friends components for heating, roller shutters etc.

What is needed: router, Internet access and smartphone or tablet with Smart Friends app and “Remote Home” option

Smart Friends and Alexa – a match made in heaven

A smart home is characterised by the fact that it does most things on its own. Lamps are switched on and off, radiators are regulated, locks are monitored. However, a home system, smart as it may be, can‘t predict everything. Perhaps you want to set the mood for a candlelight dinner by dimming the lights, or maybe you’re up later than usual and you want to boost the heating. You can reduce the hassle Smart Friends and Alexa on Amazon’s echo devices via the Smart Friends app.

The basic equipment

To use an Amazon Echo with Smart Friends, the option “Remote Home” must be activated in the Smart Friends Box. The option can be easily selected in the “Extensions” menu of the Smart Friends app. Smart Friends offers a six-month free trial, after that the option costs £9.99 for 12 months which can be cancelled at any time and is not auto-renewed.

As soon as the Amazon Echo is connected to your WiFi, you can activate the Smart Friends skill on it. The Smart Home is already able to accept voice commands. Which commands it understands depends on which components you have. Here are some examples:

  • “Alexa, turn on the lights.”
  • “Alexa, lower roller shutter kitchen by 50 percent”
  • “Alexa, turn the heating in the living room to 21 degrees”
  • “Alexa, turn on movie night”
Alexa and Smart Friends control lighting

Practical example: Lighting

Let’s assume that you have equipped your home with bulbs from Paulmann. In the Smart Friends app you now create three scenes:

  • “Morning mood” switches the bulbs in the kitchen, hall and bathroom to 80% brightness
  • “Evening mood” switches the light in the hall and living room to 50% brightness, while
  • And”Sleep” which deactivates all bulbs

Now you can activate these scenes with the voice command, “Alexa, switch on morning mood” without having to touch your smartphone. Other lighting components like LED light strips or table lamps offer additional options. For example, it is possible to create different colour moods with LED light strips and activate them with a voice command.

Of course, it is also possible to assign further components to these scenes. For example, “Night rest” can close the blinds and lower the room temperature, while “Morning mood” could boost the temperature in the bathroom and kitchen and opens the blinds again.

Privacy is preserved

Compared to other voice-controlled Smart Home systems Smart Friends and Alexa have a decisive advantage: you decide which components you want to release for voice control. For example, it‘s possible to have lighting and heating respond to voice commands, but not the garage door or the alarm system. This makes it impossible for a potential intruder to deactivate the alarm system with a voice command.

This doesn’t just apply to devices but can be applied to entire scenes. The data that is generated during the operation of these components and the creation of scenes is not released to the Amazon cloud. In this way, Smart Friends offers the greatest possible control over what happens to your Smart Home data while giving you maximum comfort through voice control.

Smart Home equipment with Smart Friends

Smart lighting cosy home

Do you want to control your smart home even without your tablet or smart phone? That’s no problem with Smart Friends and Alexa. No matter how carefully you programme your smart home, sometimes unpredictable situations arise which require manual intervention.

As soon as Amazon Echo is connected to your home Wi-Fi, your smart home tunes in. Settings or individual features can be easily activated via voice command.

You can decide which components may be accessed via voice control too, so you can still achieve maximum comfort and maintain a level of privacy.

 

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