Amazon Echo, one of the best highlights last year in the Internet of Things (IoT), is going to upgrade into something even better and more useful. Home automation device mainstays like Nest and Honeywell are some of the few devices the Amazon Echo will have native support once the upgrade comes. Now that the Echo is getting more compatible to a new set of devices, things are really looking bright for Amazon’s entry to the smart home industry.
Already recognized as one of the most used smart home devices in the US household today, Amazon Echo is looking to provide more connectivity options, more accessibility and features for home automation enthusiasts and newbies alike. According to Amazon, the update for Echo will come by the end of March as the firmware is currently on a testing phase to ensure a smooth release come the end of the month.
Amazon Echo and the upcoming Update
Do you own an Amazon Echo and are you curious as to what’s in store for you? Going back to the promised update for Echo, it will add even better compatibility with smart home devices such as the Honeywell smart thermostats and more.
Just last February 2016, the Amazon Echo had just received an update for the compatibility of the ecobee3 smart thermostat. This month, we’re hoping for more to come. Can we bring Alexa everywhere we go by the help of a smartphone app? Are we going to experience another breakthrough when it comes to voice recognition and voice prompts? All of these questions will be discussed further. For now, let’s talk about the new things coming for Echo.
Amazon Echo – Same Look, New Add-Ons, Better Performance
Consumers who are looking for a good smart home controller will truly love what Alexa (Amazon Echo’s voice) has to offer. Thanks to the upcoming devices as well as the awaited update, Echo owners will now have the option to extend the range of the Echo without buying another unit. Thanks to the new smart home speaker products that dropped this year, consumers can now extend the range of Echo’s voice command and recognition capabilities.
Amazon Echo Speaker Extenders
As of today, there are a two smart home speakers that are 100% compatible with the Amazon Echo and both are reasonably priced considering what it can do to your smart home network. The cheapest option is the Dot, a hockey puck-sized speakers that has Alexa voice recognition and capable of accepting voice commands. Just like Echo, the Dot is capable of playing music, reading the news, weather, celebrity gossip and more without the need to be in the area where your Echo has been installed. Interested consumers may opt to get the Dot for only $89 USD.
The other, pricier option, is the Tap which is a smaller and even more portable option for the Amazon Echo. However unlike Echo, users have to manually press the button to activate voice prompts and commands. While it may be a turn off for some, especially considering the $129 USD price point, Amazon has pointed out that the push-button option is to ensure a longer battery lifespan for your smart home extender. One good thing to consider for the Tap, on the other hand, is the ability to take Alexa with you via your smartphone.
Amazon Echo vs Smart Home Controllers
Arguably, the best feature of the Amazon Echo is the fact that it acts as your smart home network hub as well as your home controller. Just by talking to Alexa, you will be able to control some aspects of your home. Compared to traditional smart home devices and Z-Wave starter kits, Echo is really showing a lot of potential especially now that we’re seeing constant software updates as well as hardware peripherals we can add to it.
For the price and performance Alexa can offer, it’s safe to say that the Amazon Echo is a really good buy if you can afford it. However, if you are expecting that having Echo is all you need to experience the smart home living, think again. You will need a lot more such as smart home lighting, sensors and security (if applicable) to name a few. Fortunately for you, we have almost everything you will need to get started right.
Regardless of the path you will take to experience smart home living, the important thing is that you will feel the convenience and lifestyle it can bring once you’re home is hooked up. Experience smart home luxury living today!