Amazon Echo gains new connected home powers

Now the smart speaker can control your home lighting – all you need to do is ask

The Amazon Echo was always going to be a lot more just a voice-activated Bluetooth speaker – and now an update to the clever (and somewhat scary in an “it’s always listening to me with its robot ears” way) device is unlocking even more of its potential.

Yesterday, owners of the Echo were sent an email by Amazon revealing newfound powers to control home technology, specifically selected Philips Hue smart bulbs and Belkin WeMo power products.

As long as everything is connected to the same Wi-Fi network, all you need to do is order Echo to “discover my appliances” and it’ll do just that. Once that’s done, you can simply tell the Echo to switch these devices on or off. Sure, they were previously app-controllable, which is great – but Amazon has just removed another step in the process of controlling home appliances. Now you don’t even need to pull out your phone or tablet – you just speak.

And don’t expect these products to be the limit, merely the first in a long line of connected home and Internet of Things gear controllable by Echo.

Talk to me

Echo isn’t yet available in Malaysia, and can only be purchased by invite in the US currently, but it’s clear that Amazon has big plans in this area. Only a few days ago, the retailer unveiled the Dash Button, a tiny Wi-Fi-connected device able to order a specific household essential – say, hand soap or toilet paper – at the touch of, well, a button. It seems that, sooner or later, we’ll barely have to leave the house to buy things or the comfort of our favourite chair to switch off the lights in the next room. What a time to be alive.

[Source: Wired]