If you told the average person 20 years ago that many homes would be fitted with a voice command robot that helped them run their household, they’d probably look at you funny.
Thanks to Alexa and the smart home revolution, that statement is now truer than ever.
What does an Alexa smart home do?
Amazon’s Alexa is a virtual assistant that can help with smart home automation, including the control of security, lighting, and temperature control. By pairing Alexa with other compatible devices and systems in the home, it aims to be the central hub for running the home and uses voice commands and automation to do the job.
Even if the notion of a smart home sounds far too advanced for you, there are still lots of things that Alexa can do.
This guide will introduce you to Alexa, discover her best features, and show you how one of these digital assistants can improve the safety and security of your home in a modern way.
What Is Alexa?
Alexa is the name of the virtual assistant developed by Amazon, and her first home was exclusively found in their range of handsfree speakers, the Amazon Echo.
Today, the Alexa app can be used not just with these devices but downloaded and enjoyed on a number of others as well, including smart phones and TVs, serving as your go-to for all matters related to the home and everyday life.
To operate Alexa, voice commands are given by you as the user and heard by a microphone in the speaker. These assistants provide information, can automate various functions around the home, and undertake tasks, simply by hearing the sound of your voice and responding to your requests.
The speaker connects through the WiFi connection at home to whatever else is linked to it, in an effort for everything to run smoothly from the central hub of Alexa.
Although not the only virtual assistant out there, Alexa has become the most popular, and you can easily sync one of these smart speakers to the other functions in your home.
With smart home security being an integral part of living comfortably and keeping your family safe, many people use their Alexa to take charge of this, including syncing it with smart alarms, sensors, and cameras that they have.
Alexa’s Best Features
The first time you hear about Amazon Echo and Alexa, it can be a little overwhelming and futuristic.
However, seeing what’s possible with one of these virtual assistants will make you realize just how helpful they can be for running a modern household. Here are some of the coolest features that Alexa has to offer:
Alexa comes alive in the kitchen and can act as your personal sous chef, and it’s the room where most people have a speaker set up. Alexa can give you inspiration for recipes, help you to convert something from liters to gallons, tell you how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon, or inform you of food preferences.
Rather than picking up your phone or typing an email on your computer, ask Alexa to do it. Using the speaker, you can send text messages, call your mother, or get help finding your phone. If you have other Echo speakers around the house, you can listen to what’s going on in that room, announce that dinner is ready, or talk to someone.
Syncing your Alexa to your home security means you can lock and unlock doors, check on cameras, and turn lights on when you’re not home. Having a virtual assistant to help makes your home a lot safer to live in.
Make household shopping a whole lot easier with Alexa and ask her to add specific ingredients to your grocery list, offer nutrition tips, refill your prescriptions, and find out what the most popular brand of cereal is.
Kids and family
Your kids will have a lot of fun with Alexa, and she can even help them do their homework. Alexa lets you speak to your kids in their bedroom, answers spelling questions, and play games with them with a simple command.
News and Information
Alexa will keep you up to date with all that’s happening, and answer all of your important questions. She can assist with random questions, play trivia games, tell you the news headlines, and inform you of the weather that day.
Inviting Alexa into the bedroom is a gamechanger and might even help you get some rest. Alexa can be commanded to assist with meditation, wake you up with music at a set time, play white noise, and more. if you’re synced up with a smart thermostat and lighting, she can set the mood with the right temperature and dim lights when you enter the room.
The personal assistant shines here, as you can ask Alexa to keep you up to date with your schedule. Set timers and alarms, find out what’s on your calendar for tomorrow, and have her remind you to do the things that you usually forget.
This new feature lets you set up an Alexa at a loved one’s home to give them 24/7 support, allow them to phone for help, and detect falls that have occurred.
How Alexa Works With Home Security
The smart home revolution has been especially beneficial for home security measures and it’s changed the way we safeguard our families and homes.
Whatever home security setup you have, there’s a good chance you can incorporate your Alexa into it to make it even more automated and intuitive. Here are a few things you can ask Alexa to do in regards to your security setup:
Turn on/off lights
A virtual assistant can be commanded to turn off all of the lights, or a specific one, like when you’ve left for the day and forgot to do it. You can also ask to turn on the porch light if someone is coming over.
Ask Alexa to lock the front door if you’re not home and it’s been left open, or command her to unlock the back door if somebody wants to get in there. This can be helpful when you’re not at home to do it yourself.
Check doors and windows
Find out whether the doors and windows of the house are locked or focus on a specific one. If you’re on vacation and feeling paranoid about your home, this can give you instant peace of mind.
Playback camera footage and adjust camera
Depending on the security cameras you have, you can ask Alexa to playback footage, send footage to a third party, zoom in on someone standing at the front door, or anything else to do with your cameras.
Alexa can help you create certain modes like Night Time, Vacation, and Work, each with unique settings. When you leave for work, ask Alexa to activate Work mode and watch her adjust the lights, heating, cameras, and locks to suit.
Compatible Security Suites
If you’re choosing a security system for your home, you’ll want to check whether it’s compatible with Alexa first, as this will make the flow of the smart home a lot easier.
These are some of the more popular smart security options that work with Amazon’s Alexa and what they do that stands out:
As a company also owned by Amazon, it’s no wonder that Ring has a security suite that works perfectly with Alexa. When you have the two connected, you can ask Alexa to show you who the last visitor was at the door, invite others to drop in and watch footage of the front door, and lock and unlock the doors of the house.
The Vivint suite is a perfect match for Alexa and it lets you fully automate your home security. You can ask Alexa to tell you whether a certain door in the house is locked or tell her to close the garage door, as well as perform temperature checks and turn on and off lights. This is not only helpful when you’re around but also when you’re gone, as you can make it appear as if the house is lived in.
Simplisafe aims to do it all with home security and it works even better with a virtual assistant controlling it. This complete suite can be controlled with some basic commands through Alexa that make it easy to keep your home safe. You can ask Alexa to lock the doors, see who has accessed certain areas of the house, and change the mode from home to away so the system can be on alert.
As one of America’s biggest security companies, ADT has made a point of ensuring its smart systems are compatible with Alexa. ADT lets you speak directly to Alexa through the app so there’s no need for a third party. You can command Alexa to turn on the patio light or lock the back door, as well as adjust the temperature to the perfect setting.
The intuitive home security suite also works a treat with Alexa and focuses specifically on being able to control security cameras. You can pan or zoom while watching them, just be asking Alexa to, and create scenes like “Good Night” that get the lighting just right, lock the doors, and make sure cameras are turned on.
Alexa integrates seamlessly with Cove and you’ll be able to arm the away mode or check on the status of doors when you speak to her. This is one of the cheaper options for home security that still has lots of smart features, and when you combine its compatibility with Alexa, you’re onto a winner.
As one of the world’s leading virtual assistants, Amazon works tirelessly to ensure it’s compatible with most of the new and popular security systems on the market. If you’re in the market for a security setup and want to be sure it works with Alexa, a quick read of their product guide will tell you the answer.
Staying Smart and Safe
The world is changing and so are our homes, but with technology like Amazon Alexa becoming more intuitive than ever, we have so much to gain.
If you’re looking to boost your home security the modern way, take a look what Alexa and the other smart home systems can do to help.
Smart homes are secure homes and there are so many ways that you can make your abode safer with the help of this technology. If you feel in the dark still about some of the smart home basics, we can assist with our expert answers to a few commonly asked questions.
What’s Included in Smart Home Security?
A comprehensive smart home security package usually consists of door and window sensors, motion sensors, wired or wireless security cameras inside and outside the home, alarms, and more. All of these devices are usually controlled by a single app or smart home hub for a streamlined approach to home security.
What Is Required for a Smart Home?
A smart home is one that consists of a few separate systems or devices that can operate automatically and adjust settings as needed, all of which require a wireless internet connection to work. These devices and systems can be controlled by a single smart home hub or by their respective apps, depending on how the home is set up.
How Do Smart Locks Work?
A smart lock is a door lock that works without a key and can be unlocked using a smartphone app or a digital keypad. The smart lock connects to the WiFi network at home and can open when it senses you’re close or if you give it the command to unlock through the dedicated app.