Just over two years ago, Amazon launched Alexa Suspicions. The feature allows Alexa to suggest actions for you based on your habits. If you normally turn off a light at the same time every day and Alexa notices it is still on, Alexa may offer to turn it off. Now Amazon will allow smart device developers to enable a new behavior for hunches that act without asking. It should give Alexa real automation powers.
Automation is one of the best features of a smart home when used wisely. You can set up routines that automatically turn the light on and off based on your presence or time of day. But automation can also be difficult to set up. You need to choose your device names wisely, group your smart devices into rooms and then set up routines. It̵
But Alexa’s hunches pass all that by. It acts on what it knows about your habits, much like the Nest Learning Thermostat. But so far, Alexa has asked for permission to respond to that knowledge. However, it makes no sense while you are sleeping or not at home to hear the suggestion to turn off the light. And that’s why this new feature from Amazon is exciting. Now if you leave home or it’s late at night and Alexa notices you’ve left the lights on, it can just turn them off for you. If your thermostat works like you’re still at home, it can adjust things without asking.
Developers need to integrate hunches into devices and enable the new capability. It is a change that will not happen overnight. If your smart plug or bulb already supports Alexa’s suspicions, that’s less work and you may see the feature sooner. But only time will tell how soon we’ll see true automation hit Alexa-powered homes.