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How to use Alexa to turn on the lights

Implementing smart home technology is one of the more attractive promises of voice control systems such as Alexa. It is tempting (and perhaps inevitable) to fall into a rabbit hole of complexity when you set up a smart home, because there are so many options and possibilities. If you are just starting out, it might be a good idea to keep it simple for your first step in creating a smart home. For example, let's start installing a single lamp that you can ask Alexa to turn on and off.

There are many brands of smart light bulbs and as a result, installation procedures may vary from brand to brand. I have chosen a Philips Hue lamp because they are easily available, can be set up quickly and are well supported.

Initial installation

The first step is to screw in your light bulb (insert joke here), and the first thing to check is whether the lamp is on a dimmer. Many lamps work on dimmers, but older dimmers cannot handle the current requirements of LED lamps. You can worry about this if you go deeper into smart home settings; for now, avoid dimmers. Ready?

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone, switch on the light and wait a few seconds.
  • Tap the "Devices" tab in the lower right corner of your screen.
  • At the top of the Device screen, there are some buttons. The first says "Echo & Alexa" and the last says "All devices". If you're lucky, you'll also see a "Lights" button in between. Tap it because it means that Alexa has installed your light all by itself. You can now go to the section of this article titled "Final Installation."

Adding a device manually

If you are not very lucky, you must perform a small installation.

  • Tap the plus sign at the top right of the Devices screen, and then tap "Add Device" in the menu that appears. At the top are buttons for some popular device brands and protocols.
  • If yours is not there, tap & # 39; Light & # 39; and then tap the brand of light you are trying to install. You may have to download another app at this point and go through an installation process; follow these instructions carefully.

  • If your lamp on the other hand is among the popular brands at the top of the installation screen & # 39; Add device & # 39; (my Philips Hue lamp was there, for example), it simplifies things a bit.
  • Tap the correct icon to go to the installation screen. At this point I was asked if the lamp has Bluetooth. Newer Hue lamps, starting in the second half of 2019, are Bluetooth-enabled and have the Bluetooth logo on the lamp and the box. If you have an older Hue lamp, you may need to install the hardware bridge that was probably supplied with the lamp. Follow the instructions in the Alexa app, where you download a Hue app on your phone and install a Hue skill on the Alexa. That is, unless you have an Echo Plus, Echo Show or Echo Studio – in that case you should have no problems. These models come with built-in Zigbee hubs that can connect directly to Hue and other lights.

  • If you have a newer Bluetooth lamp, make sure that the software of your Echo is up to date by asking: “Alexa, is your software up-to-date? "If not, ask to update yourself.
  • Once you are sure that your software is up-to-date, turn off your Hue light and then on again. Then press the "Discover devices" button at the bottom of the installation screen.
  • The lamp can blink. The app must display a screen indicating that it is connecting to the lamp via Bluetooth. If the process fails, try again.
  • When it finally works, you'll see a screen that tells you that a light has been discovered. Tap the "Set device" button and you will hear that the light is set and ready for use. Tap "Done".

End result

If you now tap on the "Lights" button, you will see a list of all the smart lights that you have set to work with Alexa. Tap the name of the light and you will get a screen with which you can adjust the brightness with a slider. In the top right corner there is a gear icon that opens a screen with information about the lamp and with which you can rename the device.

To turn the lamp on and off, you can simply say: "Alexa, turn on " or "Alexa, turn off ." You can also dim it: "Alexa, dim to 50 percent."

Welcome to the world of smart houses.

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