How to Set Up a Smart Home with Alexa – 5 Easy Steps

Smart homes have become so popular that if you don’t know what they are, you might be quarantined as an alien. A smart home will make your life easier and its constituent devices keep coming up with ingenious ways to go about everyday activities.

There are thousands of smart home devices you can get for your home to make it smart. From lights to locks, electric outlets, thermostats, and even coffee makers can connect to the internet and give you convenience and flexibility of control.

As you can guess, the more smart home devices you get, the more individual controls you have to deal with. What makes the whole system smart is that you can connect all the devices and control them from one place, with your voice!

Enter Alexa! This is Amazon’s virtual assistant. This celebrity in the Internet of Things (IoT) industry lives in Amazon Echo devices.

As you read on, we’ll tell you how to set up a smart home with Alexa. With her in your corner and a few purchases, your home will start feeling like Tony Stark’s basement.

Introduce Alexa to Your Home

You can use Alexa and her skills by purchasing Amazon’s Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, etc. The Echo Dot is your best bet to test waters with Alexa. It’s inexpensive and pretty straightforward to use.

From there, download the Alexa app. You can use that to control your devices if the Echo’s speaker is off.

Assuming you already have smart lights and smart plug in your home. To use those with Alexa, you’ll have to enable Alexa’s skill for those devices. Don’t worry, doing so is as easy as pressing a button.

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Some smart home devices still want you to pair them with Alexa. Don’t bother about the pain of going through one device at a time.

Just say “Pair Devices” to Alexa and watch her search for compatible devices and automatically pair with them.

Amazon has sold millions of units of its Echo devices. So, you can rest assured there are lots of smart devices that are compatible with it. You won’t run short of options in any category of smart home devices.

Setting Up Your Home with Alexa

We’ve already made it clear that you’ll need to buy a device that Alexa lives in to unleash her skills. Hopefully, your mind is made up on which to go for.

You can also experience Alexa at no cost at all if you just want to experiment with her. Download the app and use the mic icon at the top right of the screen.

You can use it to shop or connect a smart home device to it and control it with your voice. If you like the experience, then you can go for the real thing.

So, for the process of using Alexa skills in your home, we’ll skip the device selection step.

Step 1: Pick a location

You have to decide where you’ll put the Alexa device. Wherever you choose, make sure it’s close enough to an electric outlet and is within your Wi-Fi range.

The ideal position will have everything to do with how you intend to use it. If you’ll want Alexa to wake you up in time for work, turn off the lights, and read you a book to sleep, your bedroom will be a nice location.

If on another hand, you want her to dim the lights as you settle in to binge on Netflix, a coffee table in your living room might be a nice spot.

Since the Echo Dot doesn’t cost much, you can decide to go all out and buy multiple units you can place where you’ll need Alexa the most.

Step 2: Set up your smart home devices

Getting Alexa into your home is not enough to make it smart. You need to get smart home devices it can work with to create a smart system.

Luckily, there are lots of devices you can choose from. They’re not just for fancy but things you need in around the house. You can start this journey with smart lights, smart plugs, and other small gadgets like that.

Ideally, when you purchase these smart home devices, you’ll register them on their apps and usually give them a name. This is important because that’s the name you’ll refer to them with when talking to Alexa.

So, when choosing a name, make it something short, sweet, and easy to pronounce. For instance, if you named your smart lights sparky, you’ll be able to go “Alexa, dim sparky”.

Step 3: Put your devices under Alexa’s control

Now that you have all your smart devices working well, you have to subject them to Alexa’s charm. That way, you can use voice commands to orchestrate the magic that is your smart home.

First, you’ll have to launch the Alexa app to enable the different skills for the devices you want to connect. Go to the Smart Home page and tap “Smart Home Skills”. Search for the skills you want to enable based on the devices you have.

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Some manufacturers will have you authorize your access by adding your login credentials first.

Once all that is set, you can tell Alexa “Pair Devices” and she’ll search for all smart devices and sync up with them. When that is done, you can start commanding away.

Step 4: Create Scenes and Groups

You want to try out this feature if you have many smart home devices. Groups let you add similar devices to a collection so you can control them at once with a single command.

For instance, if you have 3 smart bulbs in your living room, you could put them in a group and turn them all on with a single, “Alexa, turn on the living room lights”.

Scenes, on the other hand, works differently. You can only use the feature with devices that allow them. Take a color-changing bulb such as Lifx, for instance, it allows you to pick colors to create a scene. For instance, you can choose for the bulbs to be red and green and tag it Christmas. Note that this setting is done on the Lifx app.

When you pair the lights with Alexa, the scene will be imported too. So, when you’re ready, you can simply say, “Alexa, activate Christmas” and the red and green lights will come on!

Step 5: Let the skills grow with you

As you continue to use Alexa and you update it as it becomes available, it acquires new skills to do more things.

This might encourage you to get more devices to play with and expand the reach your smart home. The more you use it, the more comfortable you’ll get and the better you’ll become at it.

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How Does Alexa Show Her Skills?

We’ve been talking about Alexa’s skills. If you’ve not yet figured out what it is, we’ll give you a feel of what Alexa can do with it. Alexa skills are simply what she can do with different smart devices.

Turn lights on or off

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If you want to control smart lights with Alexa, you’ll do more than enable the skill. You’ll also tell Alexa where the lights are. Of course, you can choose to use smart lights all over your home.

If you use Philips Hue for indoors, you can use voice control to turn it on or off, adjust brightness, or activate scenes as we explained earlier.

You can choose to use Kuna security lights in the backyard as the Hue won’t be an appropriate choice for outdoors.

The Alexa skills for lights can differentiate both lights by the name you gave each on its app. That way, you can say, “Alexa turn on the backyard lights”, and the living room lights remain as they are.

Have Alexa lock your doors

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Assuming you’ve expanded your smart home repertoire to the point that your front door uses a Samsung smart lock, for instance. With the appropriate skills enabled, you can tell Alexa to lock that door.

To take it a notch higher, when you’re winding down for the day and you’re not sure if the door is locked, just ask, “Alexa, is the front door locked?”

Influence the atmosphere with Alexa

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Imagine you’re already settled on the couch in the perfect position and you noticed the temperature just isn’t right. It’s such a pain to get up and adjust things.

With the right skills enabled, you can tell Alexa to increase or decrease the temperature. This you can do if you have a thermostat that is compatible with Alexa.

Many brands are so, you won’t need to tarry to get a suitable one to pull this off with.

Speak to your Air Conditioner

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If you have an AC such as the Frigidaire above, you can use your voice to turn it on and off, increase or lower the temperature, etc. But first, you have to enable the skill.

Power up any device with a smart outlet

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Any device connected to a smart outlet such as the one above can be turned on or off using your voice. Just pair it with Alexa and name the outlets according to its location so she can differentiate in case you choose to use more than one.

Conclusion

A smart home will make your daily experiences easier and even enjoyable than before. Alexa offers you the convenience of controlling all the smart devices in your home not just from one place but with your voice. You’ll agree this makes a lot of things easier. To enjoy this freedom, follow the guide we’ve provided and don’t forget to turn on the skills you need.

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