With the holiday quickly approaching, I’m doing everything in my power to make my home not only more efficient but also more livable. I’ll admit that the hubs was much quicker than me to jump on the whole smart home train but over the last few months, I’ve been eyeing the Amazon Echo Plus and easy smart devices. While I knew that he would be able to set up our whole home no problem, I worried that the technology would be over my head and that I would end up frustrated and confused. However, after sitting down with him and talking through the benefits of smart devices, I decided to make the leap and man, am I ever glad that I did! For all you other not-so-tech-savvy mamas out there, listen up because I’m about to change your life and share with you some easy ways to make your home more efficient!
The truth of the matter is, we live in a hands free world. I can’t even tell you the last time I sent a text or email that didn’t use voice dictation on my phone and pretty much any time I have a question, I ask the internet for the answer. I think most of us are that way and while I thought I was being efficient, I recently discovered that to really make my home efficient, I simple needed my home to become start with help from Amazon! Now, before I tell you exactly how I’m using the Echo Plus to simplify my life, let me stress that I am not techie! In fact, I resist change. But you don’t have to be tech-savvy or know how to program to make your home more efficient with the Amazon Echo Plus! Here’s how to do it!
Meet Your New Best Friend: Amazon Echo Plus
Truth, the first thing you’re gonna need is your new best friend which just happens to be a cute little speaker looking device called the Echo Plus. I’ll tell you that I’ve been eyeing this device for a while but I thought it would require so much work to set up. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, setup of the Echo Plus takes less than five minutes and it’s actually pretty fun. To start, I took the Echo Plus out of the box and plugged it in.
After it was plugged in, I found the Echo Plus app on my phone and downloaded it. Once it was down downloading, I simply signed into my Amazon account that I’ve had for years. Now, here’s where things got fun. After opening the app, I was able to connect my Echo Plus to my home’s WiFi and it immediately started pairing with the app.
Within seconds (seriously, seconds) it was set up and all I had to do was say “Alexa” and ask it a question. Now I’ll admit that we started out simple asking Alexa to do things like play our favorite songs (Baby Shark anyone?) but I quickly began to discover that Alexa can do so much more than play a catchy tune or tell me what the temperature is.
Connect Echo Plus to Your Smart Devices
Once I had mastered asking Alexa simple questions like what is the weather and what is the score to the game, I moved on to linking the Echo Plus with some of the simpler devices in my home. Again, I thought this was going to be hard. In fact, I changed out my lights in the living room for Phillips Hue Smart Lights and then got ready for some complicated syncing.
Imagine my surprise when all I had to so was say “Alexa, discover devices” and less than a minute later, my lights were voice activated. Seriously you guys, I screwed in a light bulb and said THREE words.
Once the Echo Plus had discovered the lights, it told me exactly how they were labeled and just by talking I was able to turn on the lights, turn off the lights, dim them up to 30% or even 70%.
Instead of having to run to every light in the house when I come home in the evenings, I was able to save time and energy by simple telling Alexa which lights to turn on when I walked in the door. That’s right….I open the door from the garage, say “Alexa, turn on first light” and she kindly says “Okay” as my home lights up, allowing me to walk in without worries!
Not only was that crazy cool but it makes coming home on dark fall evenings so much easier because I know that I won’t have to stumble around in the dark and will instead have Alexa to make sure that my home is bright. Now that I’ve seen how easy it is to connect my Phillips Hue Smart Lights to my Echo Plus, I’m even more excited to add compatible switches, sensors, door locks and more because with now I know that with a simple command, Alexa can make my home run smoothly and efficiently.
Set up Routines, Skills and More
While simply being able to have voice commanded lights is pretty awesome in my book, the truth of the matter is that’s just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to what my Echo Plus and compatible smart devices can do. I recently discovered that those same lights that I was so excited about earlier can do so much more than simply turn on or off. I can also set routines and scenes in my Alexa app that allows me to create custom voice commands like “Alexa good night” where my lights turn off automatically or “Alexa it’s time to party” where my lights change colors based on my settings. I’m experimenting with different routines for different holiday events that are sure to make my gatherings extra fun.
In addition to routines, I’ve discovered that I can use skills to make my life easier! (Tip, if you don’t know where to start with skills, simple say “Alexa, open skill finder” to get started.) What are some of my favorite skills? I’m so glad you asked! I love the Best Recipes skill! All I have to do is say “Alexa, ask Best Recipes what’s for dinner” and she makes suggestions for recipes based on up to three ingredients!
In case I’m not feeling like cooking, I can order pizza using skills and I can even track my food intake (or that of my Type 1 Diabetic son) using simple skills. I’m seriously telling you guys, there seems to be no limit to what the Echo Plus can do using the skills and new skills are still being added each and every day!
In fact, even my littlest has even discovered that he can play games and get help with his math homework using….you guessed it, skills!
Truthfully you guys, I talk to my Echo Plus all day long and it’s the first place I turn to switch on lights, look for recipes, find out the weather, plan holiday parties and more! I’m even enjoying my favorite music more thanks to the deeper, more powerful sound of the Echo Plus! I don’t know how I ran my household before I had this awesome little friend helping me but I know that now that I’ve got the power of Alexa by my side, everything in my life and my home runs much more efficiently!
No matter what routines, tasks or skills you’re hoping to use to make your home more efficient, the perfect place to start is with the Echo Plus and smart devices. This simple device that’s is every mom’s best friend is saving me time, energy and ensuring that no matter how small the task, I’ve got the more efficient way to make it happen!
Tell me, how would the Echo Plus and Alexa help make your home more efficient?