How to Build Your Own Smart Home Using Alexa?
An Alexa smart speaker has the power to control your lights, plugs and other devices – and it's so easy to set up. Some of the best smart home brands use Alexa for integrating devices using wireless home automation.
First, you're going to need some Alexa devices, which include smart bulbs, followed by smart home hubs, touch sensor switches and security cameras.
Buying a connected bulb or touch switches for home are the simplest way to get Alexa to control your home lighting, but it can be a little impractical if you had scores of bulbs around the room.
We usually advise newbies just to choose some mood lights to start off with, and then you can trick out the rest of your home lighting later.
And don't forget, lighting can also be controlled vis smart plugs for lamps – and you can even make the light switch itself connect to Alexa and leave the bulbs well alone. Read our guides for that, for more ideas. Other than that some smart door locks also come with features that allow integration with Alexa. However, this can be security hazard and is not recommended as digital door locks with voice control can be hacked.
In this guide we look at how to connect your devices like the Alexa smart plug with Alexa and how to control them. Along with various devices like the universal remote.
Why connect your home with Alexa?
So first of all, why bother to go to the effort of buying Alexa-compatible devices? Wifi based home automation systems have come a long way, to put it succinctly, Alexa really starts to make sense in your home when controlling Bluetooth light bulbs from an Echo device. You can control other devices like wifi light switches through it as well.
Alexa is extremely adept at making smart home tech work together. It’s easy to set up single command groups that can control multiple lights, plugs and other devices together – which means a single command can set the mood in your entire house, be it walking in the door, getting ready for some TV time, or just switching everything off before bed. The wifi touch switch can be set to perform various automated functions based on different things like the time, location and preference. Even smart locks that work with devices controlled using IR blasters can be used with Alexa.
How to add devices to Alexa
Smart home solutions and smart home companies are going to be the next big thing. Unless you’re using a Zigbee-enbled Echo speaker (detailed above), you’re going to need to install Alexa skills for the devices you want to Alexa to discover. This isn’t a complicated process, but you will need the login info for each of the smart device ecosystems you’re going to add. You can add as many devices you want, including rgb light bulbs.
Additionally, they can integrate with devices like an RGB light bulb. These are especially fun during movie nights and gaming. A touch switch can also be used for the same purpose. Plus, an electric smart switch is also one of the best ways to get started on your home automation journey. Kamonk offers you the best smart lock in the business. We strongly recommend gettings a google smart lock as it increases the security of your house tenfold
The easiest way to install the Alexa skill is to go to the app, open the side menu and, select Skills & Games from the list, then search. The app will take you through the process of adding your login details.
Once you’ve set your devices up in their own ecosystems, it’s time to hook them up with Alexa. You can do this two ways:
- Just ask an Alexa-enabled speaker: “Alexa discover my devices”
- Or, head to the Amazon Alexa app, tap Devices on the bottom right of the screen and then press the + button at the top right (see above).
Alexa will scan your home network and also use the pre-installed skills to locate devices you might want to add.
Whatever you’ve named them in your app will be the default name when it’s sucked into the Alexa app - but those names can always be changed.
Rename your devices in the Alexa app
Alexa will take the name of a device, found in its native app – but this can lead to clashes between devices, if for example, you have two different manufacturers of smart bulb, which have both defaulted to “lounge light”.
The result can be chaotic and you'll find you'll have some Alexa housekeeping to do.
However, you can name devices in the Alexa app separately, so you’ll want to go through and give them all easy-to-remember and logical names. Also, avoid clashes in Alexa between even random types of device. Having a “lounge” Sonos speaker and “lounge lamp” can play havoc with Alexa, so try and keep things separate.
To rename, follow the steps below:
- Open the Alexa app
- Tap the Devices tab at the bottom
- Choose the type of product from this screen, which makes it easier to find the exact device
- Tap on a device and select the Settings cog in the top-right corner
- Tap Edit Name.
Set up Alexa smart home groups
From within the Smart Home menu of the Amazon Alexa smartphone app, you can add any device into a single group, which can be controlled by voice. For example, you may want to group all lights on your ground floor into a single "Downstairs lights" group.
That way, it'll be much easier to integrate the devices into routines, or control multiple devices like the smart switch with a single voice command.
Do so using these steps:
- Open the Alexa app
- Tap Devices
- Press the + button in the top right
- Tap Add Group
- Choose Smart Home Group and give it a name that you'll remember. This could be "main lights" or "downstairs lights" for example
- Tap the devices you want from within the list, and then you're done
Import scenes from third-party apps
If you've designed scenes within apps such as Philips Hue, Alexa will also detect and import them. During a scan of your network, scenes will be added to the Alexa app.
You just need to have installed the relevant skills. Once registered in the app, you can then ask Alexa to control them.
What Alexa commands can I use?
So you have your home lighting, cameras, plugs and more set up with Alexa, and your scenes and groups, too. Here’s some ideas to get you started.
"Alexa, lights on."
"Alexa, lights off."
"Alexa, dim main lights to 50%."
"Set the light to blue."
"Set the light to soft white."
"Make the light warmer/cooler."
"Alexa, set the temperature to 21."
"Alexa, it's Bedtime" [to activate a Scene].
What happens if Alexa can’t find your device?
If you’ve gone through all these steps and Alexa isn’t seeing your device, there’s some steps you can take. For brevity, here’s your essential Alexa troubleshooting checklist
- Check it’s a Works with Alexa product
- Is it powered on and ready to be discovered?
- Delete and reinstall the Alexa skill, and sign in
- Check your phone; Alexa and this device are all connected to the same Wi-Fi network
- Turn Alexa off, the device and check how to do a hardware reset
- Update your router settings
How to delete smart home devices from Alexa and remove duplicates?
If you're sick and tired of hearing Alexa say, "A few things share that name, which one did you want?" or "Please try again using 'percent' for brightness or 'degrees' for temperature" after you give a basic smart home voice command, then take a look at our guide on deleting devices from your Alexa smart home. All of Kamonk’s devices are compatible with Alexa and we offer the best universal remote and the best smart locks in the business.