Amazon Echo owners can now control Samsung’s smart home devices with just their voice. The feature, announced today, means users can ask Alexa to turn on electrical outlets or dim the lights connected to their SmartThings system.
Alexa has become the voice-controlled solution for many connected homes. Echo owners could already use the always-on virtual assistant to control Philips Hue bulbs and Belkin WeMo switches. Today’s update brings that same control to any existing SmartThings devices.
Amazon also announced it’s releasing the new lighting API today, so you can expect other smart home devices to take advantage of Alexa’s power soon. That API is part of the larger Alexa Skills Kit, which lets developers add voice control to just about anything.
“We integrated a variety of products that work with the SmartThings open platform to work with Alexa,” said SmartThings platform leader Dora Hsu. “Using Alexa’s Lighting APIs, we were able to write, test, and deploy in a matter of days. It couldn’t have been easier, and we are excited for customers to try out what we’ve created for them.”
If you already have the connected devices set up, just tell Echo “Alexa, discover my appliances.” After a short confirmation, you’ll be able to ask her to set lights to 20 percent brightness or turn off outlets.
Customers who want to build a smart home powered by SmartThings and Alexa should start with a $180 Echo and either the current SmartThings Hub or the upcoming next-generation Hub, which is available for preorder. Users can then add smart locks, lights, outlets, thermostats and other SmartThings devices to their smart home network.