Connect Alexa to Your Home Network
Now that you’ve chosen Alexa as the center of your smart home setup, the first step in making your smart home dream a reality is to connect your Alexa device to your home network. Amazon has made connecting your device to the network very easy if you have a smartphone or tablet with the Alexa app.
Since the Echo Dot is such a common device we’ll use it here to illustrate the basic steps to connect Alexa to your home network.
How to connect the Echo Dot to your home WiFi network:
- Find a location for your Echo Dot that has a WiFi signal, but that is not too close to a wall or window
- Plug your Alexa-enabled device into its power adapter and the adapter into the electrical outlet
- The light ring on the Echo Dot will turn blue, and then orange
- On your WiFi -connected smartphone or tablet, open the Alexa app
- Follow the instructions in the Alexa app to complete the process of connecting your Echo Dot to your WiFi network
- Test out Alexa using the wake word “Alexa” and a command like “What’s the weather like today?”
Now that Alexa is connected to your home network, you have the beginnings of a smart home. Let’s see what we can connect with Alexa to get the benefits from your new technology.
Let Alexa Control Your Lights
One of the easiest things to set up in your new smart home is Alexa-controlled lighting. Amazon sells a wide variety of smart light bulbs, lamps, and even electrical outlets that allow you to control the lighting in your home through the Alexa app and your Alexa device.
Set up the Philips Hue Smart Bulb Starter Kit
- Place the smart bulbs into the light fixtures you want to control from Alexa
- Turn on power the to bulbs
- Connect the Philips Hue Bridge to a power outlet using its adapter
- Use an ethernet cable to connect the Hue Bridge to your wireless router
- Download the official Philips Hue app to yours smartphone
- Go through the setup instructions on the smartphone app
With Alexa controlling lights in your home, the benefits are numerous. Now you can turn on the lights in your home when you’re carrying groceries using Alexa’s voice command system. You also have increased security with the ability to turn lights on and off through your smartphone’s Alexa app, even when you’re out of town
Install an Alexa Compatible Thermostat
One of the benefits of setting up a smart home with Alexa is having full control of your home environment down to the very temperature the house.
Set up the Nest Learning Thermostat
- Connect Nest Thermostat wires like you would with any other thermostat
- Connect Nest to your WiFi network using the control ring to navigate menus
- Answer Nest’s setup questions to improve the thermostat’s efficiency
- Adjust the Nest to your desired temperature
Programming and controlling your smart thermostat like the [Product Name] gives you the power to ensure that your home is always at the right temperature for your family’s activity level and time of day. Save money and be more energy efficient by turning the temperature up during warmer months when you’re away from home at work and school. Then, have Alexa cool down your house before you arrive. Work with your body’s natural rhythm, and wake up more naturally by having Alexa increase the temperature in the minutes before your morning alarm.
Get Alexa Talking to Your Smart TV
Your Alexa-connected smart home would not be complete without integrating entertainment. Alexa can connect to your smart TV, and if you don’t have a smart TV, Alexa integrates very well with the Amazon Fire Stick which can be used with any TV with an HDMI input.
Many new smart TV’s support Alexa almost right out of the box. Essentially, once you connect your smart TV to your home network, you can connect it to Alexa through the smartphone app using the manufacturer provided Alexa skill. One thing to note, smart TV’s like the LG referenced below allow you to control channel and volume selection as well as turning off the TV, but will not actually turn the TV on.
Check out this Smart TV: LG 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV (2018 Model)
With your smart TV connected to Alexa, you can use voice commands to find programs for you and your family to enjoy.
Connect Rooms Across Your House with Echo Dot
If you have multiple Alexa devices, you can even use them to communicate between rooms of your house like an intercom system. By using the “drop-in” feature to turn on two-way communication between Alexa devices, your family can stay connected without having to use your “outside voices”. The “drop-in” feature is available with any of your contacts who have the permission enabled for you on their own Alexa device, so the kids can drop in on Grandma whenever they like. At home, it can also help you calm your little ones who may need to hear your voice in their rooms on stormy nights.
Implement Access Control with Smart Locks
One of the most innovative and forward-looking features of the new smart home is automated access control. Smart locks add futuristic capabilities to your home with the ability to unlock your door as you approach and lock automatically when you leave. Never wonder again, “did I lock the doors when I left home?” because smart locks allow you to know using your smartphone that your door is closed and locked. Alexa-connected smart locks often add the additional benefit of locking and unlocking doors by voice command and passcode.
Set up the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect
- Install the August Smart Lock on the inside of your existing deadbolt lock
- Some Schlage screws may not be long enough for the August Smart Lock
- You can contact August directly to get longer screws
- Plug in your August Connect WiFi Bridge
- The WiFi Bridge is required for Alexa integration or remote access via smartphone
- Using the Alexa App, download the “August Smart Home” or “August Home” Alexa Skill
- The “August Smart Home” skill allows you to command Alexa directly
- The “August Home” skill is a “custom skill” that requires you to say “ask August to…” before commands, but adds extra functionality of the “Door Sense” feature if installed
Smart locks like the above offer amazing features like automatic unlock with proximity of your smartphone as well as granting access to others remotely, even on a temporary basis, making them ideal for people with out-of-town guests, or temporary tenants like AirBnB.
Enhance Security with Alexa Compatible Cameras
Smart locks are only one aspect of a comprehensive home security system that can be implemented in a smart home with Alexa. In addition to controlling who enters your smart home, you can also monitor your home inside and out with Alexa-compatible security cameras.
With the Amazon Cloud Cam Indoor Security Camera you can:
- Monitor areas of your home through the Cloud Cam App
- Download and share clips caught by motion detection
- View live streams from baby’s room or elderly loved ones
There is a wide variety of security camera options. Make sure you determine which features are important to you before ordering.
We’ll be working on writing a buyer’s guide to help you make those decisions. Bookmark this page for later to see just which cameras we recommend.
Smart security cameras can be used to monitor the perimeter of your home, keep track of little ones, or even help protect your deliveries from Amazon!
Go Beyond with Smart Plugs
With all of the available smart devices, you can connect and automate many household functions. For many of your household devices that don’t have specialized smart devices, you may consider using smart plugs. Smart plugs allow you to control power to your not-so-smart appliances allowing you to power them off and on based on the schedule you choose or even by voice command.
The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug by TP-Link is one of few smart plugs that work directly with Alexa without the need of a brand-specific hub.
Set up your Kasa Smart Plugs
- Plug the Kasa Smart Plug into an outlet accessible to the appliance you want to control
- Download the Kasa app to your smartphone
- Set up your TP-Link cloud account
- Connect your TP-Link account to Alexa
- Now you’ll be able to name your smart plugs and assign them to groups
- Try controlling your smart plugs using Alexa voice commands like, “Alexa, turn off living room lamp”
The benefits of smart plugs are numerous. Increase security by turning lights off and on while you’re away from home. Have the peace of mind that you didn’t leave the iron on by always plugging it into a smart plug that you can check remotely via your smartphone. Save energy and possibly even lower your electricity bill by scheduling appliances to power down when not in use.
Enjoy the Process
Setting up a smart home is a process that can take time: time to make decisions as to which home automation features you want to implement and how you want to do it. If you’re like us here at Home Plus Tech, the process of setting up a smart home is a fun one. And though installing all of these smart home devices can get pricey, you can prioritize which features are most important to you and your family and implement those first. The best place to start, we think, is with your Alexa device.