The Amazon Echo--though it's been marketed primarily as a music player--could be the home automation control everyone's been looking for to get their devices in the same play book. Michael McCole writes that the most unique feature is the Alexa voice command.
Alexa is what makes the Echo go. Speak, “Alexa, read me the news,” or, “Alexa, what are the baseball scores?” and she’ll tell you. She knows the weather, traffic and your stock prices. She tells bad jokes. (“Why was the ocean wet? It seaweed.”) She compiles lists: “Alexa, add ice cream to my shopping list.” And so on.
Pair the voice commands with the fact that it can link to other devices like the Philips's Hue light bulb, and you have a voice-controlled smart home hub. In his article McCole lines up the possibilities Echo gives homeowners: Can't find your phone? Ask Alexa to make it ring. Don't want to get out of the covers to turn up the heat? Ask Alexa to tell your Nest to turn up the temperature. Want to turn the lights off? Ask Alexa.