Alexa can control hundreds of smart plugs in your home with your voice assistant. Alexa is designed to control all your smart devices at your home. you can control your smart tv, smart plugs, outdoor plugs, smart coffee maker, smart doors and outdoor cameras. A major number or percentage of smart plugs work with Alexa. You just think of an appliance you need to smarten, and get a smart plug for it, download the Alexa app into your mobile device, set it up, and voila! You are good to go.
Alexa is Amazon’s assistant that acts on voice command and responds, carrying out the instruction of the command. Alexa is inbuilt in devices called Amazon Echo. Amazon Echo is a smart speaker that captures your voice when you give commands to Alexa.
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Alexa’s actions are initiated via smart plugs. In other words, when you give a command for instance, “Alexa, turn off the living room TV”, this command is captured by Amazon Echo, the command is transmitted by Alexa to Amazon Cloud Server, a response is received, and instruction is given to the smart plug to turn off the living room TV. This is basically how it works, however, this happens very quickly.
In this article, we will be considering several things, from how Alexa and smart plug works, to answering if all smart plugs work with Alexa as well as the possibility of connecting multiple devices to Alexa. So, let’s get started.
How Alexa Works
Now the interesting question. How does Alexa work? Before we dive into that, let’s check out some more details about Alexa. Alexa is an Amazon assistant that is controlled by voice. It takes your command and responds by acting on those commands, producing results. Why the name Alexa, right? I know. A lovely name if you ask me.
The name Alexa has a partial inspiration from one of the Legendary libraries; The Egyptian Library of Alexandria, now that’s a partial reason for how the name Alexa came about.
Like Siri is to Apple, so is Alexa to Amazon. It is the cloud-based voice service for Amazon. It is an A.I that can perform various tasks, from less complicated tasks to more complicated and sometimes grouped tasks or requests. Alexa can provide information, keep schedules and routines, provide entertainment as well as offer assistance in a general way to its users.
Now let’s take a look at how Alexa works. For Alexa to respond when you speak, you have to use the “wake word” which is Alexa. Once this wake-word is detected by your echo devices ( speakers that have Alexa built-in them), then Alexa responds.
Your wake-word may be changed to “Amazon, “Echo” or “Computer”, whichever you like. But until the “wake-word” is used, your voice command cannot be acted upon. Apart from using the wake-word, Alexa can be prepared to act by using the action button on your device.
Once your device detects and receives your wake-word, it sends this information to “Amazon’s secure cloud”, which processes your request and sends a response for your request.
Though an A.I, Alexa sometimes acts like its human. For example, if I thought I heard my name while taking a walk down my street, I would turn around to see who called, so it is with Alexa. If I was on the phone and said something like “ David Moyes is doing a pretty much good job like Alex Ferguson would have done”, Alexa would wake up, because it incorrectly identified the word “Alex” to be the wake word.
How Smart Plug Works
Smart plugs are portable adaptors that you plug into the electrical outlet on your wall. Once plugged, you can plug in your devices and/or appliances to the smart plug, converting “dumb devices and appliances” to smart ones. Smart plugs look like your regular adaptors but function differently from your regular adaptor. They come in various designs, shapes, and sizes. Some smart plugs have two outlets, others just one outlet.
Now, how it works is by employing a Wi-Fi connection. Once your smart plug is connected to your electrical wall outlet, you can then connect your appliances to the smart plug. There is a button on the smart plug that brings it on when you press it. Once it comes up and is all set up, it can obey commands through Alexa by turning off or on your appliances.
When going for a smart plug, if you have certain preferences, you may want to find out if that brand offers those preferences. Some smart plugs keep track of energy consumption and have USB, therefore, you may have to check for your preferences in smart plugs.
You may also want to consider the size of the smart plug, especially if the outlet on the wall is two and are adjacent to each other. If you have to make use of both outlets, then you may need a mini-smart plug.
How the Communication Happens Between Alexa and Smart Plug
In terms of communication between Alexa and the smart plug, it can be likened to our communication between our mobile devices or laptops and the internet. The internet is the invisible part while our mobile devices or laptops are the visible parts. Our mobile devices and laptops send instructions via keystrokes that are interpreted into sentences, and the internet responds and displays the results on our screen.
So it is with Alexa and a smart plug. When your smart plugs and Alexa have been set up and connected to the same Wi-Fi, then Alexa can control your appliances. Another way to think of it is that smart plugs serve as “middlemen” between Alexa and your appliances.
When commands are given by you and picked up by echo speakers, Alexa interprets the command and gives instructions to smart plugs to either turn on or off an appliance. That is basically how Alexa and smart plugs communicate, as long as they are on the same Wi-Fi network.
Do All Smart Plugs Work With Alexa?
Do all smart plugs work with Amazon’s A.I, Alexa? No! A lot of smart plugs work well with Alexa, however, some products are manufactured with their assistant. One thing to note is Alexa is an app that needs to be downloaded into your mobile device, but you have to check if Alexa is compatible with your mobile device. If Alexa is compatible with your mobile device, then you can smarten your home appliances, using Amazon Echo.
The list of smart devices that work with Alexa usually runs in thousands, a huge number to make your selections from. Once again, be sure to check the product description to ascertain that the plug is responsive to Amazon’s assistant, Alexa.
Can You Connect Multiple Devices to Alexa?
Multiple devices can be connected to Alexa. Remember only one Alexa account can work at a time. If you have set-up multiple accounts, you can only use one at a time, however, you can switch between accounts. Connecting multiple devices to Alexa is very easy. To add multiple accounts to devices that use Alexa, follow the next steps.
- Open your Alexa app on your mobile device. Be sure it’s your Amazon account that’s signed in.
- Tap the settings tab to give you the menu for settings.
- Tap Alexa’s account.
- Next tap on Amazon household to invite a new member of your household.
- During the process of adding the new household member, you may need to at least provide the new member’s Amazon account username and password. If they do not have already, they can quickly and easily sign up.
- Once the provided information for the new member has been added, the next screen that comes up offers a button for you to click to join household. Once you click to join you are added up.
- Finally, the new account has to be linked to Alexa app on a separate device to finish up the setup. If the new household member wishes to use that same device, then the first account must be logged out of. On Alexa’s setup screen, the new household member should click on their name and follow the instructions to learn how to work with Alexa.
Automating the home makes life much easier. I mean, why get up from bed thirty minutes before you have to just to put on the coffee machine or why get up from bed to switch off the living room light when you can just say the word, and talk about the endless search for remote and asking your 3-year-old if they have seen the TV remote.
Automated home not just only makes things easy, but help to cut down costs, whether you talk of eliminating the cost for replacing remote control and its battery, or setting timers and schedule for your appliances, thereby conserving energy and reducing electricity bill, or keeping your home active while away to prevent buglers, automated home does it well.
We do hope you have been able to get more insight into Alexa and smart plug relationship that will help you in your decision making about Alexa and smart plugs.
Sam has been a Smart Things expert for years and the author of DIY SmartThings. Recently he’s really more into Nest smart devices and has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects from converting a regular Home to completely a smart home with the background degree in Electronics.