Alexa, brought to us by Amazon, makes life easier at home especially when connected to smart home devices. However, HomeKey will teach Alexa new skills on how to make your home life even easier and smarter. In fact, we’ll make Alexa down right intelligent.

First let’s quickly review how the HomeKey founders and their families are currently using Alexa in their homes using a variety of Amazon devices connected to a wide variety of smart devices.

Alexa powered devices we’ve tested and currently use range from speakers, called Echo Dot and Plus (there now a hi-fi Studio version), to Echo Show’s which are video screens that range from 5” – 10” in size, and to Alexa powered Fire TV’s which start as low as $289 for a 50” 4K Ultra HD. So which ones are we fans of and what can you do with them?

The Echo Dots, Plus and Studio

Let’s start with the entry level Echo Dot ($35) – which now also has a Kids Edition ($55). We’ll dive into the Kids Edition in a future article. The Dot is a great entry level device to test Alexa in your home without much of an investment.

You can set alarms, timers, ask about the weather, get the news highlights, listen to music (not the best speaker for this) and even play audio-only quiz games and more. You can also connect to smart devices and control them with this $35 Dot. We’d say great for your home office or a kid’s room, but not your primary Echo device.

The Echo Show

The Echo Show is where it’s at in our opinion. The Echo Show’s have a beautiful screen which extends the Echo capabilities to real world uses such as: watching world news highlights and a weather forecast when you are having coffee. You can even watch movies or trailers on these. Or ask Alexa to show you chocolate chip cookie recipes, then select one on the touch-screen and view recipe instructions, see photos and a video overview. Or maybe you love to sing or listen to music – the screen can now sync the lyrics on-screen, show album art or even music videos.

The newest generation of Echo shows come in three sizes: Echo Show (10.1” with Premium Sound for $230), Echo 8 (8” HD for $99/sale), and the Echo Show 5 (5.5” for $80/sale). We’ve tested both the original, 8” generation 1, as well as the lastest 10.1” generation 2. The current 10.1” version has better styling, a noticeable size difference in the screen and a speaker that sounds great for listening to music in any size room in your home.
Beyond these Echo devices, you can control other smart devices, using Alexa in your home. Add a few light switches or outlets and from bed simply ask “Alexa, turn off the lights” or “Alexa, we’re going to bed” might turn off the lights, lock your front door and turn on your home alarm (assuming each of these smart home devices are Alexa-enabled and you’ve setup the various routines). But having those smart devices only makes your home so smart. HomeKey wants to make all homes intelligent.

What if Alexa could remind you that it’s time to replace those AC filters and you could order them simply by requesting them with your voice command? Or what if you saw a pesky cricket running across the floor and you could say “Alexa, have HomeKey request pest control” and Alexa replies “Would you like HomeKey to contact your favorite AAA Pest Control about setting up an appointment?”. Later in 2020 that will be a reality if you live in a home with HomeKey.

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