What Does the Amazon Echo Smart Plug Do?
The Internet of Things is growing rapidly. Soon, every device in your home will be interconnected, if you want it to be. Like the clapper lights of old, the idea is to make your life more convenient, and your home more responsive, to save you time and effort that can be better spent on other things.
Amazon is one of the tech companies at the forefront of this wave of technology. Powered by their smart assistant AI Alexa, they’re constantly expanding their range of voice-enabled devices that you can use to intelligently organize all the electronics in your home, as well as things like your lights, curtains, and more. That’s where the Echo Smart Plug comes in, as it enables you to control otherwise ‘dumb’ devices via the hub that is Alexa.
How Does It Work?
Essentially, the Echo Smart Plug works as the middle man between whatever is plugged into it, and your personal home network of devices. This is in a literal and figurative sense – literal, because it plugs into the wall, and then you plug something into it; figurative, because it enables the connection to Alexa by being there.
It’s part of Amazon’s “Certified For Humans” range, which is designed to be easy to use for ‘non-experts’. You don’t need any previous techie knowledge, as you can get it all working with just a basic understanding of what to say to Alexa. The range covers all sorts of things, from coffee makers to light bulbs, and using this Smart Plug you can make pretty much anything you plug into the wall connected to your smart home.
What Can It Do?
By connecting the Echo Smart Plug to your Alexa app, you can remotely switch devices on or off. You can set up schedules that will automatically turn plugs on or off at a certain time of day as well, or when you give a specific voice command. You don’t even need to be at home to make it work, as Alexa can control all of the devices connected to the smart network remotely.
As an example, you could have a morning routine set up to make your life easier when you get out of bed. Once you’ve specified what you want, and got it all hooked up, it would be as simple as saying “Alexa, I’m awake,” and then the lights will slowly turn on, the ceiling fan will start to spin, your espresso will start to brew, and the radio will start playing your favorite station.
Or you can set it up so that it seems like you’re still at home when you’re actually away at work or on holiday. Whereas in the past you had to have a weird intermediary plug with timer dials on it to tell lights when to switch on, you can use Alexa in combination with these Smart Plugs to make it appear as if there’s still people staying in your home, in order to dissuade any would-be thieves from breaking in.
How to Set It Up
If you’ve already purchased a smart device through Amazon, then there’s a reasonable chance that it should automatically add itself to your smart home ecosystem as soon as you plug it in. This is thanks to their Wi-Fi Simple Setup system, which uses a saved Wi-Fi password entered on their website to automatically register any of their smart devices purchased through them to your network.
If it’s your first smart device, then during the set up you’re given the option to register your Wi-Fi credentials with Amazon, and this is the password that all subsequently purchased devices will use to try to connect.
Here’s how to check to make sure that it’s automatically connected:
- Plug the Echo Smart Plug into the socket that you want to use
- Open the Alexa app from the home screen of your Android, iOS, or FireOS device
- Tap on Devices
- Tap on Plugs
If the setup has worked, you should see your new plug listed here.
If you’re struggling to connect, double check to ensure that the Bluetooth and Location Services options are both enabled on the device you’re using Alexa on, and that Alexa has been given permission to use them both. It will also help to make sure that you’ve turned off any power saving or low-power modes before you try setting up the plug.
If it doesn’t work automatically, then you just need to follow these simple steps:
- Go back to the main screen of your Alexa app
- Tap on Devices
- Tap on the plus (+) button
- Tap on Add Device
- Tap on Plug
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup
Switch Your Home On
The Echo Smart Plug from Amazon is a pretty nifty piece of kit that you can use to connect all sorts of devices that otherwise wouldn’t work to your smart home network. It can make your life easier, help you make sure everything is switched off before you go out for the day, and even make it seem like there’s someone at home when you’re out and about.
If you’ve got any favorite uses for these plugs, or any tips and tricks, then why not share them in the comments section below?