- Quick Guide to Setting up Amazon Alexa with Vera
- Amazon Alexa Guide: Modifying Alexa's Access and Syncing your Devices
- Supported Devices: What Works with Alexa?
Device and scene control, grouping, and organization
Bearing in mind the qualifications discussed here, there's quite a bit you can do with Alexa. By far the simplest command you can have Alexa carry out is turning a device on and off, such as a switch or bulb. With this being said, you can also dial up or down the brightness setting of a dimmer switch or dimmable light, or change the temperature setting of your thermostat, among others.
While all of the above can easily be done through the Alexa app, clearly the great advantage provided is that you can do it all hands-free, simply by issuing voice commands. Aside from this, you can also query the voice assistant about the status of a given device so as to not need to check yourself.
The voice commands are intuitive: 'turn on Kitchen lights,' 'set the thermostat to x degrees,' 'turn on/run [name of your scene],' 'dim nightstand lamp down to 40%' and so on—preceded, of course, by your Alexa wake word, which may be Amazon, Alexa, Echo, or Computer.
Here's a list of commands you can use for reference.
The Amazon Alexa app interface
As already mentioned, what you can do by means of voice commands can also be done through the app, if need be. The interface is similarly intuitive.
In the case of a dimmable light, to give an example, you can tap on the light icon to turn it on or off, and drag the level control bar button below to set the brightness; the icon will brighten up when turned on and according to the brightness level set.
Groups, rooms, and shortcuts
Alexa gathers up devices of the same type in shortcut groups so as to easily control all of them at once. That is to say, the top of the screen in the Devices section of the app is taken up with group cards of the devices and scenes discovered. If you have 2 lights, 2 smart plugs, and 2 switches, they'll each be placed in their corresponding group, as can be seen below:
Tapping on the shortcut provides the possibility of changing the state of all the devices that are part of it at the same time (i.e. ALL ON, ALL OFF), but also individually, if needed, through the individual on/off buttons next to each device.
Needless to say, you can make use of this via voice as well with turn on/off all lights, for instance, having the same effect.
Scenes also have their own group, intuitively called Scenes, that they're all placed into so as to easily find them, and, similarly, they can all be activated at once. Additionally, it also gives you the option of searching for new ones (as well as devices - go here for details) through the Discover Scenes button.
While this grouping is done automatically, you can also set up custom groups. Of course, the name has little significance, working much the same way and being there for purely organizational purposes and convenience. Groups will appear as a column of larger-sized cards than, and just below, the ones for the aforementioned shortcuts, which are arranged in a row at the top.
If the group is comprised of devices of the same kind, you'll get a button on the respective card that you can use for quick, simultaneous control.
Of course, you can get an unsorted listing of all the devices, if you want, by swiping left to the end of the row, and tapping on All Devices (while in the Devices section).
Setting up a group is also straightforward—just tap on the plus sign in the top right corner of the screen, and then Add Group, and then fill in your custom name in the Custom Name blank at the top. You'd then just have to tap on Next, select which devices you want to be part of this group, and then finally tap on Save to finish.
- turn on [device name]
- turn off [device name]
- set [device name] to 'on'
- set [device name] to 'off'
- turn on/activate [scene name]
- set [dimmable device name] to X%
- dim down/ brighten [dimmable device name] to X%
- set [device name] to X degrees
- set [thermostat name] to [thermostat mode]
- change [RBG device] to [color]
- to control all devices of the same type as a group, such as lights, simply issue one of the commands listed above, as needed, but use 'all the [device type]' instead of the device name. For example: Alexa, turn on all the lights, or turn on all the lights in the kitchen, to specify the group name.
- By default, the wake word is Alexa, which you need to precede each voice command issued with. However, it can be set to any of the following: Alexa, Computer, Amazon, and Echo.