How to control lights with Alexa

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So you’ve made your home smarter with the addition of an Amazon Alexa. Did you know that you can now make it brighter too?

Virtual assistants, like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, give you the power to control your lights with nothing more than your voice.

It’s surprisingly simple to set up, too.

Getting started – how to control lights with Alexa

First, ingredients… Obviously you’ll need an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. The other key ingredient is smart lighting. A smart bulb connects to the Internet and can be controlled on your smartphone, and it’s this connectivity that allows them to be controlled by Alexa.

For more on what light bulbs Alexa can control and getting smart bulbs set up, see our range of Hive smart lights. But for now, let’s assume you’ve got all your ingredients lined up and ready to go. Here’s what to do next (for this example we’ve used our Hive app, but other app experiences will be very similar):

Setting up your smart bulbs

1. Remove your old bulbs and screw the new smart lights into your existing fittings.

2. Log into the Hive app on your phone. Tap the menu button and then ‘Install devices’ and follow the onscreen instructions.

3. Switch the light on at the wall. The bulb will flash to show that it is searching for your hub. Once it appears on your app screen, press save.

Linking Hive with Alexa

1. From your Alexa app, tap ‘Skills’ in the menu and search for Hive. You may have noticed that there are two Hive Skills. For the best Alexa experience, make sure you have enabled both.

2. Enter your Hive username and password and follow the onscreen instructions.

3. Once you have enabled and linked both skills, you need to get Alexa to discover your smart light devices. You can do this by saying 'Alexa discover devices'.

Top tips for hands-free home lighting control

You’re now all set to light your home hands-free. Here are some simple suggestions to make sure Alexa works seamlessly with your smart lights (this trio of tricks will also help if you want to know how to control lights with Google Assistant.)

Make names memorable

Edit the name of each light to something easy to remember for you and everyone in the family. This can be done in the ‘Manage Devices’ section of the app. For example, instead of Hive E14, change the name to ‘Christopher’s bedroom’.

Keep them simple

Make sure the names sound quite simple, too. Longer names or multiple words will increase the chance of Alexa mishearing or not doing what you asked (if you’ve got children you will already be familiar with this problem)

Add zones

In the ‘Manage Devices’ section of the Hive app, you can also group your smart bulbs into zones. That way you can ask Alexa to turn on all the lights downstairs, or upstairs, or multiple smart spotlights in your kitchen.

Alternative smart lighting control systems for homes

Finally, let’s shed some light on the other handy ways you can control your smart lights:

1. Smartphone controlled lights – control lights with iPhone or Android apps

You can control lights with Android or iPhone apps (like our Hive app). These are simple to install and give you full control at your fingertips. So whether you remember you’ve left a light on when you’re sitting on the sofa or skiing on the slopes, you can quickly tap the app and turn it off.

2. Remote control lights

Remote controls for your lights have been around for a while but they’re still a good option. These handy devices are widely available and enable you to dim, adjust or turn off your smart lights from anywhere in your home using a remote control panel.

3. The humble wall switch

Don’t worry, installing smart lights doesn’t mean your existing light switches will be defunct. There are times when the wall switch will still be the closest and most efficient option. If you have a more advanced Light Control Unit in your home, smart lights can add to what you can do, too – like enabling you to change the colour, brightness, warmth or tone of your lighting with just one switch.

Now comes the fun part: make yourself a cuppa, settle down on the sofa and enjoy lighting your home hands-free. If you need any more handy hints then why not have a look at Hive Smart Lights. Or you can always ask Alexa...

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