As you’ve seen, setting up Echo Dot
couldn’t be much easier. Once you’ve got this affordable, adaptable smart speaker in place, you can start streaming all your favorite audio to get the party started. Echo Dot offers so much more than music, though… Perhaps the main reason that more than 1 in 5 American adults invest in smart speakers
is due to the digital assistants powering them, the inimitable Alexa in the case of Echo Dot. With Alexa in the house, you can do far more than ask for a weather report or the latest news. Arguably the key selling point of this virtual butler – because, let’s face it, audio quality leaves plenty to be desired – is smart home control. What can you do using voice commands, though? The quick answer? Just about anything! Whether you want to lock your door as you leave, switch channels on your smart TV, or even fire up your robotic vacuum
, Alexa can make this happen in response to simple statements. If you want a general overview of how Alexa uses smart home commands, we looked at that right here
. Today, though, we’ll show you something more specific: how you can use Alexa with Insteon smart lighting
. Lighting is one of the most common entry points for anyone getting started with home automation. While Philips Hue and LIFX are maybe the first names that spring to mind when you think of smart lighting, Insteon has a robust range of devices you can use in combination with Alexa so you can automate your lighting hands-free. First thing’s first, you’ll need a hub…
Get Started: The Insteon Home Hub
Whether you want to use your smart phone as a universal remote or Alexa and voice commands, you should base your Insteon system around the classic Hub Central Controller
. This uprated iteration remains the most affordable home hub on the market but it’s now got a smaller footprint and slimline profile. Set-up has been improved so you’ll be up and running straight out the box in less than 5 minutes. Insteon wireless range was already impressive but the enhanced radio improves on previous range by fully 50%. Since Insteon is a dual-mesh network, you’ll get dependable communication between all your devices with this hub acting as a central gateway. From all your Insteon favorites through to your Nest Thermostat, the hub gives you complete remote control of your smart home even if you’re on vacation. Here’s a full list of compatible devices
. And, best of all, due to a direct Echo integration, you can also control all of Insteon’s line voltage relay devices with your favorite voice assistant. In plain English, this means you won’t
be able to open your garage door or your Insteon lock. Voice control extends to the gear you turn on and off, although you will be able to perform dimming duties with Insteon smart lighting. To use voice commands, you’ll need an Alexa-enabled device
in addition to the hub and devices you want to control. And remember, setting up Echo
couldn’t be easier. So, how about some smart lighting to get that party started?
3 Great Insteon Smart Lighting Solutions with Alexa
Are you maybe thinking about some simple home automation but not sure where to get started? This plug-in on/off module from Insteon is about as straightforward as smart home tech gets but comes with a shower of benefits. The primary purpose of this nifty module is to take charge of lamps. Table lamps and floor lamps are great for mood lighting, but not so useful when it comes to control. Rather than needing to contort yourself and grasp down behind the couch to hit the lights, you can use another Insteon controller like a keypad instead. Even more convenient, though, is to harness your smart phone or even voice commands. For either of these methods, you’ll need the hub above. If you’d heard using Insteon was complicated, nothing could be further from the truth. Plug your module into an outlet, your appliance into the bottom of the module and you’re ready to roll. With a simple guided process in app, you can connect to the hub in minutes then set up your Echo
and start asking Alexa to turn on the lamp if you need some time out with your book or to turn it off when you’re ready to head upstairs. As well as smartening up some dumber lighting, you can also control other small appliances using this module. Activate the fan when things get a bit too hot or automate your sensors. If you want to take control of appliances in the garden, this module also comes in an outdoor version
Ratchet things up from the plug-in module with a remote control on/off switch packing integrated Alexa functionality. If you’re looking to add both on/off and dimmer switches, Insteon have tweaked the paddle design so you differentiate between them at a glance. You won’t get a wall plate included. You can use just about any design, but this screwless Insteon plate
creates a seamless look. With the on/off switch, you can choose to use the Alexa app or Insteon scenes for automation purposes. The dimmer we look at below responds better with Insteon scenes. If you’re a fan of using a single app for control purposes, start with this on/off switch until you get a bit more confident. This switch allows you to take charge of pretty much any load type. You can control all your fluorescent lighting and also fans, motors, and other small appliances. You’ll be able to create multi-way switches if you’re comfy with that. This enables you to take command of lighting in multiple locations with no call for extra wiring, another strong selling point of this potent switch. How about if you want to get more experimental and start adjusting the brightness levels of your lights? Well, there’s an Insteon dimmer for that…
If you’re ready to step things up a gear from simple on/off control, mood lighting becomes even easier to manipulate with the classic Insteon dimmer. You’ve got a full spread of options with control making this dimmer perfect for the whole family. Your elderly relatives can simply use the switch itself if they’re not interested in remote control. You can also use an Insteon device like a mini remote control keypad
. Let’s face it, though, if you’re looking to automate your home you’ll probably want to use your smart phone, right? You can do that, too, with the Insteon hub and intuitive app. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also now use Alexa to dim your lights hands-free. Once you’re comfy with basic remote control or voice control, you can create Insteon scenes so you can control multiple devices with a single command. With the Alexa app, you can control several devices but only by switching them on or off in sync (but with a slight delay). Use Insteon scenes instead and you’ll also be able to set your devices to unique states in simultaneous harmony. Being able to control brightness levels with voice commands expands the scope of your automation and allows you to create superb effects without any user-input after setting the Insteon scenes. This dimmer is restricted to devices within the Insteon ecosystem, but with such a broad range of devices
, that’s not too much of a limitation. Choose from white, light almond and ivory to match your décor. You can personalize things further with some custom etching for that tailored touch. Whether you want to perform basic control with Alexa or build out Insteon scenes for even greater functionality, this dimmer is well worth the minimal investment. Not only will you score on the convenience front, you can save money on your power bills by running your lights at reduced brightness levels for the double-win.
If you were questioning whether Insteon devices are easy to use, hopefully this quick snapshot has shown you they’re user-friendly in the extreme. Get yourself that home hub and an Echo device and start barking orders at your lighting to make your life easier than ever before. And if you want to get more ambitious, there’s a whole Insteon ecosystem
you can build out.