New Connected Devices Solidify Alexa’s Central Role in the Smart Home

Two new smart home appliances are using Amazon’s Alexa AI assistant as their user interface.

New Connected Devices Solidify Alexa's Central Role in the Smart HomeOne is C by GE Sol, GE’s new, circle-shaped light. Users can change the device’s lighting style by voice command, requesting a bright, white light by which to work or a soft, warm light for relaxation, for example. Meanwhile, Toronto-based Ecobee has announced its new Ecobee4 smart thermostat, allowing users to adjust the temperature by voice command or by using a connected device or the Ecobee4’s touchscreen. In addition to their more specific functions, both devices are also equipped with more general smart home capabilities, thanks to Alexa – they can deliver the latest news, play music, set timers, and so on.

While these devices are made by different companies, they are both part of the ongoing evolution of the smart home, and they help to illustrate Amazon’s increasingly central presence in this area with its Alexa voice-based assistant, especially since the company opened the software to third party developers for integration into their own products.

GE’s smart light will be released this September, while the Ecobee4 will launch on May 15th. Ecobee says it also has a smart light switch in the works, though it hasn’t yet specified a release date for that device.