Ecobee's Switch+ allows you to summon Alexa right from your light switch
No Amazon Echo requiredBy David Matthews
Ecobee, maker of the popular smart thermostat Ecobee4, is expanding its lineup with the Switch+, a smart light switch with direct integration with Alexa.
The Switch+ is a smart, connected light switch that can function simultaneously as a light switch and Echo complete with Alexa's full suite of capabilities without the need to buy an Amazon Echo product. Like the Echo, you can speak commands or queries and get responses spoken aloud to you. All of Alexa's skills are available including reading news headlines, ordering an Uber or pizza, play music, and of course ordering anything on Amazon.
The Switch+ will allows you to control any light fixture or device that's connected to a "dumb" light switch provided you replace the dumb switch with the Switch+. Installing the Switch+ is not difficult although some owners of older homes may have some difficulty if they don't have a neutral wire.
Like the Ecobee4, the Switch+ can be controlled by the Ecobee app. Motion sensors can also turn the lights on and off if it detects movement. Other useful features include an integrated nightlight for kids (or adults) afraid of the dark and automatic syncing with the sunrise/sunset if used with outdoor lighting. Ironically, the Switch+ can also be voice controlled by Siri and Google Assistant. Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT are also supported.
According to the Verge, new features such as vacation mode that randomizes lights while you're away and temperature sensing capabilities via the Ecobee4 integration will be coming this summer.
Integrating Alexa directly with hardware seems to be an ongoing theme this year. We learned earlier this year that several PC manufacturers will be incorporating Alexa right into their computers. On the PC front, this makes having Cortana irrelevant as well as separate smart speakers like the Echo Dot for smart home use.
The Ecobee Switch+ is available for preorder today for $99.99 while in-store availability starting on March 26th.