There’s no need to give up counter space for an Amazon Echo or Dot with the Alexa-enabled ecobee4 smart thermostat and ecobee Switch+ smart light switch. Because ecobee’s smart wall units support Alexa Announcements, you also can use them as a home public address system.
If talking to light switches in your house seems peculiar, imagine how you’ll feel the first time they remind you to get ready to go out or broadcast that dinner is ready.
After you’ve enabled Alexa Announcements on an ecobee4, one or more ecobee Switch+ wall switches, or other announcement-compatible Alexa-enabled devices, there are three commands that will activate the feature.
You can say “Alexa, command…,” “Alexa announce…,” or “Alexa, tell everyone…” followed by your message. When Alexa makes the announcement via your home’s supported devices, it first sounds a short chime and then broadcasts the message in your voice, not Alexa’s.
If you’d rather not have announcements play on every Alexa-enabled device in your home, you can exclude specific devices by configuring them ahead of time. For example, you might not want to allow broadcasts to play in a home office or a baby’s bedroom.
To exclude a device, select Alexa Devices from the Alexa App and then toggle Do Not Disturb to turn the feature on or off. You can also set up specific time periods to exclude a device from Alexa announcements by selecting Scheduled in the Do Not Disturb menu and then selecting start and end times.
The ecobee devices also work with the Alexa App when you’re away from home. If you’re on your way home from work, for example, you say, “Alexa, announce I’ll be home in five minutes, and I’m bringing pizza.”
Alexa skills let you use ecobee smart devices for more than just announcements. In addition to turning lights on and off with the Switch+ and managing temperature with the ecobee4, you can ask Alexa to read the latest news, play music, order groceries, or even tell a story while you do chores around the house.
The ecobee4 Smart Thermostat sells for $250 on the company website. The Switch+ smart wall switch is usually $100 but is now on sale for $80. An ecobee4 Smart Thermostat and Switch+ bundle, normally $350, is on sale for $300.