Ring Gets Festive, New Alexa Switches and Chatting Features 🗣️

Good evening! Releasing this newsletter late today, driving around this morning, and dropping kids at different sporting events. All cool in this part of the world and hope those of you in the US had a great Thanksgiving holiday. Here are a few snippers of smart home news to check out this week:

Ho Ho Ho Ring 🤶

Ring is getting into the Christmas spirit by launching some new Christmas chimes for their doorbells. Last year, we set up the doorbell to play Jingle Bells. Need to consult with the kids this year on what Christmas ditty to play for visitors! Want a little more info, then check out this short article

Alexa Only Switches

Hot on the heels of releasing an Amazon-branded smart thermostat, the company has now released a set of smart light switches. The new range consists of four different types that can be used to control a single circuit from one or multiple locations. As with all smart switches, there will be some wiring involved, which may require the services of the electrician. Overall, I think it’s a move in the right direction and signals Amazon’s intention to compete with smart home devices that are embedded into the fabric of a building. There are two gotchas worth noting, the switches require a neutral wire (often not available in older houses), and only include Alexa support. If Amazon embraces Matter as it has committed to, then this voice assistant exclusivity should go away. Check out this Twitter thread for more details. 

This Weeks Blog Post ✍️

Among all the automation platforms out there, Samsung SmartThings is among the most popular ones. Ever since it was launched back in 2013, SmartThings has been turning heads in the smart home industry. One of its biggest inventions to date is the SmartThings hub. Not only is this smart hub one of the most affordable you’ll find in the market today but also, its functionality is up there with the best. The SmartThings hub has become a worthy competitor to other established smart hubs. These smart hubs include Amazon’s Echo, Google Home Mini, and Google Nest Mini. However, like any other device in the smart home industry, the Samsung SmartThings hub has its advantages and disadvantages. They include;>> Read the complete article on the blog

Smart CO Gas Detection

Worked in the emergency services for a while, and am a fan of smart safety devices.

This particular one from French company Netatmo is worth checking out because:

  • It works with Apple-based smart homes.
  • Provides notifications when the highly dangerous Carbon monoxide is detected.
  • Immediately available in UK and Europe, no release date yet for the USA.

More details on this product are available here.

How’s it Going Alexa? 🗣️

This new feature from Alexa sounds kinda cool. Dubbed ‘conversation mode’, this new capability will allow you to have more natural, back-and-forth interactions with Alexa, without needing to repeat the wake word. The wording to enable the mode is “Alexa, join the conversation” and enabling the feature will be optional. From a practical perspective, conversation mode will allow multiple people in a room to interact with an Alexa-enabled speaker. You have three options to stop this mode, namely; asking Alexa to leave the conversation, pressing the mic/camera off button, or closing the camera shutter. You can find more information on the science behind Conversation Mode by visiting Amazon Science.

Weekly Smart Home Voice Command! 🎤

OK, Google, brew coffee at 8 a.m

This is it for today, See you next Sunday 😉. If you have colleagues, friends, or neighbors that would benefit from knowing about smart home devices, please consider sharing them.

They can sign up for the newsletter by going here.

– Gerard

ICT professional, Author, Serial Internet Entrepreneur, Investor, Smart Home Enthusiast, and Creator!

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