Most people getting into home automation start off with the lighting, and it’s become easier than ever thanks to AI assistants like Amazon’s Alexa.
With Alexa, you can set up all the lights in your home to turn on or off with a single command, or schedule it at a certain time, or change them all to a certain color to set the mood. And you can do all this and more without ever getting out of bed; can’t beat that kind of convenience.
In this article, we’ve detailed everything you’ll need to get started with smart lighting, the initial setup process, and various ways to control the lights with Alexa.
What You’ll Need to Setup
Anyone setting up the smart lighting system for the first time will want to make sure that they have the necessary components first, starting with a device that can connect to Alexa. This could be a phone or PC with the Alexa app or a device like Amazon Echo.
Next, you’ll need a smart lighting component (bulb, switch, or plug). The best kind for you will depend on your own needs and preferences.
With a smart light bulb, you can usually customize everything from color and temperature to brightness and timers. Philips Hue bulbs are newbie-proof and very popular for their features and reliability, but there are also some great affordable options from Wyze and Sengled.
With something like the Amazon Smart Plug or a Kasa Smart Switch, you can plug in non-smart bulbs that you probably already have and control the lights with Alexa. The caveat is that, in most cases, you’ll only be able to control the on/off function as you can’t control the brightness and colors with a non-smart bulb.
How to Setup Lights on the Alexa App
You’ll have to download the Alexa app before you can start playing with the lights. It’s available on Android, iOS, and Windows. With most brands, you’ll also have to download the manufacturer’s app and set up the device there. Once that’s done, open the Alexa app and follow the steps listed below:
- Press Devices at the bottom.
- Tap on Add (+) from the top right and select Add Device.
- Select the type of device you’re adding.
- Select the device brand. If you’re prompted to enable a certain ‘skill’ (feature) for your specific device, follow the on-screen instructions to do so.
- The added device will be available on the Devices screen. You’ll probably want to select the Device, tap the settings cog from the top right and change the name to something easier to remember.
- If you want to add all the lights in a certain room to one group or something similar, select Devices > Add (+) > Add Group.
- Name the group, select all the devices you want to add, and press Next.
- Save the Group.
- And finally, if you want to set up automated routines, tap the three lines from the top left or swipe from left to right and select Routines.
How to Control Lights with Alexa
Once you’ve set up all the lights, it’s time for the fun part. Let’s start with some basic light control commands for Alexa.
To turn a light on, you can say:
Alexa, turn on <light name>
To turn on all the lights in a specific room, say Living Room, you can add all the lights into one group and say:
Alexa, turn on <group name>
To set the color tone or dim the brightness, you can say:
Alexa, dim <light name>
Alexa, set <light name> to 60%
Alexa, set the <group name> to soft blue
You get the idea. Getting started with these ‘smart’ devices is fairly easy. You can play around with the light intensity and color to set the mood for the room. And you can control multiple lights at once with the group/room feature.
But the Routine feature is where things get really good. You can basically set up a schedule to control certain lights a certain way at a specific time.
For instance, you could sync the routine timer with your alarm time. This way, when you wake up, the lights could be on at 25% brightness, and you could comfortably wake up at your own pace. Or you could set all the lights to turn on as you get home from work.
Or you could set the lights to act a certain way and play music when you speak a specific phrase. The possibilities are endless.
How Does Alexa Work With Lights?
In simple terms, Alexa uses the Wi-Fi to communicate with the smart lights and execute your commands.
The actual process goes more like this. When you give a command to Alexa, the device records your command and sends it over to Amazon’s servers. The recording is analyzed, and the device receives a relevant response back. Finally, Alexa uses this response to communicate with the smart lights and execute the commands.
Can You Turn On Lights With Alexa Remotely?
This is dependent on the device. Some devices need to be connected to the same WiFi network as Alexa, in which case this isn’t possible. But if your device connects to Alexa with a skill, then it doesn’t need to be on the same WiFi connection. You can control the lights remotely as well.
How to Fix if Alexa Can’t Find My Device?
If Alexa is unable to find your device, you should first make sure the device is powered on. Next, restart Alexa and the device. If you’re having trouble with a particular skill only, delete and reinstall the skill. You should also check that the device has the Works with Alexa certification, just in case.
What Does It Mean When Alexa is Flashing Green, Red, and Yellow?
Alexa can flash various colors to signal different things, but the most commonly seen colors are green, red, and yellow. Green usually indicates an incoming call, and red indicates that the camera or mic is turned off, while yellow indicates that you have a notification.