First look: Amazon Smart Plug will turn everything in your house into an Alexa device

Smart home gadgets are great and all, but what if you don’t want to buy a whole bunch of new smart light bulbs in order to talk to your light fittings? What if you wished you could turn off that fan on a hot day without trekking to the other side of the room? Or set an If This Then That app routine that’d ensure you never leave the iron on when your rush out the door for work in the morning?

Smart home gadgets are great and all, but what if you don’t want to buy a whole bunch of new smart light bulbs in order to talk to your light fittings? What if you wished you could turn off that fan on a hot day without trekking to the other side of the room? Or set an If This Then That app routine that’d ensure you never leave the iron on when your rush out the door for work in the morning?

With the newly-announced Amazon Smart Plug (set to be available in both US and UK-compatible configurations), you’ll be able to do all the above with your wall socket-powered gadgets around the home, whether they’re smart or not.

The Amazon Smart Plug connects to your home Wi-Fi connection, letting it communicate with your Alexa-powered devices to let any attached electrical devices be controlled via voice alone. You can plug any old lamp, TV, blender or other device into the Amazon Smart Plug (itself plugged into your standard wall power outlet) and they can then be turned on or off using Alexa voice controls.

Easy customisation

Smart plugs are not unique – there are plenty out there that can already interface with Alexa. But the Amazon plug is unique in that it features Wi-Fi simple set-up, which allows an Alexa device to quickly find connected devices on your behalf, and intelligently rename them with voice commands alone. Plug in your bedside lamp, tell Alexa the Amazon Smart Plug is now called “bedside lamp” and then when you tell your Echo device to “turn off bedside lamp” it’ll intelligently turn off the correct gadget without you needing to manually rename a plug individually.

With a smart plug then you’ll be able to integrate all manner of electrical furnishings into your smart home routines. Walk through the door, say “Alexa, I’m home”, and you could have the smart plugs react by turning on your TV, a scent diffuser and a fan automatically to put your home in “my-work-day-is-done” chill-out mode.

Available for pre-order now at £24.99 in the UK and $24.99 in the US, the Amazon Smart Plugs look set to be a streamlined way of smartening up even the dumbest of household objects.

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