Amazon's voice-activated virtual assistant "Alexa" made her debut in the UK last September (complete with a cursory understanding of the Queen's English). Now, one of her notable partners for smart home control is following her across the pond with a new Alexa skill for connected living spaces in the UK.
That partner is Control4, a high-end home automation provider that sells fancy entertainment receivers designed to control everything under your roof -- TVs and streaming devices, gaming consoles and Blu-ray players, lights and thermostats, you name it. With Control4, you can automate all of it using preprogrammed "scenes" that trigger multiple devices all at once.
Add in Control4's Alexa skill, and you'll be able to trigger those scenes using a quick voice command on youror smart speaker. For instance, saying "Alexa, turn off the flat" could turn off all of the lights and media devices, lower the thermostat, and lock the doors.
Control4 receivers start at £400 (some more expansive models sell for well over £1,000), and if you want to use the Alexa skill, you'll need to tack on an extra £79 per year for the company's 4Sight service (not to mention what you'll need to spend on the actual smart gadgets and AV gear you want to control). That's obviously a lot of money, but Control4 seeks to justify the expense with a dealer-centric approach that has them doing all of the dirty work to get everything set up and working the way you want it.
The Control4 Alexa skill is available now -- to enable it, go to the "Smart Home" section of the Alexa app on your Android or iOS device, then tap "Get More Smart Home Skills" and search for Control4. You'll need to supply your Control4 account credentials in order to sync the service up with Alexa -- once you do, you'll be able to ask her to discover all of your preprogrammed scenes.
We're currently in the midst of testing out an Alexa-enhanced Control4 setup in the CNET Smart Home, so stay tuned for a full review of our experience with it by the end of this month.
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