In the world of Smart Home voice activators, Amazon Echo is one of the big names that readily springs to mind.

But up until the launch of Amazon in Australia in early December, there had been no word when Echo would be available locally. Now it’s official, come early 2018 Amazon Echo will be here, and many predict it’s coming to a home near you.

Here’s the lowdown on Amazon Echo and what it offers the smart home…

What is Amazon Echo?

Amazon Echo is a smart speaker with a voice activated assistant named Alexa. Basically it acts as a central hub in the smart home.

Users can ask it questions like “Alexa, what will the weather be like today?”, check calendars, run apps, make and accept phone calls, set timers and access music.

But it’s Echo’s role as a voice activator in the smart home that sees it really come into it’s own. When installed on the same network as other smart home technology, Echo allows you to perform functions like turning on the lights, locking doors, setting scenes and more, all via simple voice command.

A whole lot of integrations

The Australian arrival of Echo was officially announced in late November and with it came a host of integrations, or services it will partner with, on the local front. These include:

  • Uber
  • Spotify
  • Sky News Australia
  • Fox Sports
  • Qantas
  • Dimmi
  • Coastalwatch

Meanwhile, CNET notes Amazon has also opened up its Alexa Skills Kit to local developers so they can set to work creating further services in Australia for Alexa to provide.

Playing nicely

The key to Echo is its ability to play nicely with others and already there’s a wealth of smart home technology in Australian homes that will likely be compatible. This includes Fibaro, one of the major product lines Lera Smart Home Solutions uses in the installation and set-up of our Smart Homes.

That means we can install Fibaro products like sensors and activators and you can then control them by Echo and Alexa using simple voice command.

Why the wait?

In the smart speaker/voice activator realm, Echo is a relatively late arrival to Australia. Google Home hit the ground running in July, while Apple’s HomeKit has also been available in Australia for months.

But in existing markets of the US and a smattering of other countries, Echo has a massive hold. Researcher Morning Consult notes globally more than 19 million units have been sold.

“The customer response to Alexa and Echo has been incredibly positive, and we’re excited to make them available for our Australian and New Zealand customers early next year,” Amazon Alexa’s vice president, Toni Reid, noted when announcing the Australian launch. 

Despite its late arrival, Echo is already in many Australian households who bought speakers from the US and worked around the fact the app wasn’t available locally.

Now that Echo’s officially here a whole range of new services and functionality are likely to open up.

The rising tide of the smart speaker

With Amazon Echo now available in Australia, the likelihood is smart speakers will find their way into more Australian homes, reflecting a global trend where adoption of smart home technology is on the rise.

In November, Juniper Research forecast smart speakers would be found in 55 percent of US households by 2022, as popularity of devices like the Echo, Home, and Apple HomeKit grows.

About Lera

Lera Smart Home Solutions is a leading installer of smart home technology in the greater Sydney region. Our team boasts over 20 years’ experience in IT networking, programming and the electrical industry.

We have sourced the most reliable and cost efficient solutions from around the world to provide the very best in smart home solutions, and work with our clients to understand their needs. You can learn more about transforming your house into a smart home here, or contact us directly for further advice.