Echo Dot and Smart Things integration help needed

Just got an echo dot as a birthday present.

Want to start adding plug in sockets and light bulbs to it but also want to prepare for the future.

What brands would you recommend ?

Haven’t got SmartThings yet but have been told as I expand it will help to have a hub

Will I also eventually need a bridge for the lights or will I need this from day 1 ?

Any advice welcomed as I don’t want to waste money going down the wrong road.

I would search for posts by @JDRoberts. He provides excellent information that will answer questions for you.

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Thanks for the shout, but a lot of my posts are extremely technical and would only be confusing to someone in this situation.

the following is a good “getting started with Echo” guide for the UK that is specific to home automation.

Beyond that…

BUDGET

Budget makes a big difference. Hue devices are great, and I highly recommend them (with their Bridge) if you can afford them. But if you can’t, the Ikea Tradfri line is an excellent low cost alternative, and will work either with its own hub or with the Hue bridge. So have a sense going in whether you want top of the line or basic functions at an economical price and let others know when you ask for advice.

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/cat/smart-lighting-36812/

https://www2.meethue.com/en-gb

Are you automating for fun or for practical reasons?

Be honest with yourself. Home automation is a great hobby, and enthusiasts stay up with the latest features, pour over “coming soon” announcements, and buy a new gadget before they’ve decided exactly What to do with it. :sunglasses:

problem-solvers have a specific problem they want to solve, like letting in the dogwalker, and suspect home automation would be the easiest way to do that.

See the following recent discussion.

Suggestions to make existing system more effective? (UK)

AS FOR HUBS…

Enthusiasts will tell you you should definitely get one. Problem-solvers will tell you they may be more trouble than they’re worth. :wink:

These days there’s a lot of stuff you can do without a hub, particularly with Echo, so it comes down to both budget and your interest in exploring the edges of new automation. But save that decision for a bit and first just explore what you can do with the echo as your base.

(If you happen to use Apple devices, you can also start with HomeKit, an excellent basic system built into iOS. These days many smart home devices work with both Echo and HomeKit.)

If you have the budget, I also personally recommend the Hue bridge for a phase one system, which works well with almost all of the other systems out there and gives you lots of possibilities. But that’s up to you.

(One last thought…if you are looking at thermostats, I personally prefer Ecobee to Nest. Nest tends to get all the publicity because it was first in the category and has a great marketing team, but ecobee actually works with more systems and has some very nice features.
JMO, of course.)

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@JDRoberts, don’t sell yourself short. Your response above is an example of the excellent information you provide.

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@JDRoberts. Doing it for fun at moment.

So using the hue bridge, can I control other brands or just hue products.

Thinking of starting out with say 6 plug adaptors and say 6 bulbs but want to make sure what I chose will stay relevant if I upgrade later on.

Probably start without a bridge or is that not possible as far as bulbs go ?

Basically devices which just use Wi-Fi will not need a hub, they will connect to your Wi-Fi network.

Devices which just use Bluetooth can connect to your phone and don’t need a hub.

Devices which use Zigbee (like most Hue and IKEA bulbs) or Z wave will need a hub or a bridge.

Hue does have a couple of models which use both zigbee and Bluetooth so you can start with just a bulb and connected to your phone for your first stage and then get a bridge later on. But you’ll just have a lot more features if you do get the bridge and the Hue bridge is a really easy setup with lots of nice features so most people go with that if you can afford it.

If you get an echo show second generation or an echo plus, those happen to have a zigbee hub built into them, so it is possible to use a Hue Bulb with just an echo show and not use the hue bridge. However, you are pretty limited in the in the features it has, basically on, off, and them, so again, most people go ahead and get the Hue Bridge. And the other echo devices, including the Echo Dot, do not have the built-in hub.

There are plug-in pocket sockets, battery operated wall switches and handheld remotes, and motion sensors which all work with the hue bridge as well. So you can do quite a few things just with that platform.

Some third-party devices will also work with the hue bridge. As I mentioned, the IKEA lightbulbs do. I don’t think the Ikea motion sensor does, though.

Do you have an iPhone or an android phone?

IPhone and iPad which I’m currently running Alexa app on for my rather lonely Echo Dot ! Lol

I’ve been looking at the Teckin plug adapters today but don’t know much about them.

So probably will go hue bridge eventually but maybe start without one ?

Would I also get Samsung SmartThings as well or am I heading for them all to conflict with each other ?

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I would like to just add that more often than not, you can get hue starter kits that have the bridge for cheaper than you can get the bulbs by themselves. Best Buy is a great place to look because their deals on Hue products are the reasons I’ve had several extra hue bridges laying around.

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OK, if you are already using iPhone and iPad, you might want to consider going with HomeKit. It’s an excellent system and you won’t have to buy another hub. There are many devices made nowadays that work with both HomeKit and Amazon echo, and I use those in my own home. I prefer the voice control from echo, but you can set up somewhat more complex rules in HomeKit and everything except voice control runs locally. :sunglasses:

As far as everything working together in the future, that brings us to the first rule of home automation: “the model number matters.” There are certainly some devices, such as the hue bridge, which can work with echo, HomeKit, and smartthings. But it just varies.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Devices_that_Work_with_HomeKit_and_SmartThings

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