I am thinking of getting my first Amazon Echo. The new models include a hub built-in. So my question is, would there be any benefit of getting a Samsung SmartThings in addition to the Amazon Echo?
SmartThings allows you to control ZWave devices in addition to ZigBee…Echo does not support that…if you have NO ZWave devices you could probably get away with just dedicating your home to ZigBee…but there are some cool Zwave devices.
Hope that helps…do your homework and have a plan for WHAT you want to do, then see if ZigBee will support all of that.
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you want/need the flexibiliy of being able to use either Z-Wave or Zigbee devices rather than being limited to just the latter, as well as the wealth of additional automation functionality and community support you get with ST. If the answer to that is “yes” then the question becomes, what is the point of getting an Echo Plus rather than a regular Echo and a ST Hub?
Two big differences.
One) At the present time echo plus supports a much smaller set of devices, Basically just dimmable white zigbee bulbs, zigbee locks, zigbee light switches, and zigbee outlets. You can’t control the colors on a Hue bulb with just echo plus. And there are no sensors that will work with it right now, not open/close sensors, not motion sensors, not leak detectors, etc.
Two) The automatic rules you can set up if all you have is echo plus are really really simple, Basically just time of day. If it is 7 PM, turn on the porch light.
If you get SmartThings or another home automation System that works with echo you will get a much bigger choice of devices and typically the ability to set up more complex rules. So instead of just “if it is 7 PM, turn on the porch light” you might have a rule that says “when Michael gets home, turn on the porch light.” Or “if the front door is opened Between sunset and sunrise, turn on the porch light.” Or “if motion is detected near the front door between sunset and sunrise, turn on the porch light and send a notification to my phone” or all kinds of other things.
There are many different Home automation systems out there right now of varying complexity, And these days many of them will work with regular echo for voice control. So you have a lot of choices depending on your exact needs and preferences.
The echo plus seems to be OK if all you want is dimmable white lights that will work either on a timer or by voice control. And I would expect that if it’s a success they will add more features to it in the future. But for right now, if you want anything more than that, you should look at another system and just get the regular echo.
I have both and I’m starting to like Amazon better… faster response… easy set up and iftt helps alot
I would not want the combination of the Echo and the hub. I want them separate, so I can upgrade either over time separately.
Can you use the echo plus – controlled devices in an IFTTT applet?
I really like echo and I’ve had it for a long time and use it every day. It’s an essential part of my home automation system. But I had the echo plus on order and then canceled it once I found out it couldn’t control the colored hue bulbs and didn’t have any sensors. As a hub, it just doesn’t seem to match up to the other available options.
Horses for courses
No clue what a setting is, just want it to freakin work, can you wave the activation fee ( small pun my bad )
get an Echo plus and cheap wifi plug/s
No such thing
Can use a Pc, just want it to freakin work, has an up to date phone, has an interest in technology and the ability and time to resolve issues should they occur
Get an Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo, etc + Smartthings hub + Smart add on items
It all depends on your needs, depth of pocket and ability, tbh there is nothing wrong with any of the above
What would be the point of getting an Echo with a built-in Zigbee hub and then using WiFi devices with it?
One of the reasons why I was an early Apple user was the ease of use. The device selection was limited but was guaranteed to work (most of the time). Unlike PC, there were soooooo many devices to pick from that you never knew why or how your system was not performing as it should have been.
However, Apple products and works with Apple 3rd Party devices seemed to be more expensive than PC. I started building my own PCs and found out my PCs were just as good, if not better than, the Macs I’ve had in the past…Took alot of tinkering and research but I was no longer a slave to Apple.
All in all, I can see how the all in one solution like Alexa, with builtin hub, coupled with some zigbee devices would be enough for MANY users and should be a well placed product.
Advanced users would and should separate the two.
Thanks everyone for their feedback. I think it boils down for what MichaelS said. The fact that the new Amazon Echo comes with the built-in hub is nice, but I really want total control with more than one protocol.
I can answer this.
While we ST folks like automations and whatnot, there are millions who really don’t need this level of complexity - folks who don’t give a wink whether a device is zigbee or zwave or Ethernet. All they care about is that it works.
Sooo… given the advent of Routines in Alexa, it is inevitable that an Alexa Scheduler (and perhaps eventually a rules engine?) will soon be with us. And if they cover Zigbee and ethernet, which they do, they will cover most of what most people wish. In fact, the market weight of that likely will drive certain devices currently available only in Z-wave to be implemented in one or the other of those protocols.
So today we have thermostats with Alexa and remote controls with Alexa and cameras with Alexa etc…
The Echo Plus, viewed another way, is a smart hub with Alexa. Makes a ton of sense.
No, you really can’t.
That’s true, which is why I suggested that the OP ask himself what levels of functionality he wants/needs. Neither you nor I know what he’s really interested in achieving in the long run. In fact the post he made 2.5 hours before yours…
…would seem to suggest that he wants more flexibility and functionality than you’re assuming.
As @DParker said, you don’t need a “echo plus” just to run cheap Wi-Fi plugs.
You may not be aware that the “Echo plus” is a brand new echo model that has all of The features of a standard “echo” and also includes one additional home automation feature: a zigbee coordinator. That would allow you to use zigbee switches, dimmable lightbulbs, or locks with your Alexa account without needing to have an additional hub. But that’s it. It doesn’t add any additional features as far as Wi-Fi plugs or the other home automation devices that have native integration with the standard echo.
There are many people who are getting good basic home automation with just a standard echo, Lutron Caseta light switches with their SmartBridge, the Philips Hue bridge, and some of those cheap Wi-Fi plugs that you mentioned. You can get scheduling and even Geofencing with this, although it does require using multiple apps. You get excellent light switches with the Caseta line and the ability to use color changing lightbulbs with the Phillips. You can also add a Logitech Harmony home hub for AV control.
And as of about a month ago, you could even get a doorlock with the August pro, although again you’re using a different app for it.
At this point, it’s hard to see any justification for the “echo plus” model, which is why I canceled my order for it. In the future, maybe, once they add support for zigbee sensors.
But for now, the standard echo should meet the simplest home automation use case just as well.
Again, though, I expect that in the future Amazon may add more features to the " Echo plus" model which could change the equation.
The question I was answering was your final sentence in that post:
“what is the point of getting an Echo Plus rather than a regular echo and a ST hub?”
I was not presuming to speak for the OP or anyone else; I was merely providing the valid rationale for why someone might opt to get an Echo Plus instead of the ST hub and regular Echo. The context of what I said should have been totally indicative of that. I spoke in generalities, not in “he wants this” terms.
Good point about getting the non-plus 2nd Gen Amazon Echo if getting a ST Hub.
I was under the impression that the speaker for the plus version was better than the non-plus one, but after looking at the Amazon product comparison, that does not seem to be the case.
@DParker, just to clarify. Say I want to ST hub and use the Amazon Echo Plus instead. If I want to get like 3 Amazon Echos, I would only need one of them to be a Plus model, right?
Thanks @JDRoberts. I think it is clear to me now that I want a ST hub. The next question was is if there would be ANY benefit in having at least one Amazon Echo hub (I plan to get 3 Echos). If I understood you and @DParker correctly, there is no benefit in having an Echo Plus if you have a ST hub.
I love the echoes. We now have seven of them at our house, two of the original standard echoes, two of the echo shows (that have a screen), and three dots. We use them primarily for voice control of lights and of the home theater: equipment. “Alexa, turn on Netflix.” I also make all my phone calls by Echo now, but I’m quadriparetic, so totally hands-free features are of particular use to me.
So I highly recommend at least trying one for anyone who has any home automation equipment that is compatible.
As for your second question, that is correct, if you have a SmartThings hub you already have a zigbee coordinator, so the echo plus won’t give you anything more than that.
“Oy” back at ya’. What you quote above was not the question, nor was it even the sentence. It was a fragment of the sentence, and quoting just that fragment completely changes the meaning of what I said. I didn’t pose anything in such an unqualified manner. Here’s what I actually said:
“If the answer to that is “yes” then the question becomes, what is the point of getting an Echo Plus rather than a regular Echo and a ST Hub?”
So the question was predicated on him answering “yes” to the following:
“The first question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you want/need the flexibiliy of being able to use either Z-Wave or Zigbee devices rather than being limited to just the latter, as well as the wealth of additional automation functionality and community support you get with ST.”
So, no…you were not answering the question you partially quoted. You were answering a paraphrased version of it that was completely different from what I actually posed.
Based on your follow-up response to @JDRoberts I presume this is no longer a meaningful question. But in case it is, yes…you’d only need one Echo Plus, just like you’d only need one ST hub if you went that route instead.