On our most recent IoT Podcast episode, James called in with two related questions. He’s looking to equip his in-laws’ multi-level house with smart home and security gear and is wondering what products we would recommend to limit requests for his IT support. He’s also wondering if they need a router upgrade. Additionally, James wants to know if digital assistants can speak or display Spanish, as that’s the primary language spoken in the house.
Both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can communicate in Spanish, so those are two platform candidates to consider. Amazon Echo products also support multilingual mode for communicating in both English and Spanish.
From a support standpoint, Amazon this week announced its Alexa Together service at $19.99 a month. This service allows Amazon Echo use and support to be spread out to multiple family members, even if some or all of them are remote. For now, only certain Echo settings can be remotely modified, but it’s worth keeping an eye on Alexa Together for additional support features. Amazon said it will be adding new features in the coming months.
A related option that won’t cost anything would be for James to create a new email address and have his inlaws add that user account to their Echo app. Again, there would be limitations on what could be done remotely for support, but it might work.
And since we’re on an Amazon kick, we think that Amazon’s smart home products are the way to go here. Amazon Echo products support Alexa Guard for some basic home security, for example, while there are also a number of supported sensors and Ring camera products that work with Alexa too. Building out a smart home using Amazon’s ecosystem is a safe and easy way to go here.
A less expensive option might be to order a Wyze Home Monitoring security package. The monthly service is only $4.99 a month on an annual basis and subscribers get a sizable discount on the connected hardware. Additionally, Wyze includes a CamPlus subscription for advanced features and cloud storage of video footage.
For $40, Wyze will start you with a Sense Hub, keypad, a pair of entry sensors, and a motion sensor. You can add as many cameras or other compatible connected products to the bundle as well.
In terms of lighting, Stacey still swears by Lutron Caseta switches for their stability. They’re also compatible with Amazon Alexa. Just keep in mind that you need a Lutron bridge for these switches and they’re more expensive than competing products.
We don’t know what kind of router is currently in the home, but we do know that Amazon just integrated an Eero 6 router into its Ring Alarm Pro system. So if that integration sounds appealing, we’d go with the Ring security product instead of other options. That will get you home security and one mesh router; additional mesh access points could then be added for coverage.
To hear James’ question in full, as well as our full discussion on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: