Control Your Stuff with Alexa!

Control Your Stuff with Alexa!

Ok, so here we go again! As you know I love ‘home automation’ and since I’ve taken possession of a few Amazon Dot’s, I’ve been so impressed with how easy Alexa is to talk to that I have started to investigate what else she might be able to help me with.

So, the first thing I found she could do was use a ‘smart plug’ to enable her to be able to turn things on and off. In our bedroom we have a couple of bedside lights – and now we also have the HS100 from TP-Link; this little gadget plugs into any wall socket and allows you to plug anything in to it – once configured the smart plug can work with your mobile phone or tablet OR Alexa! Yes, you’re right, so now as I walk into the room I can demand “Alexa turn on the lights in the bedroom” and after a second or so I hear a reassuring response of “Ok” and then the lights turn on – magic!

You can fit these smart plugs to enable you to turn pretty much anything on or off and through the app you can even schedule activity (the modern equivalent of the old fashioned timers that we used to use (ineffectively probably) to fool burglers into thinking someone was home because the lights switched on and off at regular intervals. You don’t need an Amazon Dot in order to use them of course but its very satisfying to speak your commands and have them carried out – I must be a frustrated autocrat!

Excited by this new unexpected power I reserached what else I could control through Alexa and found the Logitect Harmony Hub. This is the latest itteration of those universal remote controls that we used to use to control both the TV and the DVD recorder, saving having to have two remote controls – back in the day. Well things have moved on quite significantly and the Harmony Hub is a little black, router looking, box that is packed with infra red emiters. Once you have configured it by telling it which remote control devices you have (TV, Satellite System, Air Conditioning, XBox etc), it will talk to them direct for you – either through the app on your phone / tablet or (more interestingly), though commands barked at Alex. So now in house of an evening you will hear commands like “Alexa turn the tv on” and “Alexa turn on BBC2” – all carried out automatically without lazy old me having to lift a finger!

I’m moving on over the coming months to see if there is any way to get Alexa to control Liesl my wife – I think that I may be heading into trouble with that particular project but we’ll see how it goes – watch this space – “Alexa ask Liesl to bring me more beer” – oh the power!

You can read more about these great gadgets at and