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Ecobee debuts smart light switch with Alexa built-in

Ecobee debuts smart light switch with Alexa built-in
After introducing an Alexa-built-in thermostat, Ecobee has launched its second gadget powered by Alexa – a smart light switch called Switch+.

Having a speaker and microphones built right into the switch, users can give various Alexa commands to Switch+ like they talk to Echo speakers. The smart switch also will glow blue when Alexa is listening and it can respond like Echo speakers.

The Switch+ also supports Echo Spatial Perception (ESP), allowing users to have multiple Alexa-powered devices at home. When a user speaks, only the closest Alexa device will response, instead of getting all the devices triggered.

Like many third-party Alexa-enabled gadgets, Switch+ doesn’t support Alexa calls or messaging.

According to a review from media outlet CNET, Switch+ speaker quality is similar to that of the Echo Dot. In other words, Switch+ probably isn’t suited for playing music given its small volume, but it can handle voice commands well.

As a smart light switch, the biggest advantage of Switch+ is that it can sync with Ecobee thermostats via built-in a temperature sensor. The switch will tell the thermostat what the current temperature is in the house and show it on the thermostat. Users can then have a better idea about the environment and make adjustments accordingly. However, this feature won’t be available until a firmware update scheduled for this summer.

Other features of Switch+ has an integrated nightlight, which will automatically turn off after 15 minutes of inactivity. It can also detect sunset and sunrise while it is used for outdoor lighting. There is also ambient light detection when the room is dark.

To install the device, homeowners will first shut the power off, remove existing switch, and then install the Ecobee switch using neutral wires. Then users need to open the Ecobee app to finish pairing with the home network and Alexa account.

While the Switch+ has native Alexa built-in, it also supports other smart home platforms such as Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT.

Ecobee’s Switch+ costs US$99 and will start shipping on March 26.

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