Amazon rolls out smart-home 'routines' for Alexa

Peter Newman for Business Insider:  Amazon added a new feature to its Alexa voice assistant that will let consumers use Echo smart speakers or other Alexa devices to control multiple smart home devices at once in what it calls “routines.”

Echo owners will be to create their own routines, which are triggered by a user-defined phrase or at a preset time, to have Alexa start reading out weather, traffic, or news, as well as to change the settings for multiple smart home devices simultaneously.

This new feature will start to fill in one of the gaps in Alexa’s smart home capabilities.Previously, Alexa could only control one smart home device with each voice command from a user. There were some workarounds, with companies like Philips and TP-Link implementing their own “scene” settings in their individual device-control apps, which could group devices together under a single joint name that a user could trigger together. Where Amazon’s solution is different, though, is that it will allow users to combine controlling smart home devices with other Alexa capabilities like reading out news and weather, key features that are among the most commonly used smart speaker features.  Full Article:

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