Amazon is constantly finding new ways to integrate their smart assistant into your homes. What started as putting Alexa into a small speaker has blossomed into integration into thermostats, televisions, and even your car. Amazon wants Alexa to be within earshot no matter where you are in your home. And thanks to Ecobee, you can now access her from a light switch.
The Ecobee Switch+ was announced at the SXSW Conference earlier today. While the smart switch is a new market for the company that is known for their thermostats, Alexa integration is not. The ecobee4 was the first thermostat to hit the market with Alexa built inside.
It appears the Ecobee Switch+ will expand on features available from current smart switch makers like WeMo and TP-Link. Besides the ability to turn on and off lights from your app, there will be a built-in temperature sensor. This, along with motion sensors should integrate well with existing Ecobee smart thermostat. Ecobee has stated this option won’t be available till Summer.
But the most intriguing feature is the Alexa integration. The built-in microphone will utilize Echo Spatial Perception so the closest Alexa device will respond. And the speaker not only promises to provide basic Alexa functionality, but to play music through services like Pandora and Amazon Music. Unfortunately, you will not be able to place Alexa calls or messages.
The compatibility doesn’t just stop with Amazon. Ecobee promises the Switch+ will work with Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT. That should make it one of the most connected smart lights switches on the market.
Glancing through the specs, the Ecobee Switch+ fits into standard light switch boxes and works with single, double, and multi-switch rocker style plates. It requires a neutral wire and is not compatible with 3-way switches. It also can’t be used by itself as a dimmer switch.
The product announcement comes on the heels of Amazon investing in Ecobee with their Amazon Alexa Fund. With the recent purchase of Ring, you have to wonder if Amazon has their sites on Ecobee. Adding thermostats and light switches to their already growing arsenal of smart home products seems in line with their vision.
The Switch+ will be released on March 26 and priced at $99. On the surface that’s pricey for a light switch. But if you planned to put a $50 Echo Dot in the room anyway, it makes more economic sense. We hope to have a review in the coming weeks.