It's been a busy week for Alexa news, and next up is a new feature that should help you keep tabs on your smart home's energy consumption.
Called the Alexa Energy Dashboard, the new feature landed for Alexa users in the US this week and tracks the energy usage of a wide range of smart home devices connected to your Wi-Fi network and Alexa system.
- How to enable Alexa 'automated hunches' smart home control system
- How to get started with your new Amazon Echo: A complete guide to what Alexa can do
- Which smart speaker and smart display is right for you? 18 top options for 2021
Although far from universal for now, the Energy Dashboard works with a range of smart lights, thermostats and smart plugs – the latter being the most helpful, as that enables Alexa to monitor the energy usage of anything attached to the plug.
This could include your television, or in these cold winter months an electric heater, for example. In the summer you could use the feature to keep track of how much energy your desk fan or office air conditioning unit is consuming.
The Alexa Energy Dashboard also ties in with the equally new automated hunches feature, where Alexa controls smart home devices for you based on your usage habits. With the two systems working together, Alexa can switch off smart lights when you go to bed at night, helping to lower your energy bill.
Amazon says: "If Alexa has a hunch that you forgot to turn off a light and no one is home or everyone went to bed, Alexa can automatically turn it off for you."
The new energy dashboard lives inside the Alexa smart home app for iOS and Android, where it is accessible via a new button on the Devices page. The dashboard shows the consumption of all compatible devices in kilowatt hours (kWh), laid out in a graph to show your daily usage across each week. You can also look at the consumption of specific device types, like your smart lighting or just your smart plugs (and thus everything connected to them).
The dashboard also suggests Alexa routines that can be configured to help lower your energy usage, such as turning your lights off after a certain time at night. That way, if you forget to switch a light off when you go to bed, Alexa will do it for you.
Devices compatible with Alexa Energy Dashboard
Compatible devices include smart lights by Philips Hue, Lifx, Sengled, Kasa, Wyze and Sylvania. Also compatible are smart plugs by Kasa, Sengled, Amazon, TanTan and Gosund, plus smart thermostats by Honeywell, Emerson, water heaters by Aquanta, and televisions by Hisense.
Amazon's own fourth-generation Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers work with the energy dashboard too, along with the third-generation Echo Show 10. We expect to see many more devices added to this list over the coming months, helping turn the Alexa Energy Dashboard into a more useful way of tracking the power consumption of your entire home.
For a full list of compatible devices, head to this page of Amazon's website.
All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen, 2020 release) | Smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal
How to Add Devices to MyGear in The GearBrain www.youtube.com