'Alexa, turn on kitchen lights': Setting up Cree bulbs with Amazon Echo and Wink hub
"Alexa, turn on the lights". This is a phrase echoed, apparently, by more people than I thought. Amazon's Echo is taking hold and seems especially popular with those interested in the home automation side of technology. Voice control can be both good and bad, though. It's great when it works, but embarrassing and frustrating when it doesn't.
Let's start with the bad, though really it's just the amusing. My Amazon Echo is in my living room, as is the TV. Words emitting from my surround sound system can sometimes have hilarious results -- music suddenly beginning to play, Alexa telling me she doesn't understand the question, and if an ad for Echo comes on then things go nuts.
With all of that said, the device is very good. It makes a great speaker -- it plays music while I work, it gives me sports and weather updates as well.
But one area Amazon really seems to want to move into is home automation -- the smart home, the Internet of Things, whatever you wish to call it. Companies are increasingly coming on board to work with Alexa and allow voice control of all sorts of products. All it takes is a hub and several are already operational with it.
A while back I wrote about setting up the Wink hub with Echo and then using it to control my living room lights which I outfitted with GE Link bulbs. Now I am once again using the Wink hub but this time to control Cree bulbs in my kitchen. The process is pretty much the same, but we'll walk through it once more, as both apps have updated since the last time, so a bit is different.
So here are the steps. It's fairly simple, but not necessarily intuitive.
1: Install the bulbs and connect hub.
2: Install the Wink app on your phone or tablet -- Android or iPhone (sorry Windows Phone)
3: Open the app and click menu at the top left.
4: You need to let the app discover and add the lights and also name them -- naming is important. The app will walk you through the steps. Be sure the lights are turned off when you start.
5: Create a group and add the lights to it, then give the group a name.
6: Test this by turning off one bulb at a time and also the entire group at once. Just tap each bulb and then switch to the group view and tap its name ("Kitchen" in this case).
7: Open the Alexa app on your device.
8: Click Menu > Settings > Connected Home.
9: Click "Discover new products". The app should find your bulbs in 15-20 seconds (the Wink app can take much longer).
10: Click "Create group", name it and check the boxes next to your bulbs then save it.
11: Now test Alexa -- "Alexa, turn on/off kitchen".
Things should be all up and running for you now. If you have a problem then verify the steps. At worst you can always call Wink or Amazon, both have excellent customer service.