The internet of things is coming to your home soon – with the relaunch of new technology from Amazon.
Amazon Echo is a control centre for the home that links the web, entertainment and other smart devices, such as light switches, thermostats.
The device is about the same size as a tablet and has a voice-control function in the home much like Apple’s Siri.
Users can sit in a room or walk about the house controlling smart devices with voice commands and search the web for information and either display the data on a screen or read back the results.
Amazon Echo takes Bluetooth and wi-fi to new levels by acting as a command hub for any smart device linked to the system.
Voice command and control
According to Amazon, Echo will play streaming music from Prime Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, TuneIn and iHeartRadio, iTunes and Spotify.
With whipersynch, the Amazon service, the system will even read back audio books available on Amazon Kindle.
Companies such as Samsung SmartThings, Philips Hue, Insteon, Wink and WeMo are developing products to use with Echo.
Unfortunately, Amazon Echo is only available now in the USA, through 3,000 outlets demonstrating the hub’s capabilities.
Priced at $180, the device is aimed as a seasonal gift for technology geeks.
Amazon has a YouTube video showing off the device’s capabilities in the home:
Technology joins up the dots
According to the UK Amazon site, Echo is not compatible for use with any web or streaming services outside the US.
Echo was first launched in the States last year, but the new version reflects a major upgrade in performance and usability.
Many technology companies are looking at internet of things devices which work on similar lines to Amazon Echo.
Some technology experts expect billions of devices to be attached to command hubs in cars, homes and businesses by the end of 2016 as communications standards unify.
The key to moving the internet of things forward is smart sensors linked to a controller by Bluetooth or wi-fi. A controller like Amazon Echo can carry out a set of bespoke orders held in the memory when the sensor sends detects specific data, such as turning up the heating when the temperature drops in a room.