The Week in Smart Home: Alexa Announcements hit third-party devices

A comprehensive roundup of the week's biggest smart home stories

Alexa Announcements hit third-party devices

The big news this week was that of a shiny new Alexa device - the Echo Show 5; a smaller, 5.5-inch version of the popular screened smarty speaker.

Talking of small screens - the Lenovo Smart Clock, which was first unveiled back at CES 2019 in January, will go on sale in the US, Canada and UK next week, too.

Changing lanes and iRobot introduced a new robot vacuum to its lineup - the iRobot Roomba s9+, its most powerful and geometrically-sensible robot vac yet.

Those were the big headlines, read on for our round-up of all the other smart home stories you may have missed over the past seven days.

Alexa Announcements now work with any Alexa-enabled device

Alexa Announcements, a feature that lets you broadcast messages to your Echo speakers in your house, has been opened up to include third-party Alexa devices.

"Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is making Announcements available for certified Alexa built-in products," explained Ford Davidson on the Alexa Blog. "This allows customers to announce on their device from the kitchen that 'dinner is ready,' or that 'it’s time to wake up,' or from their Fire TV Cube that 'the movie is starting'."

You can also use the Alexa app when you are away from home to make an Announcement. Check out our guide on using Alexa Drop In, Announcements and Calling.

The Week in Smart Home: Alexa Announcements hit third-party devices and more

Wyze Cam feeds hit Google screens

Wyze, makers of ridiculously cheap smart security cameras, is adding official support for Google Assistant after a beta trial. Not only will you able to control your Wyze cameras using GA on smart speakers, you'll also be able to access a live(ish) feed on devices with displays as well.

You simply need to ask your digital assistant of choice to "show [camera name]" and you'll see a live feed on a compatible device, such as a Nest Hub or a Chromecast.

It only works with the Wyze Cam v2 and the Wyze Cam Pan, for now.

The Week in Smart Home: Alexa Announcements hit third-party devices and more

Zigbee wants to make the smart home simpler

The Zigbee Alliance wants to make smart home products easier and has signalled its intent with the All Hubs Initiative, which the likes of Amazon, Comcast, Kwikset, Schneider Electric, Somfy and many others are all on board with. The big objective is better interoperability between devices.

"Consumers and businesses want connected devices that offer value and convenience, work great, and work together seamlessly," said Chris DeCenzo, chair of the All Hubs Initiative workgroup, board director of the Zigbee Alliance, and principal engineer at Amazon. "Through the All Hubs Initiative, leading IoT companies in the Zigbee Alliance are working together to define interoperability standards to help device makers innovate and expand selection while continuing to deliver consistent, reliable experiences for customers."

You can read all about it here.

The Week in Smart Home: Alexa Announcements hit third-party devices and more

Smart home deal of the week

Amazon announced an update to its Fire TV Cube this week, adding hands-free communication support for its Alexa voice assistant. To celebrate, the retail giant discounted the Fire TV Cube by $40.


This week's best deals

Echo Show + Dot + Hue - Save $64.93
Echo Show + Dot + Hue - Save $64.93
Amazon
$229.99
Wemo Mini Smart Plug - Save $16.38
Wemo Mini Smart Plug - Save $16.38
Amazon
$18.61
eufy Lumo Smart Bulb 2.0 - Save $4
eufy Lumo Smart Bulb 2.0 - Save $4
Amazon
$11.99
Philips Hue White Starter Kit - Save $10
Philips Hue White Starter Kit - Save $10
Amazon
$59.99

TAGGED   smart home

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