Smart home products are becoming more common in a household. Ecobee acknowledges that need with its smart Switch+ powered by Amazon's Alexa digital personal assistant.
The product was unveiled during the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. It is meant to replace regular manual light switches with a voice-controlled model that can interact with devices connected to the switch. The company plans to sell the Switch+ for $99, which is supposedly an attractive price point to innovate the household. Preorders are now available with an estimated availability on March 26.
Familiarity With Alexa
The voice-controlled light switch is not the first product from the company to feature Amazon's voice assistant. The manufacturer already paired the technology with its premium thermostat. The former is marketed to consumers as a cost-effective product intended to take advantage of their home's wireless connectivity and convert regular fixtures into smart-enabled devices.
Sources point out that it can pretty much do what Alexa is capable of albeit without calls, messages, and other select apps. Moreover, it can be remote-controlled via the companion app available on compatible smartphones. For versatility, the device can be wirelessly controlled by Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri via HomeKit support. Lastly, it comes with a manual switch for an added interaction option.
Smart Switch+ Key Features
Based on Ecobee's claims, the Switch+ can be fitted easily as long as the preinstalled wiring is compatible. For added convenience, it can be controlled through voice, touch, and its companion app on mobile devices. It is apparently marketed to replace the need for a smart speaker in certain rooms within the household.
As its name suggests, its primary function is to control the lighting fixtures in a room. However, it seems to be equipped to handle more than just that. With Alexa onboard, users can ask for the weather, traffic conditions, and pretty much everything else that the smart assistant can do (except the above-mentioned limitations).
With an array of special sensors, the smart device can detect motion and ambient brightness to automatically activate or disable the lights. A built-in vacation mode function automatically uses a random pattern to make it seem like the house is occupied. Unfortunately, it does not come with a dimming option as of now.
Future Upgrades Planned
Sources confirmed that the vacation mode function, as well as temperature-detection support, will be added later on. There is a likelihood that the Ecobee Switch+ could receive more added features through future software updates, which the company did for its Ecobee4 smart thermostat.