AmazonEcho5Here at the Four Hour Smart Home our goal is to deliver you the best information on home automation and the internet of things. Today we are going to teach you How To Automate Your Home With Your VoiceWith the release of Amazon Echo and Smarttthings you can now Automate your home with voice activation to control your lights, music and various home automation features. The potential for what you can now do with voice activation with the Amazon Echo is huge. Were going to walk you through the materials you need to set up a voice activated home and show you just how simple it can be.

Equipment to Purchase:

  • Amazon Echo $179
  • Smartthings
  • GE Z-Wave Plug

Total Equipment Cost: $314

Total Time Required: 1 Hour

Amazon Echo

Will start with the amazon echo. It is basically a connected speaker that can stream music from Amazon or other connected services such as Spotify and works very similar to a Sono’s speaker which we also love. But what makes the amazon echo different from the Sono’s speaker is that it actually has a microphone within it allowing 2 way communication between you and the amazon echo cloud. There are tons of neat things that you can do with the echo and if you want more resources you can take a look here at Amazon for the full list. We won’t go into the details but basically what is means is that you can tell your echo to do something and if you have other devices that connect or integrate to the Amazon cloud it will allow you to control those devices via the amazon echo. When you get your lights connected to the echo it really is a pretty futuristic feeling and you will find your self shouting out all kinds of commands in your life that you wish could be automated such as Amazon Echo clean the dishes, Amazon Echo Take out the Trash and Amazon Echo change the baby’s diaper. For now those are only dreams but hey, maybe by 2025 we will have all of that, who knows. You get the echo, plug it in follow the directions to connect it to WiFi and then ask it to play some music, that way you have some tunes while you connect the rest of your system.


The Smartthings hub is the brains of the system that converts computer codes and commands from across the internet into wireless protocols that majority of home automation systems work on (Z-Wave & ZiggBee). These two protocols operate very similar to WiFi like you have for your home network but the difference is they use much less energy so that battery powered home automation devices like motion sensors can work a long time without changing batteries. These protocols also allow each device to be part of a mesh network so each device can talk to the hub and every other device in the network so that you get strong reliable signals throughout your home. Like we said before Smartthings is the hub that coverts commands from the internet into wireless protocol signals to your devices, but it also connects to a smartthings cloud that allows you to connect other standard wifi devices such as WeMo or connect your smartthings hub to other internet services such as IFTTT, ScoutAlarm or the Amazon Cloud. There are a lot of home automation hub choices out there but we have found smartthings to be the most reliable and easiest to connect with the least amount of struggle or time investment. Plug in the Smartthings hub to power, connect it to your router, follow the instructions on the app and you are ready to go.

Z-Wave Light Switch or Outlet

For the ease of time and simplicity we recommend that you use a Z-Wave outlet for you first device you connect to smartthings. It will allow you to control any standard wall outlet and anything that you plug into that outlet. You don’t need an electrician or anyone else. As long as you can open up plastic packaging and plug something into the wall you are good to go. It really does not get more simple than this. Plug in the outlet, and then open the smart things app. Click the add a device tab, then press the small “include” button typically located on the front of the device. Within 30-60 seconds the device should connect to the smartthings hub. Congratulations you have you just connected your first smart home device. From your phone you should be able to turn on and off the outlet switch. The app will ask you to name the light so give it a simple name such as living room light or the name of whatever room you placed the light in. The name will be important later so pick something easy to remember. The first time you do this resist the temptation to spend 30 minutes mesmerized that you can turn on and off your lights from your phone. It’s amazing but what we are going to do next is going to blow your mind when we connect everything together.

All you do now is go into the amazon echo app. click the connect smartthings, enter your password and your light will be connected to the amazon echo speaker. Now say “Alexa Turn on living room light” and watch the magic happen. It is truly amazing. From here you can add hundreds of lights if you wish or group the lights such as downstairs and upstairs to make it easier to remember and control your lights. Now spread the good word and let your friends know that you learned to how to automate your home with your voice.

By Techwacky

Editor-in-Chef of