A quarter of American homes already own Amazon’s Echo devices, making them a popular and valuable item in today’s smart home. For example, they may provide news updates, weather warnings, and even cooking suggestions through Alexa. Video calls may be made, and security cameras can be monitored using the Echo Show.
The ability of the Echo to act as a hub for other smart home devices was among the most appreciated aspects by many users. You can manage all of your smart home gadgets from one spot by connecting additional devices to the Echo. Wi-Fi has traditionally been used to link these gadgets, but this all began to alter a few years ago for the better…
A new wireless standard, Zigbee, has been made more compatible with Amazon’s newest Echo devices, such as with the Echo Show 10 with Echo Plus. It’s now simpler than ever to establish a smart home that is completely integrated.
Amazon Echos Including Zigbee Chips
The Zigbee chips in Amazon’s Echo devices are increasing in number. As Zigbee smart home hubs, they are being hailed as a game-changer in the area of intelligent home automation.
Amazon’s Alexa and Echo had previously required a Hub (like the Hue Bridge or the Samsung SmartThings Hub) to link Zigbee devices (like Philips Hue or Inner smart lights) to Amazon’s Alexa and Echo. This is no longer required, thanks to the new Zigbee hub feature.
Zigbee hubs are only available on the later 4th generation and full-size Echo Shows, though. Zigbee devices will still need a Hub or Gateway to connect to older Echo models. Then what is Zigbee? Just how does Echo’s use of it benefit the current smart-home owner?
- Meet Echo Dot - Our most compact smart speaker that fits perfectly into small spaces.
- Improved speaker quality - Better speaker quality than Echo Dot Gen 2 for richer and louder sound. Pair with a second Echo Dot for stereo sound.
- Voice control your music - Stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Sirius XM, and others.
- Ready to help - Ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices, and more.
- Voice control your smart home - Turn on lights, adjust thermostats, lock doors, and more with compatible connected devices. Create routines to start and end your day.
- Meet the Echo Dot - Our most popular smart speaker with Alexa. The sleek, compact design delivers crisp vocals and balanced bass for full sound.
- Voice control your entertainment - Stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, SiriusXM, and others. Play music, audiobooks, and podcasts throughout your home with multi-room music.
- Ready to help - Ask Alexa to tell a joke, play music, answer questions, play the news, check the weather, set alarms, and more.
- Control your smart home - Use your voice to turn on lights, adjust thermostats, and lock doors with compatible devices.
- Start Routines with your motion - Turn on compatible lights, play your Flash Briefing, or turn on the coffee maker when you walk into the room.
What Is Zigbee?
You may use Zigbee to establish a tiny, low-power network for your smart home gadgets to communicate with each other. In smart lights, Philips Hue, Yale smart locks, and other popular items can all interact via Zigbee.
The network management that Zigbee builds connects the various devices and allows them to interact with one another. A node is a device that connects to the network and serves as a point of entry. Signals are exchanged between these nodes and other devices by sending out a signal.
As a result, Zigbee mesh networks use a lot less power and are more stable than Wi-Fi networks, which need a lot of power to communicate. Unobstructed, the Zigbee signal may travel up to 300 feet. Although the most usual range in a contemporary home is between 50 and 100 feet, common domestic impediments like walls must be considered.
Because Zigbee networks don’t use the Wi-Fi signal, there’s more bandwidth available for devices that rely exclusively on Wi-Fi for their operation, making them more efficient. Because your router doesn’t understand Zigbee, a separate hub is needed to interpret and control Zigbee orders and your smart devices.
There has been an uptick in the population of smart home customers that utilize Zigbee and Amazon Echo devices, and many are looking for a means to link the two. The goal of connecting the two is to make their smart homes run more smoothly. Finally, Amazon listened to its customers and made it happen.
Which Echo Devices Contain Zigbee Support?
The ability to operate as a Zigbee hub without needing a hub is a relatively new feature for Echo devices; hence the 4th generation Amazon (but not the Echo Dot) is the first major Echo device to offer this compatibility.
There are several Zigbee-enabled Echo devices, including the 3rd Generation Echo Plus, the Echo Show 10, the filled-to-the-brim 4th millennium Echo devices (except the Echo Dot 4th gen), and the 2nd Generation Echo Plus.
Support for Zigbee is built into all Ecommerce Devices that also function as Zigbee hubs. the current version of Zigbee – Zigbee 3.0. This is a bit of a game-changer for a variety of reasons.
The Benefits of Echo Supporting Zigbee
One of the initial advantages of Echo’s Zigbee compatibility is that it’s inexpensive.
If you don’t have a Zigbee hub and don’t want to buy one, Alexa’s ability to control your lights through your Echo may help you save the additional expense. For a Hue Bridge, they save roughly $50 since they don’t need to borrow some money or a Starter Kit to utilize their Philips Hue lights:
A $100 save may be had by purchasing the Samsung SmartThings Hub. Another advantage is that it’s easy to use.
Until recently, Zigbee and Wi-Fi haven’t been able to communicate without the need for a bridge. The convenience of operating Zigbee devices from a single place without the need for a bridge is advantageous. It simplifies smart home operations by making voice-activated commands easy to use.
There are six smartphone applications to choose from if you have Zigbee devices from five brands and an Echo (such as the Hue app, an Inner app, the Alexa app, etc.). The Alexa app is all you need to control all of your Zigbee devices from your Echo. There’s a lot more control now.
Users don’t have to deal with connecting additional devices, which saves time and money. To make things as easy as possible, the connected home is designed to be automated. This is now simpler than ever, thanks to the implementation of the Zigbee gateway into Echo devices.
Limitations of Amazon Echo’s Zigbee Support
Even though Zigbee’s support of the Echo is tremendously useful, there are some limits.
Consider Philips Hue, for example, a smart lighting solution for the house. Many options are available to you until setting the ambiance and purpose of the illumination in your house with Hue. These include Lab formulae for additional effects, home/away control, and more. To use any of these features, you must have the Hue Bridge and the Hue app installed on your phone or tablet.
While the Echo has a lot of features, not all of them are immediately accessible to you. For example, if you wish to utilize a Hue Lab recipe, you’ll need the Hue app to personalize it. There are only a limited number of before-light colors and scenarios that the Echo may use.
With regards to which Hue accessories are compatible with Echo devices, there is a considerable dispute. While the Hue Dimmer Switch does, other Chromaticity attachments (such as the smart plug) do not, therefore Alexa-Zigbee compatibility for the whole Hue ecosystem is not available.
You should acquire the Hue Bridge if you want to control all parts of your lighting to do it more quickly.
Whenever it comes to gadgets with simpler functions, these limits aren’t as obvious. A good example of this is Yale’s smart locks. Locking and unlocking are the primary functionalities of smart locks. Alexa’s scheduler makes it simple to keep track of which of your devices are running at any given time.
For the ease of someone being able to automate your house with Alexa and Echo completely, these constraints may be worth it.
Conclusion: The Future of Zigbee and the Echo
Enhanced Zigbee compatibility for the Echo has placed Amazon in the race with those other intelligent home hubs that use Zigbee. Because of this, they have a significant advantage over their competitors. It is, however, necessary to maintain this advantage by using greater operability between both the Amazon and Zigbee devices.
Since Amazon has taken the bold step of including a Zigbee hub in their Echo devices, Zigbee support will probably continue to grow in the future.
When utilizing Alexa and the Echo, several features, such as lighting themes, are restricted. When it comes to Zigbee support, Amazon has listened to its customers and delivered. When it comes to future Echo generations or even a software update for their current Echo devices, it’s a safe bet that further expanded support will be demanded.
This, of course, is contingent on the cooperation of the Zigbee device makers (i.e., Philips, Inner. Yale, etc.). Some may embrace interoperability possibilities, while others may hold back to dissuade users from abandoning their applications.
-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.
Last update on 2023-01-12