Ecobee, the makers of the popular family of smart thermostats, have released an updated version of their Amazon Alexa skill called ecobee plus; promising greater control and commands when using Amazon’s voice assistant.
The skill is intended to be a companion skill used in conjunction with the original Alexa skill (simply called ecobee), but looks to add additional features that were previously not able to be done through the original skill. So for example, you can now say “ask ecobee how cold the living room is” or say that you’re too cold by saying “tell ecobee that I’m too cold” (which will turn up the heat).
Some of the nicest options are things that were settings that were sorely missing from the previous skill: changing modes and setting vacations. The ecobee plus skill now allows you to tell alexa “tell ecobee to turn on cool mode”, “tell ecobee to turn off auto mode”, etc. And to set vacations – the setting that will override your current schedule – you can say “tell ecobee to set a vacation from tomorrow until next Thursday“. It’s worth pointing out that these commands all require you to ask Alexa to “tell ecobee” which can be sort of confusing for owners of the ecobee 4, which is ecobee’s flagship product released a few months ago that comes with Amazon’s Alexa built right in (we also rated it as the top smart thermostat of 2017 so far). However this skill is compatible with ecobee’s other Thermostats too: the ecobee lite and the ecobee 3.
The new skill may also be a sign that ecobee’s “whole home voice” initiative is coming soon. When the company announced the ecobee 4, they also detailed the concept and teased their new product – a smart, temperature sensor/lightswitch – that would come with Alexa built in and provide light control while also telling ecobee the temperature of the room it was installed in. The company did not give a release date (only saying it could be expected by the end of the year), but this skill could be an integral piece of the initiative that needed to be ready. Regardless, both ecobee skill’s give Amazon’s voice Assistant a ton of control over the entire line of ecobee thermostats, something that Google and Nest currently lack – although with the rumored low-cost version of the Nest on the horizon, it’s possible that we will see many other voice controlled smart thermostats in the near future.
If you have a compatible ecobee thermostat, you can head over to your Amazon Alexa app to enable the skill (because ecobee account linking is required) and try it out yourself.
Do you have an ecobee thermostat? Do you use Alexa to control it? Let us know in the comments below!