How to Use Alexa Skills with ecobee Thermostats

Introduction

In This Guide
You'll Learn:
  • What Alexa Skills are.
  • How to use Alexa Skills.
Before We Begin:
  • Your ecobee Smart Thermostat to be already installed on your wall and set up within the ecobee app.
  • Have the Amazon Alexa app installed on your smartphone or tablet.
Ecobee and Amazon Alexa

1 What are Alexa Skills?

Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa is a "platform". In other words, it's not just a voice recognition system; that's just how you use it. Alexa can be taught how to perform new tasks, by anyone willing to learn how. Many companies will write Alexa Skills to connect it to their home automation platforms, connect to their information and news websites, even make small games, such as trivia and guessing games.

Examples

  • Many news and weather services have an Alexa skill. By adding one, you can ask Alexa for a news or weather briefing, and receive custom reports.
  • Many local informational services offer an Alexa skill. You can get local restaurant recommendations, or even have food delivered directly by speaking to Alexa.
  • Lots of community-created, as well as producer-created games exist. Everything from trivia about your favorite movies to simulations of your favorite game shows.
  • Most home automation devices have an Alexa Skill available. These allow you to control your lights, monitor your home security system, even adjust the temperature of your home, all with simple voice commands.

2 Using Skills

Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa is accessed using voice commands. You speak, in natural language, to your Alexa-enabled device, and it will respond.

Each skill you add provides a series of suggestions related specifically to that skill, but in most cases, the specific phrasing is exceptionally forgiving. Simply say "Alexa," to activate the device and start it listening, then say what you want; Alexa will do its best to figure out what you're looking for, and will ask questions to clarify if it's not quite sure.

This means you don't have to memorize every last command, and instead can just use the Alexa as your assistant.

3 Alexa Skills

There are two types of devices that you can use Alexa Skills with:

  • Alexa-enabled devices such as the ecobee4 smart thermostat, the ecobee Switch+ or the Amazon Echo devices. These devices have the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant built-in and can listen and take your voice commands to control them or other Alexa compatible devices.
    ecobee4
    ecobee4.
    ecobee Switch+
    ecobee Switch+.
    Amazon Echo Devices
    Amazon Echo Devices.

    Smartphones and tablets that have the Alexa app installed can be used as a replacement for Alexa-enabled devices.

  • Alexa compatible devices such as the ecobee3 and ecobee3 lite smart thermostats. You can control these devices with your voice by speaking to an Alexa-enabled device. They are labeled with the Works with Alexa logo on their packaging.
    ecobee3
    ecobee3.
    ecobee3 lite
    ecobee3 lite.
    Works with Alexa
    Works with Alexa.

4 Finding Skills

There are many ways to approach adding a skill to your Amazon Alexa system, depending on what you're looking to add.

However you add a skill, the abilities of that skill will be available on all your Alexa-enabled devices.

? Choose the type of skills you'd like to add to your Alexa app:

  1. How to add News and Weather Alexa Skills
  2. How to add Music Alexa Skills
  3. How to add Smart Home Control Alexa Skills
  4. How to add Games Alexa Skills
  5. How to Explore All Alexa Skills

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In This Guide
You'll Learn:
  • What Alexa Skills are.
  • How to use Alexa Skills.
Before We Begin:
  • Your ecobee Smart Thermostat to be already installed on your wall and set up within the ecobee app.
  • Have the Amazon Alexa app installed on your smartphone or tablet.
Ecobee and Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa is a "platform". In other words, it's not just a voice recognition system; that's just how you use it. Alexa can be taught how to perform new tasks, by anyone willing to learn how. Many companies will write Alexa Skills to connect it to their home automation platforms, connect to their information and news websites, even make small games, such as trivia and guessing games.

Examples

  • Many news and weather services have an Alexa skill. By adding one, you can ask Alexa for a news or weather briefing, and receive custom reports.
  • Many local informational services offer an Alexa skill. You can get local restaurant recommendations, or even have food delivered directly by speaking to Alexa.
  • Lots of community-created, as well as producer-created games exist. Everything from trivia about your favorite movies to simulations of your favorite game shows.
  • Most home automation devices have an Alexa Skill available. These allow you to control your lights, monitor your home security system, even adjust the temperature of your home, all with simple voice commands.

Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa is accessed using voice commands. You speak, in natural language, to your Alexa-enabled device, and it will respond.

Each skill you add provides a series of suggestions related specifically to that skill, but in most cases, the specific phrasing is exceptionally forgiving. Simply say "Alexa," to activate the device and start it listening, then say what you want; Alexa will do its best to figure out what you're looking for, and will ask questions to clarify if it's not quite sure.

This means you don't have to memorize every last command, and instead can just use the Alexa as your assistant.

There are two types of devices that you can use Alexa Skills with:

  • Alexa-enabled devices such as the ecobee4 smart thermostat, the ecobee Switch+ or the Amazon Echo devices. These devices have the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant built-in and can listen and take your voice commands to control them or other Alexa compatible devices.
    ecobee4
    ecobee4.
    ecobee Switch+
    ecobee Switch+.
    Amazon Echo Devices
    Amazon Echo Devices.

    Smartphones and tablets that have the Alexa app installed can be used as a replacement for Alexa-enabled devices.

  • Alexa compatible devices such as the ecobee3 and ecobee3 lite smart thermostats. You can control these devices with your voice by speaking to an Alexa-enabled device. They are labeled with the Works with Alexa logo on their packaging.
    ecobee3
    ecobee3.
    ecobee3 lite
    ecobee3 lite.
    Works with Alexa
    Works with Alexa.

There are many ways to approach adding a skill to your Amazon Alexa system, depending on what you're looking to add.

However you add a skill, the abilities of that skill will be available on all your Alexa-enabled devices.

There are multiple ways to add a new news or weather skill to your Amazon Alexa.

You may need to switch to another method if one does not work. Some services need more information and customization before they'll work (such as username, passwords, or custom settings).

Using The Smartphone App

  1. Open the Alexa app on your mobile device.
    Alexa
  2. Select the Menu in the top-right corner.
    Menu
  3. Select Skills & Games.
    Alexa menu with Skills and Games highlighted.
  4. Select Categories at the top.
    Alexa Skills with Categories highlighted.
  5. Select News or Weather.
    Alexa Skills Categories with News highlighted.
  6. Here, you'll be able to browse various news or weather services you can add to your Alexa.
    Alexa News Skills
  7. After selecting a service, you can read more about it, as well as the commands the Skill will respond to. If you wish to add it to Alexa, select Enable to Use.
    Alexa News skill with Enable to Use highlighted.

    You may be asked for further information, such as a username or password to sign-into the service, or additional customization of the service.

    Follow the instructions on screen to complete the setup of your service.

Using Your Computer

This option only works if you already have an Alexa speaker setup with your Amazon account.
  1. Open your preferred web browser.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar, type alexa.amazon.com, and press enter or return.
    Browser with address typed in and highlighted.
  3. Enter your Amazon account Email and Password, then select Sign In.
    Alexa sign in with Email Password and Sign In button highlighted.
  4. Select Skills on the left.
    Alexa page with Skills highlighted.
  5. Select Categories at the top.
    Categories highlighted.
  6. Select News or Weather.
  7. Here, you'll be able to browse various news or weather services you can add to your Alexa.
    Alexa News services
  8. After selecting a service, you can read more about it, as well as the commands the Skill will respond to. If you wish to add it to Alexa, select Enable.
    Alexa website skill with Enable highlighted.

    You may be asked for further information, such as a username or password to sign-into the service, or additional customization of the service.

    Follow the instructions on screen to complete the setup of your service.

There are dozens of categories and hundreds of skills you can explore on the Amazon Alexa platform.

Using The Smartphone App

  1. Open the Alexa app on your mobile device.
    Alexa
  2. Select the Menu in the top-right corner.
    Menu
  3. Select Skills & Games.
    Alexa menu with Skills and Games highlighted.
  4. Under Discover, you'll find a curated list of different Skills you can select from. Select a skill for more information about a service, and to enable it if you choose.
    Alexa skills with Discover highlighted.

Using Your Computer

This option only works if you already have an Alexa speaker setup with your Amazon account.
  1. Open your preferred web browser.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar, type alexa.amazon.com, and press enter or return.
    Browser with address typed in and highlighted.
  3. Enter your Amazon account Email and Password, then select Sign In.
    Alexa sign in with Email Password and Sign In button highlighted.
  4. Select Skills on the left.
    Alexa page with Skills highlighted.
  5. You'll find a curated list of different Skills you can select from. Select a skill for more information about a service, and to enable it if you choose.
    Alexa Skills.

There are multiple ways to add a new music skill to your Amazon Alexa.

You may need to switch to another method if one does not work. Some services need more information and customization before they'll work (such as username, passwords, or custom settings).

Using The Smartphone App

  1. Open the Alexa app on your mobile device.
    Alexa
  2. Select the Menu in the top-right corner.
    Menu
  3. Select Skills & Games.
    Alexa menu with Skills and Games highlighted.
  4. Select Categories at the top.
    Alexa Skills with Categories highlighted.
  5. Select Music & Audio.
    Categories list with Music & Audio highlighted.
  6. Here, you'll be able to browse various music services you can add to your Alexa.
    Music skills
  7. After selecting a service, you can read more about it, as well as the commands the Skill will respond to. If you wish to add it to Alexa, select Enable to Use.
    Music skill with Enable to Use highlighted.

    You may be asked for further information, such as a username or password to sign-into the service, or additional customization of the service.

    Follow the instructions on screen to complete the setup of your service.

Using Your Computer

This option only works if you already have an Alexa speaker setup with your Amazon account.
  1. Open your preferred web browser.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar, type alexa.amazon.com, and press enter or return.
    Browser with address typed in and highlighted.
  3. Enter your Amazon account Email and Password, then select Sign In.
    Alexa sign in with Email Password and Sign In button highlighted.
  4. Select Skills on the left.
    Alexa page with Skills highlighted.
  5. Select Categories at the top.
    Categories highlighted.
  6. Select Music & Audio.
  7. Here, you'll be able to browse various music services you can add to your Alexa.
    Alexa Music services.
  8. After selecting a service, you can read more about it, as well as the commands the Skill will respond to. If you wish to add it to Alexa, select Enable.
    Amazon skill with Enable highlighted.

    You may be asked for further information, such as a username or password to sign-into the service, or additional customization of the service.

    Follow the instructions on screen to complete the setup of your service.

There are multiple ways to add a new Smart Home device to the Alexa service.

You may need to switch to another method if one does not work. Some devices need more information to be recognized.

Using Voice Commands

  1. Activate Alexa (usually, you can say "Hey Alexa").
  2. Say "Discover My Devices".
  3. The Alexa system will attempt to find any available smart home devices and prompt you through setting them up.
  4. Listen carefully to what Alexa says and respond with the information for your device.

Using The Smartphone App

  1. Open the Alexa app on your mobile device.
    Alexa
  2. Select Smart Home Devices.
    Smart Home Devices
  3. Select Add.
    Add Device
  4. Select Add Device.
  5. Select the category of your device.
  6. Select the brand of your device.
  7. Follow the instructions on screen to connect your smart home device to Alexa.

Using Your Computer

This option only works if you already have an Alexa speaker setup with your Amazon account.
  1. Open your preferred web browser.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar, type alexa.amazon.com, and press enter or return.
    Browser with address typed in and highlighted.
  3. Enter your Amazon account Email and Password, then select Sign In.
    Alexa sign in with Email Password and Sign In button highlighted.
  4. Follow the instructions on screen to connect your Smart Home device to the Alexa services.

There are multiple ways to add a new game skill to your Amazon Alexa.

You may need to switch to another method if one does not work. Some services need more information and customization before they'll work (such as username, passwords, or custom settings).

Using The Smartphone App

  1. Open the Alexa app on your mobile device.
    Alexa
  2. Select the Menu in the top-right corner.
    Menu
  3. Select Skills & Games.
    Alexa menu with Skills and Games highlighted.
  4. Select Categories at the top.
    Alexa Skills with Categories highlighted.
  5. Select Games & Trivia.
    Alexa Categories with Games and Trivia highlighted.
  6. Here, you'll be able to browse various game services you can add to your Alexa.
    Browsing games
  7. After selecting a service, you can read more about it, as well as the commands the Skill will respond to. If you wish to add it to Alexa, select Enable to Use.
    Game skill with Enable to Use highlighted.

    You may be asked for further information, such as a username or password to sign-into the service, or additional customization of the service.

    Follow the instructions on screen to complete the setup of your service.

Using Your Computer

This option only works if you already have an Alexa speaker setup with your Amazon account.
  1. Open your preferred web browser.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar, type alexa.amazon.com, and press enter or return.
    Browser with address typed in and highlighted.
  3. Enter your Amazon account Email and Password, then select Sign In.
    Alexa sign in with Email Password and Sign In button highlighted.
  4. Select Skills on the left.
    Alexa page with Skills highlighted.
  5. Select Categories at the top.
    Categories highlighted.
  6. Select Games & Trivia.
  7. Here, you'll be able to browse various game services you can add to your Alexa.
    Browsing game services.
  8. After selecting a service, you can read more about it, as well as the commands the Skill will respond to. If you wish to add it to Alexa, select Enable.
    Game skill with Enable highlighted.

    You may be asked for further information, such as a username or password to sign-into the service, or additional customization of the service.

    Follow the instructions on screen to complete the setup of your service.

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