Amazon’s Alexa is getting her claws into even more of your smart home, with the news that Lutron’s Caséta Wireless lighting can now be controlled by voice. The company’s Echo speaker – as well as the Amazon Tap, Fire TV, and Echo Dot – can all remotely operate the Caséta range of wirelessly-enabled dimmer switches, including turning them completely off or on, and adjusting brightness.
While there are several smart home lighting systems on the market, they generally all focus on making the bulb itself connected. Platforms like Philips’ hue and Cree’s Connected Bulbs bake ZigBee wireless into various different shapes and sizes of LED bulb, making upgrades straightforward.
With Lutron’s system, however, it’s the switches rather than the bulbs that get smarter. The Caséta platform offers a selection of interchangeable dimmer switches that can both be used as regular buttons for the lights on the wall – useful for keeping the system non-techie friendly – but also accessible through Lutron’s smartphone apps.
Now, Alexa is joining the party. Just as with the previous connected lighting integrations, it involves first pairing the Caséta lighting system with Amazon’s platform through the Alexa companion app, then having it “discover” the available devices.
After that, you can request lights change by their individual name, such as “Alexa, turn the family room lights on.”
It’s also possible to create a group of lights in the Alexa app, such as turning off all of the lights in the house in one fell swoop, or shutting off all the downstairs lights when you go to bed.
Lutron also has outlet-style remotely-controlled sockets which can be used to wirelessly-enable individual lamps, together with remote controls for those times when calling out to Echo might not be practical.
Kits to get started kick off at $99, though you’ll have to buy an Alexa-enabled device on top of that, such as the original $179 Echo or the recently released $129 Amazon Tap. Caséta kits come with both the wall switch replacements and a home hub which requires hooking up to your router; that also allows you to control the lights when you’re not on the home network, such as turning them all off from the office if you left in a hurry.