Amazon’s Echo and they latest Echo Dot have taken off with them becoming mainstream as of late. The Black Friday special on the 2nd Generation Dot being only $39.99 is what triggered me to finally order one. After you get the Dot, it’s time to accessorize as it’s virtually made to be a hub for your smart home.
First let’s start with what I think is a pointless accessory, the cases that Amazon has released for the Dot. I like the look of the Dot out of the box, and I won’t be purchasing a case for mine, but if you need or want to make your dot fit your home decor a bit better, it might be worth picking up one of these. They are available in Charcoal Fabric, Indigo Fabric, Merlot Leather, Midnight Leather, Saddle Tan Leather or Sandstone Fabric. These cases are nice and all, but since I like the styling of the Dot out of the box I just don’t see the point to pay and additional $14.99 or $19.99 to make it look different.
Next, I would suggest looking at a lighting/home automation system. Philips Hue and the Belkin WeMo are the leading candidates but I’d also check out the Osram Lightify system (review forthcoming from yours truly). This is one category that I will say stick to one of the top three or four systems with the fourth being Samsung’s Smart Things. Now some of these also include integration for items that aren’t lighting like Crock-pots, Coffee Pots, or just plain switches. There’s something satisfying about saying “Alexa Living Room Light on at 50 percent” to turn the lights on when entering your house with an armload of groceries or turning lights on and off from your smartphone.
Lastly, I would look at adding Pandora, Spotify, or Amazon’s own music service to your Echo or Echo Dot. Being able to start music in your kitchen while you are cooking with just your voice is great!
The Echo, Echo Dot and Google’s Home are ushering in an age of Smart Home and Internet of Things (IOT) technology that I always thought would one day be possible but not in my lifetime. For someone who grew up watching Star Trek captains talking to their computer with natural language, I never thought this would happen, but the tech is here now and it’s only going to get better over time.