I have spent years building a smart home around Alexa. While there are debates about the importance of matter, I've observed Apple's struggles with getting HomeKit off the ground and how every smart home brand tries to diversify and become a complete solution. Meanwhile, Alexa has been building bridges and solving problems to make smart homes work seamlessly. The use of Skills on Alexa and the widespread adoption of devices like Echo Dot have prompted manufacturers to make themselves compatible with Amazon's platform. Building an Alexa smart home is something that many people have already done, but there has always been something missing – a good hub. Enter the Echo Hub, the missing piece in Alexa's puzzle. While Alexa has connected smart home devices to make everything work, without any mention of Thread, the Echo Hub now provides the solution to complete this system. It addresses the weak user interface presented by the Echo Show and includes smart features to set up and directly control some devices, if desired. The Echo Hub is compatible with almost everything – Matter, Thread, Zigbee, Sidewalk, Bluetooth – while seamlessly integrating your existing devices connected to Alexa for easy control. It also allows you to view and activate your routines, making everything much easier. Additionally, with the new and more advanced Alexa, you will soon be able to create routines using your voice. The Echo Hub stands 8 inches tall and can be mounted flush against the wall, similar to expensive smart home controllers used by custom installers. As someone who always desired a hub like those from Crestron and other "home automation" hubs, the Echo Hub now offers an option for those of us who have built an Alexa smart home and want a better way to manage it. While the Echo system is primarily voice-operated through an Echo device, sometimes you just want to use touch. The Echo Hub offers this option with an interface in the Alexa app or via the Echo Show, eliminating the limitations of one person's phone or the need for excessive tapping. The most important aspect of the Echo Hub is that it is designed for one purpose – smart home control. In a world of convergence, specificity is often the key to success. The ability to install one or more Echo Hubs in my home, controlling all my smart devices, is highly appealing. From what I've seen, the interface is faster and smoother compared to other Alexa devices. It is specifically designed for controlling your smart home, and it excels in this area. Features like Ring multiview cameras, easy scene-setting, instant heating adjustment, and one-tap routines make the Echo Hub stand out. Its focused approach to smart home control allows it to do more by doing a little less.
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