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I wonder what the difference between the Amazon Echo and the Echo Plus is. Of course I know that the Echo Plus has a Smart Home Hub integrated but for what exactly is it? I can not find any information about that on the internet.

I am asking because I want to buy an Amazon Echo/Plus for some simple automation tasks which involve, for example, switching the lights on and off or playing music. It would also be great if I could regulate my heater and so on when I am not at home.

Do I need the Plus version or is the normal version suitable for my purposes?

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As far as I can tell from the documentation, the Echo Plus will at least have a ZigBee radio and the ability to act as a hub for those devices, according to Simple setup devices compatible with Echo Plus:

Echo Plus has a built-in hub that seamlessly connects and controls ZigBee smart devices such as light bulbs and plugs without the need for separate hubs or apps. With simple setup, connecting Echo Plus to the devices below is easy. Just say "Alexa, discover my devices" and Echo Plus will discover and set up your devices.

Like other Echo devices, Echo Plus can connect to hundreds of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth smart home devices with the Alexa app, such as lights, outlets, TVs, thermostats, cameras, and more. Shop all smart home products.

It sounds like the software will also be upgraded to match expectations of a smart hub, according to the info page:

Group multiple actions together at scheduled times or with a single voice command, like securing your home by locking the doors and turning off the lights when you go to bed.

The scheduling and grouping would seem to reduce the need for a hub if you're just setting up a basic home automation system.


For you, if you're hoping to control lights, it might be worth having an Echo Plus. Some of the lighting devices that support the new 'simple setup' might be interesting to you, particularly if you don't already have any hubs set up. However, many smart lights and switches are already compatible with the original Echo, so check with the products you're interested in to see if they'd benefit from an Echo Plus.

  • Thank you! Do you also know if it is possible to control lights etc. on the way via an iPhone App/mobile internet? – Elastic Lamb Oct 8 '17 at 8:55
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    @ElasticLamb That's a feature that a lot of smart hubs (e.g. SmartThings) support. I've not been able to tell if the Echo's smart hub will also support that yet. I wouldn't be surprised if they were integrated into the app, but it doesn't seem to be known publicly yet. Perhaps wait a couple of weeks until the device releases, and we might know a little more then. – Aurora0001 Oct 8 '17 at 8:59
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First line of tech target article defines smart home hub as:

A smart home hub is a hardware device that connects the devices on a home automation network and controls communications among them.

The Samsung SmartThings Hub is a very good commercial example of home hub. With Smartthings hub you can:

  • Add as many smart devices as you'd like to create a fully connected smart home
  • Set up different notifications and alerts so you can keep an eye on what's important to you.
  • Set up different actions to automatically happen when you're asleep, awake, gone or back home and your home will remember them.
  • Where routines or patterns change, tell your home what you want it to do and it will adapt.

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