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Thursday, February 09, 2017

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How to Control Your Insteon Smarthome Device with the Amazon Echo

Oyetoke Tobi - Thursday, February 09, 2017

Do you have the Insteon smarthome devices? Do you know that you can effortlessly control your Insteon smarthome devices with the Amazon Echo?

In case you’ve got any Insteon smarthome products in your own, you may perhaps want to control them with your voice. With Alexa skills, you can use the Amazon Echo with most Insteon devices.

Alexa support for Insteon devices is limited and only some certain devices are fully supported. Some may have half-support for Alexa. For instance, Alexa can only control the lights on the Insteon ceiling fan controllers, not the fan itself. Some other devices may even have no support for Alexa at all.

Fortunately, Insteon just added an Alexa skill that lets you control Insteon scenes with only your voice using the Amazon Echo or Dot. That way, even if an Insteon device doesn’t have support for Alexa, you can atleast still stick it in a scene that will.

The first thing you need to do now is to install the Insteon Alexa skills and get it running. Installing Alexa skills is as easy as installing apps on Android or iOS. We’ve an article that explains how you can install any Alexa skills. So do check that out.

The second thing now is to make sure you’ve set up the Insteon devices in the Insteon app and set up your Amazon Echo because you have to set them before you can think of using it to control your Insteon devices. So if you haven’t set them up already, do that before continuing.

Once you have set up the Insteon devices and Amazon Echo, you can proceed.

How to Install the Insteon Alexa Skill

You’ll need to install the Insteon’s Alexa skill from the Alexa app on your smartphone. Now open the Alexa app on your phone menu, than tap on the menu button (hamburger icon) at the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Then tap on “Smart Home” entry from the list.

Now scroll all the way down and tap on “Get More Smart Home Skills”.

Then search for “insteon” in the list and tap on it. Then tap on the “Enable” button to install it. Then connect it to your Insteon account, by using your Insteon account details to connect Alexa to your Insteon account.

Then head back to the Smart Home page and tap on “Discover Devices” under “Your Devices,” you should be able to see some of your Insteon devices there.

In case the Insteon device you want to control appears in the list, then you ar good to go! If not, or if your device only has half support, like the ceiling fan mentioned earlier, proceed to step two in order to use Alexa to control it.

How to Create a Scene

In order to add Alexa support to devices that don’t yet have support for Alexa or have half-support for Alexa, you’ll need to create a scene for that device.

Open the Insteon app on your phone menu and log in if you are not logged in already. Then tap on the “Scenes” button in the toolbar and tap on the Plus sign to add a new scene.

Enter a name you would like to call the scene and select an icon if you wish.

Note this in mind that, after naming a scene, you’ll be using the name to control the device (e.g turn it on and off) with your voice. Ensure you name it something easy to pronounce and remember.

And if you want to control a device that has half-support for Alexa, and has already appear in the Alexa list of devices. You may want to give the device a different name in the Insteon app so that Alexa won’t get confused between them.

For instance, we’ve given our Insteon ceiling fan device “Living Room Fan,” since that will be very clear and understandable to Alexa. However, the device itself is called “Main Ceiling Fan,” by default which I’ll probably never say to Alexa.

Then scroll down and select the device you want this scene (slash voice command) to turn on. It’s labeled my “Main Ceiling Fan,” in our case, so we’ve selected that and chosen the fan part of the device. Then tap on Next once you are through.

Then you will be prompted what you want to do with the chosen device in the next screen. Some devices will have an On/Off toggle option, while others (like my fan) have toggle options between High/Medium/Low. Now choose what exactly you want the device to do whenever you turn the scene “on” with Alexa. Then tap on Done to save your changes.

The scene you created should now show up in the Alexa’s list of devices. You can open the Alexa and head over to the “discover new Smart Home devices” screen, your scene should appear in the list.

The next thing to do now is to try the voice command with Alexa and see if it works well. The voice command should be constructed as below:


Alexa, turn (scene name) on

If I want to control my Insteon ceiling fan, my voice command would be:

Alexa turn the Living Room Fan on

Alexa, turn the Living Room Fan off.

You can repeat this procedure for any other smarthome devices and scenes you want to control with your voice. Also ensure that your scene and the device name must be different from one another. If their names are too similar or the same, Alexa will be confused and won’t know the one you want to turn on.


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