A little over two years ago, Amazon launched Alexa Hunches. The feature allows Alexa to suggest actions to you based on your habits. If you typically turn off a light at the same time every day and Alexa notices it’s still on, Alexa may offer to turn it off. Now, Amazon will allow smart device developers to activate new behavior for hunches that act without asking. This should give Alexa some real automation powers.
Automation is one of the best features of a smart home when used wisely. You can set up routines that automatically turn lights on and off based on your presence or the time of day. But automation can also be difficult to achieve. You’ll need to choose your device names wisely, group your smart devices into rooms, and then set up routines. That’s a lot to ask of the average person.
But Alexa’s intuition gets around it all. It acts on what it knows about your habits, much like the Nest’s Learning Thermostat. But so far Alexa has asked for permission to act on this knowledge. However, whether or not you are sleeping at home, there is no point in hearing the suggestion to turn off the lights. And that’s why this new feature from Amazon is great. Now, if you’re leaving your house or it’s late at night and Alexa notices that you left the lights on, she can just turn them off for you. If your thermostat works like you’re always at home, it can adjust things without asking you.
Developers need to embed the hunches into devices and activate the new capability. This is a change that will not happen overnight. If your smart plug or bulb already supports Alexa’s hunches, it works less and you might see the feature sooner. But only time will tell how soon we’ll see true automation hit homes powered by Alexa.