Ecobee4 Thermostat to Come With Built-In Alexa Voice Assistant

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    The Ecobee4 will come with a built-in microphone for issuing Alexa-based voice commands, according to leaked marketing materials for the upcoming smart wireless thermostat (via The Verge).

    Ecobee3 owners with supporting Amazon hardware have been able to use Alexa to control their devices since the thermostat maker added support in December, but it looks as if the next iteration of the product will include the virtual assistant as a built-in feature.

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    Apple initially leaked the existence of the Ecobee4 last month when it issued a list of HomeKit-compatible thermostats, while recent FCC filings showed what appeared to be a small rear-firing speaker on the upcoming device's enclosure, hinting at Alexa voice integration.

    That now looks to have been confirmed, courtesy of blogger Dave Zatz, who revealed on Monday the leaked promotional material. Users of the Ecobee4 will be able to not only adjust the temperature via their voice, but also "leverage many if not all of Amazon's voice assistant capabilities" by speaking to the device, which features a signature blue Alexa light bar along the top.

    Apart from Alexa integration, the ecobee4 is said to be sleeker than the existing ecobee3 thermostat, and will retain the latter's HomeKit support; Ecobee3 devices received a software update back in January that added the feature. The number of leaks combined with steep discounts on existing Ecobee3 devices suggests the Ecobee4 will launch within the next couple of months.

    Article Link: Ecobee4 Thermostat to Come With Built-In Alexa Voice Assistant
     
  2. macduke macrumors G3

    macduke

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    I won't be upgrading to this! First Nest with Google and now Alexa (CIA) will be spying on us. Great. How about they fix their wireless temperature sensors first? They're always disconnecting—even ones that are only 15ft away line of sight! Their software could use a redesign too. It feels very Android-like since it's all custom and doesn't follow iOS design patterns. It's clunky and not organized well. I also feel like HomeKit has become slower to respond, and things like using Control Center to adjust the temperature is really glitchy as you'll change the temp and then it jumps around to another temperature just about every time. So you're kind of forced to use the clunky app to get it just right. I miss the Nest I had at my old house but refuse to buy something that Google makes because their values when it comes to privacy don't line up with mine.
     
  3. Corrode macrumors 6502a

    Corrode

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    #3
    At this point I don't want Alexa in my house due to privacy concerns.

    Apple needs to release a Siri "dot" to compete with these home assistants, however, HomeKit has allowed for voice control of Ecobee for quite a while now.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #4
    Wow, so what does this mean for Apple's homekit, which (from the outside looking in) appears to be floundering?
     
  5. shareef777 macrumors 68020

    shareef777

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    I don't see the benefit to havin Alexa on a thermostat. Every place I've ever been in would have the thermostat sitting in a hallway or somewhere like that (not easily within voice/audio range). Not an ideal place to talk to an Alexa device.
     
  6. Ballis macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Great move by Amazon. I cant believe Apple hasnt done something similar allready with Siri, as connected they with speaker makers.

    Alexa will be huge if Amazon keeps this up.
     
  7. shareef777 macrumors 68020

    shareef777

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    #7
    I don't see how this changes anything. I'm more likely to have my phone/iPad/Mac next to me to give hands-free Siri commands vs me standing next to my thermostat to give Alexa ones. The Home app is still working flawlessly for me. Shows temp for all five of my sensors and I can adjust temp/settings as always.
     
  8. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

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    It's still included here. I think the issue is the fact that you need an Apple device to reach Siri. I don't think Apple is ready yet for Siri on 3rd party devices so if this thermostat wants direct voice control they will have to go with a service like Alexa. Maybe in the future Siri will be more open to working with other brands and Ecobee5 will include it in place of Alexa. Don't know.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 18, 2017 ---
    I don't have the issues you're having but I did want to comment on the remote sensors. First, I had 2 that would disconnect but stopped after installing a new battery and going through the reset process. Basically put the battery in upside down for about 30 seconds then install a new one. Second, I would like to see humidity sensing added to the remote sensors along with one that can go outside. I would prefer if the outside temperature came from my back patio instead of a weather service that is close enough. Otherwise I really like my Ecobee's and recommend them to anyone looking for a better thermostat.
     
  9. cardfan macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Instead of silly Apple merging with Disney speculation, this is what Apple should be doing. Building an internet of iThings. I don't really want an Ecobee with alexa built in.
     
  10. jmh600cbr macrumors 6502a

    jmh600cbr

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    #10
    just installed my ecobee 3, super happy with it though i havent used the homekit feature once. I guess if Alexa is full powered then maybe it's useful but i just use siri for now. Will not be upgrading.
     
  11. chiefsilverback macrumors 6502

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    My understanding is that Alexa is so easy to integrate because it has none of the encryption/security features that HomeKit/Siri/Apple require.
     
  12. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

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    If this is your only HomeKit device so far then you won't see much by setting it up in the Home app. The benefit for me is a single place to view many device status'. I have Ecobee3, Lutron, and Philips Hue. Its nice to see everything in a single interface but there are limitations so I have to keep the related app's handy. The Ecobee App does way more than Home app but at least I can see the current temperature in my rooms and I can see which sensors have detected movement.
     
  13. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000

    thisisnotmyname

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    I'm not happy about this. Hopefully configureable to be completely disabled. Even then, I don't like my thermostat having a microphone.
     
  14. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

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    #14
    The good thing is Ecobee3 is fantastic, will be around a while and is now $50 cheaper than before. I could have saved $150 on my purchase of 3 but I'm not too disappointed.
     
  15. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000

    thisisnotmyname

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    I have the 3 and have been very happy with it. I'd like to upgrade some day though and with this news I'm reluctant. I'll second your idea that people pick up the now discounted 3 though, great device.
     
  16. bigverm23 macrumors newbie

    bigverm23

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    #16
    Wow, complain a little bit more about possibly the best thermostat out.

     
  17. spazzcat macrumors 68020

    spazzcat

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    #17
    Do you own a smart phone?
     
  18. vipergts2207 macrumors 68000

    vipergts2207

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    #18
    I love my ecobee3, but I won't be upgrading to this. The biggest reason to get a smart thermostat is for the energy and monetary savings. Those savings get flushed right down the toilet if you're buying an expensive thermostat every couple years.
     
  19. stu-bim macrumors newbie

    stu-bim

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    I would think that would be an ideal place for an 'Alexa Extension'. Simple commands as you come home, lights etc
     
  20. shareef777 macrumors 68020

    shareef777

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    #20
    Yeah, if the unit was by the front door. But most are in hallways in the middle of the house. Away from any major rooms you would sit in. I don't know, but it just seems that thermostats are not in ideal spots for voice commands to be given.
     
  21. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #21
    I know I won't be upgrading, but not because of them adding Alexa, because this is a thermostat that I hardly touch now as it is. Heck, I haven't touched it since I went on vacation and put it into vacation mode.
     
  22. JRobinsonJr macrumors 6502

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    #22
    I'm not sure it really matters what Apple is 'ready for'. Amazon has already thrown the next round of punches and it's up to Apple to follow along. As with many of the posters I don't necessarily see the value-add here, but am willing to take a wait-and-see approach. Perhaps a future software will allow all Alexa-enabled devices to function as a single entity? If so, having a voice I/O device in every area could be hugely useful. Or not. Time will tell!
     
  23. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

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    #23
    The value add I see here is the possibility that Amazon is sending funds to a small thermostat company. I assume this deal bolsters the Ecobee business greatly. If you're talking about value add for your purposes you may be similar to me in that I do not have plans to use Alexa. Not at this time so this feature is lost on me.
     
  24. OldSchoolMacGuy macrumors 68040

    OldSchoolMacGuy

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    #24
    Was about to buy an Ecobee but now, no thanks unless I can turn Alexa off. I don't want every word spoken in my home sent off to Amazon's servers to be data minded and stored. I'll pass.
     
  25. chiefsilverback macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Having put my home LAN on a VPN I find I can no longer watch Amazon streaming video because they are blocking VPN connections. I wonder if they also block the opportunity to harvest data?
     

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