SMART TEC Product information

What is a voice-activated hub?

Used creatively using these devices can assist people to remain as active and independent as possible, remind them to do something, may prevent falls and help people communicate with their friends and family. Being creative with the inbuilt functionality of the devices is key.

It is always best to think about what it is you want to be able to do/ achieve and then consider which particular device or setup may help you achieve this goal.

In order to set up a SMART home, you will require an internet connection within your home.

A SMART phone or tablet is required to setup and control SMART devices. This can be by the person in their own home or someone else remotely e.g. a family member accessing their account.

This booklet is for information purposes only and no products or brands are recommended.

Voice activated hubs or devices are a voice command enabled intelligent device and virtual assistant. They are designed to make life easier by allowing you to control your home, listen to music, make to do lists, set alarms, provide weather, traffic announcements etc.

The 2 market leaders are Amazon Alexa and Google Home. They can be operated by speaking directly to the hub (using a wake up word e.g. "Alexa" or "Hey Google") or remotely by control using an app on a smartphone or tablet which is linked to the account. There are different variations and models of voice activated hubs available and all do slightly different things - some come with a screen enabling text, video play and video calls and some come as a small speaker device – check manufacturers details for more information to find a device with the features you require.

Image illustrating a smart hub



You can purchase different products individually or as a package either on the high street or online. Products vary in price and reliability. Some are easier to set up than others by yourself and some require professional setup and installation, depending on product and manufacturer. It is advisable to check reviews and seek recommendations before purchase.

Voice recognition:

Alexa is designed to get smarter every day. The more you use Alexa, the more the service adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. Open up the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet. Go to the menu page and tap on "Settings," "Accounts," and then "Your Voice." Hit "Begin" to start the process of training Alexa to learn your voice. Alexa can also guide you through the steps verbally

Interaction History

It is possible to view the voice interaction/ activity of commands history within Alexa via the app. This may be helpful for families would find it reassuring to know that their loved one is up in the morning (mum has turned the radio on) or that they have gone to bed(mum has turned the lights off). You'll get a list of all your Alexa recordings, which you can filter by date

Amazon Alexa helpful features:

There are many skills and features that these hubs can do including to help keep you as independent as possible. Here are a few to consider:

Memory aid/ prompts
  • calendars, reminders – one off or regular
  • orientation – day, time, weather,
  • shopping list – voice command items and list stored in Alexa app for when out shopping
  • Lists – create your own lists e.g. visitors list or to do list
  • Medication prompts/reminders – one off or regular
  • Timers/reminders - can be set for regular reminders or one off reminders – "turn the cooker off in 10 minutes" "remind me to take the bins out every Wednesday at 10am"
  • Routines - Can set up a variety of actions through one command such as...
    • "Good Morning "
      • Switch on 3 lights downstairs
      • News
      • Weather
      • Turn on Coffee pot
      • "Have a nice day"
Control of environment (requires smart plug or bulb or other sensor e.g. movement sensor)
  • turn off/on lights, fan, heating, TV, slow cooker etc other gadgets – these can be set as one off or regular routine (set up in Routine functions in app)
  • Drop in
  • Voice call mobile or landline numbers 0r contacts alexa devices (numbers need to be saved in contacts)
  • Video link/ call (hubs with screen e.g. Echo Show)
Mental stimulation and entertainment

Some examples:

  • news
  • quizzes- use voice or Amazon buttons
  • Music including radio
  • Audiobook e.g. Audible
  • "tell me a joke"
  • Questions – fun, general knowledge or information "where is the international space station just now"
  • Amazon develop and offer new skills and games every day. To search for ideas:
    • Tap the menu icon in the top left-hand corner.
    • Tap "Skills & Games" on the list.
    • Tap on Discover or Categories for ideas and different ones to choose from
    • Once you find one suitable, tap on it and select enable to use

Echo Show (screen):

Rehabilitation – (echo show) videos/ you tube to prompt "how to do..." tasks such as make a cup of tea or make soup etc. Face to face video connection with friends/family, something to talk to.

Photos – takes and displays photos on screen (requires Amazon photos app to manage photos)

Video doorbell - see who is at your front door and interact with them

More in depth details of functions


Link Calendars to Alexa

To have Alexa add, delete, or update your calendar events, link your calendar in the Alexa app.

Note: When you link your calendar account, a copy of your calendar is stored in the cloud so you can access it using Alexa. Content from your calendar may be available to anyone using your Alexa devices.

For a list of supported calendar providers, check the Alexa app.

  1. Open the Alexa app.
  2. Open More and select Settings.
  3. Select Calendar & Email.
  4. Select your account provider, and then select Connect Account.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to link your calendar. Repeat these steps for each calendar you want to link.

If another adult is in your Amazon Household, they can also link their calendar to Alexa. When you ask about upcoming events, Alexa reads events from all your linked calendars

  • "What's on my calendar?"
  • "When is my next event?"
  • "Add an event to my calendar."
  • "Delete [event] from my calendar."
  • "Delete my [time/date] event."
  • "Move [event] to [time/date].

Use Alexa to manage your lists with your voice.

  • "Add [item] to [list name]."
  • "Remove [item] from my [list name]."
  • "Clear my [list name]."
  • "Create a list."
  • "Add [item] to my wish list."
  • On Echo devices with a screen: "Show me my [list name]."
Create Custom Lists in the Alexa App
  1. Open the Alexa app .
  2. Open More and select Lists & Notes.
  3. Select Create List.
  4. Name your list, and then select Done.
  5. To add items to your list, select your list, and then Add Item

To check items off your list, mark them as complete in the Alexa app:

  1. Open the Alexa app .
  2. Open More and select Lists & Notes.
  3. Select the list you want to edit.
  4. Select a list item to mark as complete. Selected items are grayed out and go to the Completed section of the list.
Reminders and Timers
Alexa – setting reminders

There are two ways to set up Alexa repeating reminders, using the app or by voice. ... Open the Alexa app, tap the menu icon on the top left and then select Reminders & Alarms. With the Reminders tab selected (that's the default tab), tap Add Reminder

Add a reminder using the Alexa App.

  1. Tap the menu (hamburger) button.
  2. Select Reminders & Alarms.
  3. Tap Add Reminder.
  4. Enter the reminder, along with the date, time and device from which you want to be reminded.
  5. Tap Save.
Using Timers with Alexa

Use your voice to create, manage, and cancel timers.

Say things like:

  • "Set a 5 minute timer."
  • "Set a sleep timer."
  • "Set a sleep timer for 30 minutes with lights." This request turns off lights in the same group as your Alexa-enabled device.
  • "Set a sleep timer for 90 minutes with [smart home lighting device name/group name]."
  • "Set a laundry timer for 1 hour."
  • "How much time is left?"
  • "[Pause/Resume} timer."
  • "[Add/Remove] 1 minute to my timer."
  • "Cancel timer."
  • On Echo devices with a screen: "Show me my timers."

What Can You Do with Alexa Routines?

Routines are a way for Alexa to automatically perform actions, or a series of actions. You can have up to 99 routines on your account at a time.

For example, say "Start my day" to have Alexa turn on your compatible smart lights and tell you the weather forecast.

You can create routines based on events like saying "Good morning," the time of day, or when a song is requested.

Set up a routine:

  1. Open the Alexa app.
  2. Open More and select Routines.
  3. Select Plus.
  4. Select When this happens, and follow the steps in the app to choose what starts your routine.
  5. Select Add action, and follow the steps in the app to choose the action of your routine. You can select multiple actions for the same routine.
  6. Select Save.
Control of environment

Alexa enables you to control and check the status of a variety of smart home devices, such as lights, switches, cameras and thermostats. Once the smart devices are set up (via an app) they can be set up plugs or lights to turn on/ off at certain times of day, turn on/ off a number of devices with one command (set up through routine function) or turn lights on downstairs which may prevent a fall.

Drop in:

What is Drop In?

The optional Drop In feature will let you easily connect with your closest friends and family on supported Echo devices. To give Drop In permission to yourself (and your household) or a contact (and that contact's household), select the applicable contact card and turn on Drop In. In addition, you can give Drop In permission to yourself (and your household) by simply saying "Alexa, Drop In on Home." To turn off Drop In for your household, you can simply say "Alexa, disable Drop In." Alternatively, you can turn on Do Not Disturb on one, or all, Echo devices by saying "Alexa, turn on Do Not Disturb." You also may disable Drop In for a specific device via the Devices icon > Echo & Alexa > [Your Device Name] > Communication in the Alexa app.

  1. Open Communicate.
  2. Select the Drop In icon.
  3. Select the name of the device you want to drop in on.

To end the Drop In, touch the screen and select Hang Up.

Note: You can use the Alexa app to drop in on other devices, but other devices can't drop in on the Alexa app. To drop in on a contact with a different Amazon account, both you and your contact must first grant each other Drop In permissions

When someone drops in on my device, what do they hear and see?

When someone drops in on your supported Echo device, you will hear an audio tone and see a visual indicator that someone is dropping in on you. The contact on the other side of the Drop In will automatically hear audio through your device. You may end the Drop In by saying "Alexa, hang up." On Echo devices without a screen, you will see a green in-call light indicator showing that a Drop In is in progress.

If a contact with the Alexa app or an Echo device with a screen drops in on your Echo device with a screen, they will see a frosted glass view from your device's camera. The frosted glass view will automatically transition to clear video over a short period of time. You will see the contact's video (and a picture-in-picture view of your own video) when the Drop In is in progress. You can end a Drop In by tapping the End icon on the screen, or you can disable the camera while continuing an audio conversation by saying "Alexa, video off," or tapping the Video Off icon on the screen.

How do I disable Drop In?

If you have granted your household members Drop In permission, you can disable it by saying "Alexa, disable Drop In," or turning off Drop In on your own contact card. If you have granted any other contacts Drop In permission, you can disable that on their contact cards. You also may disable Drop In for a specific device via the Devices icon > Echo & Alexa > [Your Device Name] > Communications in the Alexa app.


What are Announcements?

The Announcements feature lets you easily make announcements to other supported Alexa-enabled devices within your household, like a one-way intercom. Simply say, "Alexa, announce that dinner's ready," and "Dinner's ready," will then be announced in your voice to all supported devices in your household. You can block Announcements on one, or all, supported devices by turning on Do Not Disturb - simply say "Alexa, turn on Do Not Disturb." Unlike Drop In, Announcements are one-way only. To respond to an Announcement, you can make a new Announcement or start a Drop In as a two-way intercom.

What is the "Send SMS" feature?

The optional Send SMS feature allows you to ask Alexa to send SMS messages using your mobile phone. The feature is only available for customers with Android phones. To enable the feature, select your own contact card and turn on "Send SMS."

Using your supported Echo device or the Alexa app, simply say "Alexa, send an SMS to Julie," and Alexa will send your message as an SMS to Julie's mobile phone number. You can also say, "Alexa, send a message to Julie." If Julie is an Alexa Communication user, your message will default to being sent as an Alexa message. If not, your message will be sent as an SMS to her mobile phone number.

The message will be processed in the cloud to convert your voice message to text. The SMS will then be sent from your Android phone's default SMS app to the recipient's mobile phone. The recipient will be able to view a text transcript of your message, and will receive a link to listen to your original voice message. You can view replies to your SMS in your phone's default SMS app.

As this feature uses your existing mobile phone service to send SMS, carrier charges may apply. Please note that text-to-911, group messages, and MMS (picture and video messages) are not supported. You can disable Send SMS through your contact card in the Alexa app.

Photo Display

Family may wish to share photos or moments with their loved one regularly or as part of a slide show – this can be carried out remotely or on the device.

To set a photo as the background for an Echo Show or Spot, open the Alexa app and choose Settings from the side menu. Tap the name of the Echo you want to show your photos. Scroll down to Home & Clock Background, then tap CHOOSE A PHOTO. The photos in your phone's library will show.

You can customize your photo slideshow from within the Amazon Photos app, you can start the process in the Amazon Alexa app, or you can do so directly on the Echo Show or Fire TV devices themselves

How to set up a slideshow on an Amazon Echo Show
  1. Go to the Amazon Photos site.
  2. Select Album > Create Album.
  3. Give your new album a name and choose Create.
  4. Pick the photos you want to add, then select Add to Album
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