The more smart devices you add to your home, the harder it becomes to manage them all. Today, Amazon is introducing its own hub designed as a central way to control your devices. Unveiled Wednesday during Amazon’s Devices event, the new Echo Center is a wall-mounted control panel with an eight-inch touchscreen and a customizable dashboard.
Using the dashboard, you will be able to view and control any supported smart home device. For example, you can activate your security system, start an Alexa routine, turn up your fan, change the volume of an Echo speaker, and view the feed from your Ring security camera.
Starting next year, a new feature called Map View will reveal a diagram of your smart home, so you can locate any connected device. Beyond the touchscreen, you can talk to the Echo Hub using Alexa without having to be right next to it.
When you’re not actively using the hub, it transforms into a display screen to show family photos or tell the time and weather. The hub even has an infrared sensor to detect when you’re nearby and change what’s displayed on the screen.
The Echo Hub is compatible with more than 140,000 smart devices, according to Amazon. It also supports all major connectivity standards, such as Matter And Thread. Plus, the hub works with Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices like this one from Amazon. eero PoE Gateway to transmit both data and electrical power via Ethernet cables.
Third-party smart home hubs have been on the market for a while, but they can be expensive, costing several hundred dollars. To gain a competitive advantage, Amazon priced the Echo Hub at $180.
“Today, smart home panels are expensive, they require professional installers, and they don’t age well,” Charlie French, director of Smart Home at Amazon, said at the event. “We decided to change that.”
The Echo Hub is simple to set up, according to Amazon. You can install it with a USB-C cable and the included power adapter, or a compatible USB-C to RJ45 adapter for Internet connectivity and power over Ethernet.
A wall mount bracket is compatible with standard electrical box sizes, so you should be able to mount it on a box with wall wiring, while an angle bracket is also available if you prefer to mount it lower on the wall. People who don’t want to mount it on the wall can place it on a compatible countertop mount that will be offered by Amazon.
The Echo Hub will be available for purchase later this year.