Amazon Map View is a game-changer for your smart home

amazon map view
Amazon Map View

Amazon Map View is like a superhero for your smart home! It helps make things amazing and easy. Imagine it as a cool game that makes your home even smarter.

If you’re like me and have dozens of the best smart home devices in your house, it can be a PITA to manage them all from a crowded list in the Alexa app. Amazon’s Map View feature makes finding and controlling these gadgets easier by using your phone’s camera to accurately scan your home and create a digital floor plan from the Alexa app. You can then drag and drop your devices (represented by pins) atop this map to mark their exact placement in your rooms and control them with a tap.

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Map View’s streamlined interface feels fresh and is easy to use, giving Alexa an edge over the device grids you’ll find in Google Home and Apple HomeKit. With Map View, I don’t have to scroll through text or guess which smart light “Bulb 7” is—I can simply tap on the specific bulb I want to operate and dim its brightness instantly. And when I need to view a live security camera feed, I can click on it to open directly into it.

Map View rolls out for everyone later this year, but I’ve been using it for a little over two weeks and have been impressed for the most part.

How to Scan Your Home with Amazon Map View

Upon launching the Amazon Alexa app and navigating to the ‘My Devices’ tab, users will see a ‘Map View’ button located in the top right corner of the screen, represented by a pin. By clicking on it, one can select the desired floor level for scanning, which can accommodate multiple levels like the basement, ground floor, and above. The feature is optimized for LiDAR-enabled Apple devices, specifically iPhone 12 Pro models and newer, or fourth-generation iPad Pro and newer models.

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To start the scanning process, I used the iPhone 14 Pro to capture a 600-square-foot open living room. The process is straightforward: the view from the rear camera is displayed on the screen, simulating the scenario of taking a video or picture. As the phone is moved around, the depth sensor detects surfaces and draws virtual white lines on real walls, floors, and furniture. A 3D model below the display tracks the progress of the scan, becoming more detailed as you proceed.

amazon map view

Amazon map view  [image credit to its owner]

Making Your Alexa Smarter with Map View

Impressively, Amazon Maps quickly and accurately measured furniture, detected doors and windows, and even over obstacles and obstructions such as an overhead air conditioning unit. It took less than ten minutes to complete the initial room scan, and I pieced together the subsequent rooms while standing at the door. The resulting floor plan incorporated smart lights, security cameras, and a smart thermostat, all of which could be easily manipulated within the map.

The level of detail in the map view extends to capturing furniture on top of surfaces, increasing overall visibility. Future room layout adjustments are hassle-free, allowing devices to be easily added, removed, and rearranged by simply pressing and moving icons.

Accessing the Amazon Map View for monitoring smart home devices and their positions within a room proves to be more intuitive than traditional grid or list interfaces. Instead of scrolling through a cluttered list of unnamed smart lights, the map view enables a swipe-and-tap approach to direct control. Live information, such as the current temperature from the smart thermostat, smart lock status, and active lights, is easily available at a glance.

This innovative Map View feature represents a promising development for the Alexa smart home platform, providing an engaging interface that significantly enhances the user experience. However, it’s important to note that, as of now, Map View is exclusive to recent iPhone and iPad Pro models. Despite LiDAR sensors being present in some Android devices, like the Samsung S20-series, map view functionality is not currently available.

While Map View appears to be tailored for Amazon’s Echo Show smart displays or Fire TV screens, its current limitation to mobile apps may change in the future. Anticipated integration with the upcoming Alexa Echo Hub, as indicated as ‘coming soon’ in the Amazon listing, suggests possible expansion to other Alexa smart displays.

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