From your front door lock to your lighting or thermostat, there’s a smart home device for just about everything.

Amazon’s first smart home control panel makes connecting, viewing, and managing the devices you already own —from smart lights to alarm systems—simple and affordable.

And thanks to Amazon’s new Echo Hub, you can now see and control what’s happening in your home in one central place.

The Echo Hub is a dedicated device that can work with thousands of different connected cameras, lights, locks, plugs, speakers and heating systems, consolidating them into a single convenient hub for easy control.

I recently introduced the Echo Hub into my smart home setup to see if it would make a difference, and there are now 4 reasons why I can’t live without it.

1. It gives me a visual of all my devices

Being able to control my smart home devices with my voice was great when I just had one or two Echo speakers, but since I now have a more involved setup, having a dedicated visual hub is a real game changer.

Being able to see all of my devices in front of me really helps to simplify my setup and understand how I can make the best use of it – which in turn means I get the most out of my devices. You can also customise the homescreen with widgets that work best for your setup, so it’s really easy to make it your own.

In particular, I’ve found myself using the convenient touch interface to nudge up my thermostat when I get cold, and to initiate Routines with just one tap.

An image of a daily routine on an Amazon Echo Hub device

2. It makes home security easy

There’s peace of mind with the Echo Hub, as it helps you to view and control your home security setup from a single place – be that arming or disarming your Ring Alarm security system, checking in on the view from your video doorbell or security camera, or activating a Routine. With a larger display than your phone, you can see any visitors more clearly, too.

Amazon has teamed up with Sam Thompson and the ADHD Foundation to unveil a new guide to support those living with ADHD.

3. It works with so many devices

The support of a wide variety of devices is no joke, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Matter and Thread devices able to sync with the hub once they’re set up in the Alexa app. I have several Alexa-compatible devices – including Echo speakers and Ring cameras – but it also picked up my Hive heating and radiator valves using Zigbee.

You can ask Alexa to search for devices and it will automatically find and prompt you to set them up within the Alexa app before adding them to the Hub, so it’s really easy to get started.

Don’t forget to let Alexa know which room the device is in so you can view and control it as part of the room group on your Echo Hub. This is particularly important for music playback.

Music playback on an Amazon Echo Hub

4. It’s still an Echo device

Of course, alongside all of its great smart home organisation features, the Echo Hub is still an Echo device.

That means you can use it to control all the devices across your home, while also enjoying your favourite Alexa features in a much more visual format. Things like your to-do list, the local weather report and calendar can all be set up and displayed alongside your devices for at-a-glance convenience. It can even double as a digital photo frame using pictures stored in your Amazon Photos.

I have two young children, which means a lot of appointments and birthday parties to remember. By placing the Echo Hub in the living room, it has quickly gone beyond simply organising our smart home, and has become our family organisation hub too.

Find out more about the new Amazon Echo Hub.