Frustration-Free Setup Expands Features, Protocols, and Simplifies Onboarding

Quentin Robinson Sep 24, 2020
FFS Smart Home Connected Devices

Today, we're excited to announce updates to Frustration-Free Setup (FFS), including wifi simple reconnect (preview), the general availability of Bluetooth simple setup, and new FFS solution providers to help you get your device to market quickly.

FFS enables you to simplify the connection of your devices to your customer's network and Alexa account. We've seen multiple device brands launch products with wifi simple setup, including TP-Link, Lifx, Wemo, Tuya, and Brother since launching last year. Today, we're excited to announce several new features, including a preview of wifi simple reconnect, a new feature to simplify reconnecting your device to a customer's router. Next, we're announcing the general availability of Bluetooth simple setup (BSS), a simple way for your devices to connect to your customer's network upon plugin. Finally, we're excited to share there are now several solution providers with wifi simple setup pre-integrated and pre-certified so you can accelerate time-to-market.

Get and Stay Connected with Wifi Simple Reconnect (Preview)

Wifi simple reconnect aims to simplify updating network credentials for a customer’s compatible smart devices. As a customer, updating all your connected devices’ wifi credentials can be a painful experience when moving to a new building, changing internet service providers, or simply updating wifi passwords for security reasons. Changing the wifi network name and password is even more complicated for screenless devices, such as smart switches, lamps, and vacuum cleaners. In some cases, customers have to factory reset their devices to put them into a pairing mode and re-add the device with a mobile application. Now, with wifi simple reconnect, your devices can talk to other compatible devices to keep wifi information in sync. This creates a way for smart home devices to interact with one another when they need help reconnecting to the network.

How it works
A wifi simple reconnect compatible device, such as the latest generation of Echo and Fire TV devices, use beacons to alert other compatible devices in range when it needs help or has a network disruption event. Distress events include network connectivity losses specific to password changes or the inability to find a network name. Other connectivity events such as loss between the router and ISP (limited connectivity), DNS, and VPN issues will not count as a disrupted event. A customer's Alexa app can detect these distress events, prompt the customer to update credentials, and share the credentials securely over Bluetooth to your device. Once this device comes online, it can then assist other distressed devices on the customer's account and in-range to come back online, if the customer granted permission. In most cases, a customer only has to update their new network name or password once through the Alexa app, and wifi simple reconnect takes care of the rest.

How to get started
Wifi simple reconnect will be available with the latest generation of Echo and Fire TV devices next month. Wifi simple reconnect will launch with Eaton wifi smart devices early next year and will be generally available for all device makers soon after. We’re excited to help your devices get and stay connected so customers can experience less frustration. You can request access to the wifi simple reconnect preview here.

Build Bluetooth Mesh Devices with Simple Setup

Bluetooth simple setup (BSS) connects compatible devices purchased on to a customer's network automatically upon power-up. This new simple setup protocol is now generally available to start integration and will be available for customers with the launch of new Echo Show devices next month. This new protocol uses Bluetooth Mesh as a standards-based protocol to simplify onboarding for customers, making the setup of Bluetooth-enabled devices as easy as plugging it in. With Bluetooth simple setup, there are no SDKs to integrate. Start integrating by reviewing our documentation in the FFS console, and with our new manufacturing tools, you can have your device shipping to customers in just a few weeks.

How it works
Bluetooth simple setup (BSS) leverages Bluetooth Mesh as the foundational protocol, so you'll need to integrate it before integrating FFS. Next, to register your device with a customer after purchase, we'll need to know the unique serial number from your device. During manufacturing, you can send us these serial numbers in the form of a control log, which we use to authorize and authenticate your device with our backend. This serial number must also be on your packaging, so when the packaging is scanned in our fulfillment center, we can associate your device to the customer's account. Once the customer unboxes and powers on your device, it will emit a setup beacon discovered by our BLE Mesh capable hubs. These hubs then share an install code for your device to join the network. Your customers can also use directives such as "Alexa, Discover my Devices" to start the Bluetooth simple setup workflow.

How to get started
To get started, head over to our Bluetooth simple setup tech documentation here.

Reduce Time, Cost, and Engineering Effort with Solution Providers and Reference Designs

We are excited to announce two new simplifiers for bringing FFS-enabled products to the market. First, you can now reduce your time-to-market by using pre-integrated and certified off-the-shelf products from solution providers, like Tuya, eWeLink, and Tonly. These solution providers manage manufacturing, certification, badging, and scale your new product globally to several Amazon marketplaces. Next, if you are building your FFS-enabled device from scratch, we now have integration reference designs and tools to simplify manufacturing. Each reference design has sample apps with tech docs that can be copied into your projects.

You can also use packages such as Amazon Common Software (ACS) and Alexa Connect Kit (ACK) to speed up integration. ACS integrates multiple device SDKs and their software dependencies into one package. The Alexa Connect Kit, which allows you to build products at a fixed per-device cost, comes pre-integrated with FFS. By using either ACS or ACK, your device can use a streamlined FFS certification process, reducing complexity and time-to-market.

How to get started
Learn more about solution providers, reference designs, and our Amazon software packages here.

Start Building Today

To learn more about onboarding to FFS, finding the right solution for your product, or getting started with development, visit the Frustration-Free Setup page here.