2017 is turning out to be something special for home appliance tech enthusiasts and followers. Smart home appliances- appliances that function on voice features and the concept of internet of things are here and functioning just like we envisioned them to do. And a major credit for this goes to Amazon. The internet enterprise first launched its home automation device the Amazon Echo in 2015, and it is fast becoming one of the most sought after products on the web. The Echo is assisted by the Alexa- an artificial voice assistant which is the basic program that not just runs the Echo but also a host of other Amazon home automation devices, not to mention the Fire TV and tablet.
However, much like a little child that needs to be taught the basics of life, the Alexa also needs to be taught certain commands and skills to develop. According to Amazon, Alexa can be taught more than 15,000 skills. This can be done by regular voice commands until the AI system feeds it into its system. Now comes the major dilemma: Which commands, or words to utilize? You can make a list of the daily chores that would need Echo assistance or simply search the official Alexa app and start working on it. But it will take a long time.
Here is a list of basic commands that will maximize the effectiveness of the Amazon Echo and help in making your life a bit easier. Turning off the lights or using the Television are the first things most people do after getting a voice automation system, so let’s skip those for now.
Music and sound
It would be a safe bet to assume that most Echo purchases are still seen as entertainment modules first and house tech later. The Echo is touted as a music player and most voice commands thrown at it are music and sound related. “Turn the volume up” and “turn the volume down” are commonly asked. However it would be better to simply say “Alexa, turn the volume to 7” as the phonetics of the numbers is saved in the voice recognition system. Radio playback is easy as long as your remember the radio channel names but podcasts should be avoided as the Alexa has a tough time recognizing(let alone remembering) podcast titles as they tend to be lengthier.
Music? Alexa is paired with the Amazon music library and you can simply shout out a song title or even choose the songs according to your activity or mood, for example “Alexa, play soothing relaxing music”.
Keep in mind that these voice instructions are saved in the Alexa’s memory, much like your browsing history is saved in your cookies, so it is not just a way to use the equipment but also to make it easier for future reference.
Another popular aspect of the Echo is how much it can come in assistance whilst travelling. Travelling is often a chaotic procedure and it seems that the Echo was created for such times. Alexa has the ability to check flight availability and prices. You need to have an account on Kayak.com though, and once you have that you can simply describe your budget and let Alexa find the best deal of the moment for you.
It doesn’t stop there. You can also check airport security time to make sure you leave on time. Speak “Alexa, what are the wait times at JFK international” and the installed airport security skill will double check with the official airport records for the last reported waiting time and tell it to you. This is one of those commands that should be used for future usage.
Getting to the airport? Both Lyft and Uber are affiliated with Alexa and all you need to do is set up the account and payment details. Call the cab and the ride fare will automatically be deducted from the account.
Other useful commands to get your Alexa used to
You can check your daily horoscope by simply stating “Alexa, What is my horoscope for (fill in star sign) today?” or tell Alexa to “tell a bedtime fable to (insert children name)” every night. For your own relaxation the sleep and sound skill set is popular and wise to get a hang of. The set has a good collection of soothing sounds like thunderstorm or snowfall or rain that can be used daily at bed time.
Using these commands time and again will accustom the Alexa to your preferences and store it in its system for long term usage.