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AI (artificial intelligence) is moving in on the homefront. And at the head of the pack is Amazon’s Echo with its assistant, Alexa. Echo comes in 3 options: a minimal hockey-puck-shaped device, a sleek tube in fashionable shades that make it a natural addition to your home decor, and a square-shaped device with a video screen, camera and mic capabilities.
Many are eager to bring home Alexa and make it the newest addition to their home but are left wondering what exactly does it do?
First, you need to teach Alexa which commands to recognize and perform. These commands are called “skills” And there is a whole library jam-packed with them. So where to start?
Create a Flash Briefing. Create your own daily update feed with the Flash Briefing option. You choose which sources you want Alexa to pull from and which time to report in. Get the weather, news and other updated while you get ready every day.
Use as an alarm in the morning - wake up to music, a radio station, the news, etc. If it’s available via Amazon Music it’s fair game.
Order a ride via Lyft or Uber. You can ask how much the trip will be and have it automatically billed to your account. Speed up getting ready to go out by coordinating your ride while you put on your final touches.
With multiple devices, you can sync music to play throughout your house. The app allows you to group all of your devices together into one cohesive house-wide system. Whether you want to listen to music, the news, a podcast or an audible book you can hear it no matter where you go - perfect for cleaning days.
Order pizza from Domino’s or Pizza Hut. Who doesn’t want pizza to arrive at their beck and call?
Tune your guitar. With this skill, Alexa plays a song for you to match and listens in until you match up perfectly. Which means you don’t need another device, app or website to keep track of.
Sync up to your Fitbit to ask for updates on your latest activity and step progress for the day. In fact, you can even get more steps in while you ask since you don’t have to sit down at the computer.
With a Wemo Smart Plug, you can enable Alexa to turn devices on and off with a simple voice command. And with their light switches, you can turn lights on, off and change the brightness to match your mood.
If you have a Hyundai, Mercedes or Ford with the right capabilities you can have Alexa start your car for you. Giving you five more minutes to grab breakfast for once.
Meditate with the Stop, Breathe, & Think meditation skill for Alexa. Just say how long you want to meditate for and settle in to clear your mind. Who said technology keeps us distracted?
And then there is always the option to ask Alexa which skills to enable. So meta!