Maximize the Amazon Echo As a Vitural Home Assistant

Edited by Kunjay Vyas, Alma, Eng, Maria Quinney

Amazon Echo is one of the best Virtual Home Assistants out there in the Voice Command Assistant Device Market and has been doing good since launched.

Before proceeding further there are a few things that need to be clarified, one of the most popular misconceptions about the device is the naming:

  • Amazon Echo is the name of the Hardware of the device whereas,
  • The name of the software or so-called the "Virtual Personal Assistant" is Alexa.

Maximize the Use of Amazon Echo as a Virtual Home Assistant

All the different methods discussed in this article are based on practical experimentation and personal experience.

  1. 1
    Improve the Voice Recognition of Alexa
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    1. The Echo has seven high-quality microphones that are constantly listening for the word "Alexa" in the conversations.
    2. Is it creepy? At first, yes. Once you realize how much Alexa can do for you, that will change.
    3. To get the most out of Alexa, you will want to make sure she understands the way you speak.
    4. Improve Alexa's speech recognition capabilities by opening the Alexa app (free, IOS and Android) > Menu > Settings > Voice Training.
    5. It takes a little while (you'll need to say 25 different phrases out loud), but can pause the training at any time.
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  2. 2
    Amazon Echo has a feature that differentiates it from others, It records your voice, and those voices can be played using the app.
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    1. This feature lets its user decide that who controls the Virtual Assistant.
    2. The reason for this feature can be easily understood by an example, Consider a scenario where the user has guests visiting his or her place.  
      1. Say you have a guest staying in your apartment, or your roommate's working from home, and they start using the Echo. Whoever has access to the Alexa app that controls your Echo can listen to those requests, right from their mobile device.
      2. So it might be good to remind everyone who passes through your home that the Echo is *listening* and that, if it freaks them out, they can press the mute button (the microphone with the line through it) at any time to turn the voice listening off.
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The Most Useful Commands

  1. 1
    You can use these commands anywhere:
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    • Alexa, stop. or Alexa, cancel.
    • Alexa, help.
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  2. 2
    There are a bunch of ways to control the volume
    • Alexa, turn it down. or Alexa, softer.
    • Alexa, turn it up. or Alexa, louder.
    • Alexa, volume 2. (Choose between 0-10)
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  3. 3
    While you're listening to music, you can say:
    • Alexa, play some jazz [or any genre/artist of choice].
    • Alexa set a sleep timer for [X] minutes.
    • Alexa, pause." or "Alexa, resume.
    • Alexa, next song.
    • Alexa, loop.
    • Alexa, restart.
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  4. 4
    When you're listening to Pandora or iHeartRadio, say:
    • Alexa, I like this song. or
    • Alexa, thumbs down.
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  5. 5
    Here are some other commands frequently used:
    • Alexa, what time is it?
    • Alexa, what's the weather like in [your city + state].
    • Alexa, wake me up at 7 am.
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  6. 6
    Alexa is an amazing hands-free tool while cooking. Alexa is a great cooking/baking assistant, while your hands are covered in flour or grease, try saying:
    • Alexa set a timer for 12 minutes.
    • Alexa, how much time is left on my timer?
    • Alexa, how many cups are in a pint? (and other conversions)
    • Alexa, add potatoes to my shopping list.
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Alexa as a Daily Tasks Manager

  1. 1
    Alexa can read a custom news briefing over breakfast.
     
    1. Ask "Alexa, what's new?" or "Alexa, read me the news." to hear the day's top headlines. But first! Customize your news in Settings > under Account, select Flash Briefing. There are a variety of options to choose all kinds of hourly briefings, from sports news to NPR.
    2. You can also now get BuzzFeed News on your Amazon Echo. Turn on BuzzFeed News' flash briefing in the Alexa app to quickly catch up on the biggest stories in the world and on the internet.
    3. But to be aware, not all sources are audio programs. It's pretty jarring to hear a robot cheerfully read aloud the stories of the day.
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  • 2
    Listen to the radio, a podcast, or Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. Here are some useful commands:
    • Alexa, play NPR" and it'll play your local NPR station.
    • Alexa, play [94.9 FM or any local station] on TuneIn.
    • Alexa, play Fox Sports Radio on iHeartRadio.
    • Alexa, play comedy [or your artist of choice] station on Pandora.
    • Alexa, play the Serial podcast on TuneIn.
    • Alexa, play my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify.
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  • 3
    Alexa is also a great to-do list manager. Keep track of tasks by asking Alexa:
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  • 4
    You can view the lists from the Alexa mobile app or on desktop here. You will be prompted to login and then you will see the lists of available apps for Alexa.
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  • 5
    Add your Google Calendar and Alexa can tell what your day's like.  
    1. Turn the Echo into a personal assistant! Go to the Alexa app > Settings > under Account > Calendar to link your Google account.
    2. Ask things like "Alexa, what's on my calendar this weekend?", "Alexa, what's on my calendar Saturday?", or "Alexa, when is my next event?"
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  • 6
    Add your work address to ask Alexa about your daily commute.  
    1. Ask "Alexa, how is traffic?" or "Alexa, what's my commute?" after you've entered a frequently-visited location, like your office.
    2. In the Alexa app, go to Settings > under Account, open Traffic > add your home and work addresses.
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  • 7
    You can find information about local businesses and places to eat nearby. Alexa taps into Yelp to find restaurants and stores for you.  
    1. First, make sure your location settings are correct in the Alexa app > Settings.
    2. Under Alexa Devices, select the device name, and under Device, location enters your address.
    3. Now you can ask things like "Alexa, what burger restaurants are nearby?" and after she delivers the answer, you can ask follow-ups: "What is the phone number?," "How far is it?," or "Are they open?".
    4. Alexa, find the phone number for [name of restaurant].
    5. Alexa, find the hours for a nearby grocery store.
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  • 8
    Here, you can see your history and settings from anyplace. You can get to a rendition of the Alexa application online at Alexa's page
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  • Using Amazon Echo as an Efficient Smart Home Assistant

    1. 1
      You don't need to spend an enormous amount of cash to make an Eco-accommodating savvy home.
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    2. 2
      You can encounter the "magic of the voice-controlled brilliant home" for under $50. Truly.
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    3. 3
      All you need is a brilliant attachment. I like Belkin's Wemo Switch plug ($40) and the TP-Link Smart Plug ($35). You can connect for all intents and purposes any machine to these attachments: electric covers, hair curlers, fans, and so on. From that point onward, it's anything but complicated to set up and control your gadgets from the Smart Home area of the Alexa application.
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    4. 4
      You can put many brilliant home gadgets into an "amass," so when you say, "Alexa, turn on the family room," it'll turn on the lights, fan, *and* speaker framework.
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    5. 5
      There are, of course, other, more costly Alexa-perfect gadgets accessible, similar to the Nest Learning Thermostat ($249) or the Philips Hue knobs ($180) - yet you don't need to burn through hundreds to live later on.
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    6. 6
      You can control Spotify on the Echo from your computer or phone.  
      1. Interface your Spotify account in the Alexa application > Menu > Music and Books area to have the capacity to ask things like:  
        1. Alexa, my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify.
        2. Alexa, play Spotify to play from the latest relevant point of interest.
        3. Alexa, play traditional jazz on Spotify.
      2. One of my most loved components is having the capacity to control the Echo through the Spotify desktop or portable applications. You can confirm the Echo's volume, line melodies, or play/stop/skip remotely when the application says You are tuning in on [name of Echo].
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    7. 7
      The Echo can act as a Bluetooth speaker, too.  
      1. There are a few things that Alexa experiences difficulty finding. It may be a podcast or something from your library.
      2. You can utilize the Echo as a Bluetooth speaker by putting your gadget in Bluetooth matching mode, then say, "Alexa, combine." When you're set, you can state, "Alexa, separate."
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    Tips Tricks and Warnings

    • If your Echo starts acting up, reset it.
    • The above Methods are strictly for educational purposes and we are not responsible for any loss or damage that is caused to your device.

    References

    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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    Article Info

    Categories : Hardware | Software

    Recent edits by: Eng, Alma, Kunjay Vyas

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