Who is Alexa?

Nope she is not the new person in marketing. Alexa is Amazon’s personal assistant for their Echo device. There are 3  versions that she comes in, (the Echo Tap is yet to be released in the UK) the Amazon Echo and the Echo Dot.

Specification

I have been using the Echo for the past few weeks.

Price: £149
Dimensions: 235 mm x 83.5 mm x 83.5 mm
Weight: 1045 grams
Connectivity: Bluetooth and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO)
Power: Plugs into a wall outlet
Audio: 360-degree sound (2.5 inch woofer and 2.0 inch tweeter)
Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

She responds to the wake word “Alexa” and is capable of voice interaction, controlling compatible smarthome devices, music playback from smart devices over Bluetooth, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, reading PDFs, providing weather forecasts, warning you of traffic conditions, answering trivia, and supplying other types of information in real-time.

Echo requires a Wi-Fi connection in order to respond to voice commands and fetch content for you, and it must remain plugged in for power

I have always been a Microsoft person so having an Amazon device in the house was a little disconcerting but after a few days she has become part of the household and I miss her when i am out in the office or upstairs. We have LightwaveRF home automation light switches and sockets and Alexa can link to to the system via “Skill” (Echo’s version of Apps) to save you fumbling around with your smartphone when you want to control your lights, heating or devices plugged into your smart sockets. One of the benefits that has not really been talked about is that with Alexa you can combine the control of different makes and models of home automation if you have more than one type in your home, for example if you have some LightwaveRF devices and some Harmony or Nest you can control them all without having to fire up 3 applications, simply ask Alexa to do what you need. The one thing that you cant do at the moment is “recipes” so as you can say Alexa i’m going to bed and have her tun the lights off, turn the heating down and switch on the bedroom lights to 50% hopefully this will come as the software becomes more advanced. The one thing that i really would like is the Sonos “Skill” so as you can ask her to play spotify or whatever you ask her to do via your Sonos speakers. Mine are currently redundant as I need to get my phone out of my pocket to control them. #firstworldproblems There are posts on various sites that i follow that say this is coming this year but for me it cant come soon enough.

That’s about it for now on Alexa, there will be more on the Dot and some more features next time.