Amazon Echo Powered by Alexa - Niche Features You Need to Know to Use
The Echo branded products from Amazon powered by Alexa, the AI assistant, is undergoing steady growth.
The Echo branded products from Amazon powered by Alexa, the AI assistant, is undergoing steady growth. Though Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant are more widely embraced and acknowledged for their respective prowess, Alexa is perhaps unexplored. In this post, I would discuss about the latent capabilities Alexa possesses which you can use to organize your daily activities to a substantial extent. And while the firm’s AI companion isn’t believed to be as technically versatile as the Google Assistant, it still supports a broad range of niche features and capabilities that can help streamline your everyday life to a significant degree. I personally feel that many of the features have never been brought out in the open, so users are actually not aware of those useful, yet not-talked-about functionalities. In fact Amazon Echo is an excellent addition to any smart home. It not only makes controlling your other smart devices fun to use, it makes it controlling them easier. Alexa's handy abilities even reach outside your home, helping locate where you parked, telling you how much fuel is in your car's tank and letting you order your favorite takeaway.
Book a Cab Service
Did you know you can use Amazon Echo to call an Uber or a Lyft Cab Service? All you need to do is simply download the skill of your preferred Cab service provider and ask Alexa to “call a Lyft/Uber”. Doing so will automatically send notification to update your driver about your location. Don’t you think this is the most convenient and easiest way of booking a cab service? The convenience also doesn’t stop with cars.
Book a Hotel, Plan a Trip
Kayak is the first online travel player to let shoppers book hotels via Amazon’s Echo smart speakers. While the concept has promise, its price comparison process still has to improve before it becomes useful to the average traveler. But considering how skills from travel companies like Kayak enable you to book hotels and even plan your trips, it’s amazing. In this case, if you tell Alexa to for example “ask Kayak which Hotel in Brazil I can stay for USD 5,000” or “ask Kayak to book a flight to Switzerland”, you will get numerous results. Yet there is huge scope to enhance the user experience. To complete a booking, earlier a user had to re-do the search via kayak.com and hope to find a matching result. Now Kayak has a stopgap fix. Its Alexa tool pulls inventory for hotels worldwide that offer free cancellation, Kayak says. The Kayak tool sources hotels from two launch partners — Booking.com and Priceline.com — who, like Kayak, are two sister brands of the Priceline Group-owned company. In the same way, you’re able to plan and order cruise trips with your Amazon Echo smart speaker.
Setup Music Alarms
On December 11, 2017, Amazon announced that Alexa has been updated to include support for music alarms. The new music alarm feature is available on Amazon Echos or any Alexa device.
While you may be knowing that you can tell Alexa to set up single or multiple alarms, note that this particular functionality also supports your favorite number. So instead of just asking Alexa to set an alarm for you, you’ll be able to request specific songs, playlists, artists, or genres to get you started in the morning. The new feature supports a variety of music services to use as alarm tones, including Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, SiriusXM, and iHeartRadio. You’ll be able to request songs in the same way that you can for regular playback, meaning that requests as specific as “Alexa, wake me up at 6AM to Shakira,” or as vague as “Alexa, wake me up to Spanish songs at 6AM” will all work.
Not just All Work, but Play Too
Talking about entertainment, Alexa also supports various voice-enabled games. If you just ask it to “open Jeopardy” or “Heads Up” to keep yourself occupied for a few minutes, you will be surprised with the results. Alexa can be an excellent game master, few of its game selection also supports multiplayer, making Echo speakers suitable choices for casually socializing with friends.
Deep Dive into Food Delivery
After the acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon is taking fresh steps to disrupt the food industry. While it may not be as good for your wallet or your waistline as Amazon’s recent purchase, it’ll certainly be great for your hunger pangs. Thanks to a new partnership with Olo, a company focused on digital orders, you could get Shake Shack, Chipotle, and your other favorite fast foods delivered to your doorstep. Did you know, Alexa can help you stick to your diet regime, whether by dictating the number of calories found in certain food or entertaining you with funny quotes supported by the “Talk Me Down” skill? To learn more, ask Alexa to list its “top food delivery skills.”
Feed your Pets
Amazon Echo can even facilitate the process of feeding your pets as it’s integrated into smart feeders such as Petnet and Furbo. You can also create your own Alexa-enabled pet feeders using a Raspberry Pi, with all assets allowing you to do so being available online. The smart assistant will tell you how many hours back you fed your pet, if you need to feed now, etc., bringing you contentment and keeping your pets healthy.
Miscellaneous Uses of Amazon Echo
If some of your friends or family members also use one or more Echo devices, you’re able to quickly connect with them using Amazon’s Calling & Messaging feature, as long as both of you have the feature enabled under the “My Profile” section of the Amazon app for Android and iOS devices.
Finally, Alexa has the capability to read bedtime stories to your kids and has multiple skills that allow it to do so. Simply ask your smart speaker to download the “StoryTime” or “Short Bedtime Story” skill and ask it about its content library before deciding on the story you want it to read. What’s more, you can even write your own stories and have the companion read them. If you want to explore other features of Amazon Echo, just ask to list its “top skills” or “most popular skills” and the assistant will provide you with a bunch of options. You can even fine tune your queries by asking “most widely used gaming skills” or “most popular diet skills”, choice is yours.