If you happen to have just picked up one or more of Amazon’s Echo speakers or are looking to buy one in the upcoming sales, you may have wondered about the things that you can do once you get hold of the device. If this is the case, you have come to the right place. Read ahead to find out about some of the basic things you can do to kickstart your Smart Home experience.
Note: All of these actions will need the Alexa app on your smartphone to function.
Creating Smart Home Device Groups
If you have any Alexa compatible devices in and around your house, the first task in your plan of action should be assigning the devices in a specific room to a group. This allows you to easily control multiple devices (like bulbs, fans, AC’s and TV’s) without having to remember the individual names that you had set for them.
Creating groups would allow you to use a short phrase or only a single word along with your wake command to control what happens. If you happen to have multiple Echo devices around the house you can also add one to each group, with this your echo device will automatically understand which room you’re using and prevent things from turning off all around the house.
Routines are something that most of our lives revolve around. It allows you to set a specific phrase for actions that do more than just control gadgets from turning off or on. Routines can be triggered via motion sensors or contact pads and your voice — adding a whole new element of usage to them.
For example, you can set up the phrase “Alexa, I am heading out” to make your Echo device turn off most of the lights and turn on some ambient lights in your entryway to welcome you when you are back. A phrase like “Alexa, Goodnight” can make your device change the temperature, close your blinds and then set the alarm for the next day.
This feature adds another level of usefulness to your device with a hint of fun. It is Amazon’s built-in functionality for communication between different devices via the Echo devices.
You can call and send messages between all compatible Echo devices and the Alexa app. If you are using an Echo device with a screen, for example, the Echo Show 5, you can use the camera for video calling. If you live in the US, UK, Canada or Mexico, you can also call mobile and landline numbers.
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that as part of the setting up process for this service, you would have to add your contact list to the Alexa app.
Setting up Alexa Voice Profiles
If you happen to have more than one person at home who uses the Echo device, we recommend that you set up different Alexa Voice Profiles for each user. This feature allows your device to distinguish between who is talking to it and hence will enable it to provide answers catered to their shopping experience, play the music that is to their liking, make calls to contacts specific to them and more. Best of all, your notifications will not be read out aloud nor will they be able to make purchases on your behalf.
Setting up your Preferred Music Service
Audio playback is a huge part of the smart speaker experience, and luckily unlike the HomePod, the Echo devices do not limit to a single music streaming service; you can use the Alexa app to link your account from your service of choice and play music from a library that you spent a lot of time building. The Echo devices have support for Spotify, Saavn, among other services.
Setting up devices for Stereo Sound
Now, if you happen to have more than one Echo device (of the same model) in your household, you can go into the devices section of the Alexa app and create a custom speaker set to allow the devices to play music with separation. This means you get a stereo sound-like experience with a proper partition between the left and right channels, adding a whole new level to your music listening experience with the Echo devices.
This is a software feature of the Echo speakers which makes them stand out in the smart speaker market. Alexa Skills make your device even more versatile. Just like Google Home or you HomePod, Amazon’s device can bring up essential information from your calendar, set reminders and play music, but in addition, it can also use applications developed by different developers to perform more than just simple tasks.
The skills developed for Alliance Insurance users is an example of this as with this skill on your device you can ask Alexa to look into your insurance information and provide it at a moments notice saving you the hassle of going to look for it. Amazon has a dedicated store for Alexa Skills, and it has more than 20,000 available, and it will be totally worth your while to check out and explore.