By Jordan Wills, Cloud9 Smarthome
There’s a common thread with Amazon Echo users: They use it every day. It turns out that for all of its foibles (Did tomatoes or potatoes just get added to my shopping list?), once you get to know each other, Alexa integrates itself into your daily routine in a highly addictive way. The capabilities of hands-free voice control are growing every month, but what it can already do is pretty fantastic.
Here are 9 ways this trendy new technology can improve your life:
Master Your Music
Spotify is the latest on the list of services that stream natively with Echo, which includes Pandora, TuneIn Radio, and iHeartRadio. Order up songs, genres, playlists, pause, and adjust volume… You can even keep a Google spreadsheet of the songs you listen to on Echo. Are you a big reader? Pick up where you left off on your latest audiobook.
Sure, Amazon wants to make it as easy as possible to order from Amazon, but keeping any sort of shopping or to-do list has never been easier. With IFTTT recipes Echo can send your shopping list to your phone, or automatically sync to-dos with your Calendar or Evernote account.
Start Your Day
Wake up like a boss by asking your assistant for the weather, traffic, and schedule for the day. You can even ask when the next L train is coming.
Plan Date Night
Get movie show times and restaurant recommendations based on Yelp reviews. Business hours can be recited as well. Another opportunity to skip whipping out and staring at your phone.
Order an Uber
Echo will now inform you of the closest UberX driver. Once you confirm your ride your phone syncs, and you can keep bugging Alexa for an ETA.
Echo is an incredibly handy way to set timers and calculate conversions while your hands are full. You can even order your saved favorites from Domino’s Pizza.
Control Your Home
Change the color of your Philips Hue lights, adjust the temperature of your Nest thermostat, or control any other WeMo, Wink, or Insteon smart home device. Just utter your wishes and your house can be ready for any occasion. And when it’s time to hit the sack, you can simply tell Alexa to lower the temperature, turn off the lights, and lock the doors as you sink into bed.
Two of the newest players to add Echo compatibility to the products are Lutron and Big Ass Fans. Light fixtures managed by Lutron’s Caseta Wireless lighting control system can now be controlled by voice, as can Big Ass Fans line of Haiku ceiling fans.
Get the Facts
Echo can read Wikipedia entries to your heart’s content, deliver dictionary definitions, and execute simple math. It can also read sports scores.
Find Your Phone
No need to fall into an existential panic. With an IFTTT recipe, you can ask Alexa and it will call your phone within seconds. Let’s just hope you left the ringer on.