weekly blog--one for the ages
Meet Alexa, Amazon’s digital voice assistant who rests inside one of the company’s cylindrical tabletop smart speaker devices such as Echo, Dot and Tap. I have not yet ventured forth to buy one or its Google Home equal, but it’s easy to see how important such a device will become for anyone who wants to successfully age in place.
In the kitchen, you can ask Alexa to set a timer or convert ounces to cups. If you’re planning what to make for dinner and notice that you are out of something, you can ask Alexa to add it to your shopping list. If you have previously bought an item such as paper towels from Amazon Prime, you can re-order it by simply saying, “Alexa, reorder the paper towels.” Alexa’s Food Network skill provides access to an extensive library of recipes. You can ask Alexa a series of questions to help decide what’s appropriate for dinner. If you own a GE Wi-Fi Connect appliance, Alexa’s Geneva skill enables you to control these devices with your voice. For example, you can ask Geneva to preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or if you mess up while cooking, there is a skill to help you order take-out food.
In the bedroom, Alexa will turn off lights and lower the thermostat for Alexa-compatible devices. She can set your alarm clock to wake up, and once it goes off, you can ask her for traffic, weather and a news brief, find out what is on your Google or Outlook calendar, and if you are running late, call for an Uber pickup.
In the living room, Alexa can play anything available on Amazon Music and other services such as iHeartRadio, Spotify and Pandora, as well as read audio books from a Kindle account. Additionally, if you ask nicely Alexa can track your favorite sports teams, locate a misplaced smart phone, and hookup with a host of third-party developers creating skills for games such as Bingo, quizzes and fitness routines. Say something naughty? Don’t be alarmed--there is an easy way to delete individual recordings.