So the first series I am going to write about is the Amazon Echo more commonly known as Alexa. This was recently inspired by a friend of mine that purchased a new home and wanted to have Alexa play music and other fun features throughout her house! So let’s begin!
First off, I have to say there was only one reason I bought this almost immediately when it came out, and that is simply because I am a tech junky! This was the first actual AI like personal assistant for the house and I NEEDED it! So I bought it, and made sure to show off some of its fun features whenever guests came over. But sadly, like all of my fancy tech toys, I eventually got bored and moved on to my newest tech obsession.
Then during my Graduate work at Syracuse University I was given an assignment to present a piece of assistive technology that can help people with disabilities. After many hours of research, and finding nothing that really seemed to fit. I proposed to my professor I present my Echo and really learn what some of the functions the Echo could preform. I completed this assignment almost 2 years ago, and I was amazed at some of the tools the Echo had available. I was able to not only access my music, news, and timer which I use all the time, but there was so much more!
I was able to connect it to my phone, have it read emails and text messages, play my audiobooks through Audible, and so much more. This does not include the variety of games that it can play, and all of the other “fun” skills that the Alexa app has. I did not play with these too much because my project was on assistive technology, but needless to say I was impressed.
The most amazing part about the Echo is that I really only scratched the surface 2 years ago, and Amazon has made numerous updates to the Echo since! My favorite feature currently is the “Drop In” feature which allows me to communicate with someone in the downstairs without having to scream throughout the house. I have also used this as a baby monitor (when my normal one was temporarily broke).
Not only has there been a number of updates to the software of the Echo, but there have been additions to the Echo family! There is the original Echo, the Echo Dot, the Echo Dot Kids Addition, the Echo Plus, the Echo Look, and the Echo Spot, and the Echo Show. The Echo Show, and the Echo Dot both have video screens and allow for video calling. All of these devices connect to a number of Smart Home devices like the Ring Video Doorbell, Wifi Smart Plugs, Smart Lightbulbs, Home Security Cameras, the Nest Thermostat, and so much more. Currently I am making plans on turning my home into a Smart Home, with my Echo being the center of it all!
If you are interested in any of these devices feel free to click on the hyperlinked words, or check out the links below. My next 2 Echo investments are going to be the Echo Show, and the Nest Thermostat! These will be an exciting addition to my Echo and Echo Dot’s! Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment on any products you would like me to discuss here.