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Amazon Echo: My Smart Home Beginning

Smart home living starts with a central device such as the Amazon Alexa family of devices. In our house it all started with the Amazon Echo.

It took our family a week or so to warm up to the idea that we had added another person (ok, virtual personal assistant) to our home. We might use Alexa’s name just as much as the other kids, and dogs, in our household on a daily basis. We’ve had Alexa (via Amazon Echo) in our house for a little over a year now and we consider her a part of the family – and a very useful one at that.

In the beginning we just asked Alexa basic questions. She knew most of which we asked her, only a little came back without an answer.

“What’s the weather today?”

“How many days until Christmas?”

“What’s 144 divided by 12?”

“Set a timer for 10 minutes” – Very useful for a cooking companion. When Alexa is not setting timers for food prep she can play some Jazz music as you’re having a glass of wine. 🙂

Favorites of the kids are…”Alexa, tell me a joke” or when they wake up each morning, “Alexa, good morning”. Depending on the day, Alexa will give you some great information…try it. Alexa is also great for setting morning alarms for kids or anyone else for that matter. “Alexa, set an alarm for 7am tomorrow morning”.

Echo (2nd Generation) – Charcoal Fabric: Click to Buy

As we’ve grown with Alexa (both in our living & sleeping areas) we are finding that she can perform some very useful functions that have certainly made life a bit easier. In the kitchen, we are now asking Alexa “Alexa, set a timer for 25 minutes” when cooking food or spending time practicing our school music instruments.

We are also asking Alexa to play a certain kind of music or radio station when we are sitting around playing a family game or cooking & eating dinner. Dad prefers listening to Jazz (“Alexa, play some Jazz”) when cooking and the kids prefer Top 40 music. As we moved on to bigger and better things with Echo, we then added Wi-Fi LED bulbs in the house. We could now tell Alexa to turn on and off certain lights in the house and even change the color of some of the lights with ambiance bulbs.

We’re just scratching the surface here with Alexa and we know it.

To be continued…

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