The combination of Amazon Echo Plus (the smart speaker) and Alexa (The Cloud based AI assistant), make a killer combination. It is the time when internet of things is an up and coming trend in technology and everybody dreams of having a smart home where the basic tasks can be accomplished by just voice commands.
As Neil Smith states on his website, the Amazon Echo Plus helps you do just that and much more. It is a perfect smart home device that helps the user in completing day to day tasks, getting information, playing music and what not. Echo Plus includes also a ZigBee hub (just like the Wink Hub or SmartThings) for better control of devices and wifi connectivity.
Today we are going to discuss some tips and tricks that will make your experience with Alexa and the Echo Plus device worthwhile.
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Changing the wake-up call
If your name is Alexa and you have an Alexa Amazon Echo Plus device, we really understand the pain you must be going through at home. Also if your name is not Alexa but are just fed up of saying Alexa every time to get things done then you can change the wake-up call for the Echo device. Although you cannot add the Wake-up keyword of your own choice, however you can choose between Amazon, Computer, Echo or Alexa. The changes can be made using the Alexa App:
- Go to settings
- Choose your device
- Click on the Wake Word option
- Now select the desired wake word
Do quick math problems and conversions
The main aim of such devices is that your smartphone usage is decreased as much as possible. So if you are cooking and need conversion between units of mass just say “Alexa, ounce to gram” or if you want to solve some math problems just ask it, “Alexa,17 times 65” and you’ll get the answer in a fraction of seconds.
Make Different Profiles
If you have a single Echo Plus device at home used by multiple users then you can make different profiles for each user. To add the account:
- Open Alexa App
- Tap on menu (Top – left corner)
- Go to settings and select manage Amazon Household under the account heading
- Follow the directions and you can add a new user, provided that the user has an Amazon Account.
The benefit of this is great as you can share content libraries, music etc. The downfall? If someone else’s profile is in use and you order a product using Alexa then the amount will be deducted from the profile owner’s credit/debit card, so you may want to add passwords in such case.
You can ask Alexa as to what profile is currently in use by saying, “Alexa, what profile is this”, the profiles can also be switched by the command, “Alexa, Switch Profiles”.
By setting up a Voice profile, Alexa will be able to distinguish as to who is issuing the command and therefore provide personalized results like your own taste of music and dates from your personalized calendars.
To create a voice profile either you can ask Alexa to “learn your voice” and then follow the instructions given by device or you can:
- Open Alexa App
- Go to menu, then settings
- Go to accounts
- Select Your Voice option and select Begin
- Select the device you interact with and then select Next
- Say the phrase that is given on screen, loud enough for the microphone to receive it. Select Next for the next phrase or try again for the same phrase.
- Select complete when you are done and you might see a confirmation message on the screen.
You can ask Alexa, “Who am I?” just for the confirmation that the device has recognized your voice.
Delete Voice Recordings
Amazon stores all the voice commands you said as recordings on its server for improved service and quality of answers. If you want any of the recording to be deleted from the history just:
- Open the Alexa App
- Go to settings , then History
- The list of voice commands will be displayed, you can hear the commands or delete them individually.
To delete the complete history all at once, visit the Amazon Connect and Devices Website, select the “your devices” tab and then go to “manage voice recordings” and delete everything.
You can now create routines in Alexa. Routines is a new feature that allows you to perform multiple tasks with single command.
For example you can create a routine with the phrase “Good Morning” that will switch on the geyser, Coffee Machine, increase the thermostat temperature and read you the morning news.
With this feature being further developed in the future I might finally achieve my dream of having a JARVIS, from the MCU, in my life. To add routines:
- Go to the Alexa App.
- Open Settings.
- Tap on Accounts, then Routines.
- Click on the plus sign on the upper-right corner.
- Click on “When this happens”, here you can add a command or a particular time when you want an action to be performed.
- Next thing is to add an action, telling Alexa, what needs to be done when said a particular phrase or at a particular time.
Music Streaming on All Echo Devices Simultaneously
If you have more than one Echo Plus speakers you can make the same song play on every device. To achieve that you would have to create an Audio Group in the Alexa App and say “Alexa, play Perfect by Ed Sheeran on (Name of group)”
Adding Skills to Alexa with Just Voice Commands
Skills are a very important factor when it comes to Echo devices operating on Alexa. In the early days, to add skills in your Alexa you would have to go through a clunky process of Browsing and searching, but now it’s much more easier as you just have to say, “Alexa, Enable (Name of skill)” and after a few seconds the skill will be activated and you can enjoy it without any additional effort.
Your Amazon Echo Plus device has many uses like calling, messaging, booking a cab, ordering food and what not, but somewhere some one thought, “Hey, why not make it a Night Light?”, that thought made the feature possible using third party skill where the light ring can be used as a night light by just saying, “Alexa, open night light for 1 hour.”
The possibilities are endless when you have a never ending list of skills and a dedicated team of researchers that are making new developments each day. The future of technology is really bright so let’s wait for that future while enjoying the present.
Mr. Neil Smith is a tech savvy blogger and an entrepreneur. He is the founder of Alexa Echo Help, a company that provides people with easy and effective solutions for any Amazon device related problems at cost effective prices. Being an electronics engineer he is well aware of the internal workings of the Amazon Echo devices and is the right person to call for any related issues.