Since its release the Amazon Echo and Alexa have taken the world by storm. It’s estimated that over 5 million Echo’s have been sold. If you’ve been living under a rock, Alexa is a virtual personal assistant which is built into the Echo speaker and Echo Dot. Think Jarvis in Iron Man. Alexa is capable of controlling your smart home devices, allowing you to turn the heating on or dim the lights with voice control whilst also adding things to your Amazon basket at your spoken command. The beauty of Alexa is she is always getting smarter and tailor’s her responses to you as she integrates herself into your life. With over 4,000 different commands already possible through Alexa it’s crazy to think where the device might be in a few years. Here’s a list of things that Alexa can do which you might not know.
Alexa’s primary aim is to be a music streamer. You can ask her to stream any band, song or playlist from either Amazon Music, Spotify or Pandora for you. For example, “Alexa, play me a song by the Chemical Brothers”
Since the U.K. voted to leave the Europe Union the pound has been fluctuating almost hourly! You can get accurate and up-to-date exchange rates from Alexa by simply asking Alexa, how many pounds is 1 US Dollar. The service currently has 10 currencies available for conversion but expect this list to grow as Alexa gets smarter.
Order an Uber
Ordering a taxi just got a whole lot easier. If you have Uber installed all you need to do now is simply ask Alexa to order you a taxi. You can even ask Alexa for updates on your driver’s progress and she will let you know once it arrives! Magic.
Writing a shopping list can be a nightmare. There is always something you miss and remember later. Alexa eliminates this problem. Simply ask her to add the missing item to your shopping list. "Alexa add Yorkshire Tea to my shopping list" You also won’t have to write down the list or remember to take a paper list to the shops as it will appear in the Alexa app on your phone.
Alexa is capable of giving you weather updates. By saying “Alexa, weather update” she will provide you with a weather update for your current location. You can also ask for weather updates in different places and for a 3-7 day forecast. For those who simply want to know if it’s going to rain tomorrow you can ask Alexa if you’ll need an umbrella tomorrow.
Read a Wiki Article
If you’re looking for some basic information around something or someone you can ask Alexa to read you Wikipedia entries. The voice command "Alexa, read me a Wikipedia entry about (chosen person or event)" will instruct Alexa to real off the information you require.
Timers and Alarms
You can get Alexa to set an alarm for you as a one off or a recurring alarm. Simply speak the command "Alexa set an alarm for 7.30am every week day" to enable week morning wake ups.
You can also set timers. These are ideal for cooking or home workouts. Alexa will let you know once the timer has begun and an alarm will sound at the end of your timer. Ideal whether you want to time 40 seconds of crunches or alert you when your dinner is ready to be taken out of the oven.
Ask Jamie Oliver
Probably one of our favourite features that Alexa currently offers. Stuck for dinner inspiration? You can ask Jamie to find you a recipe by main ingredient. For example “Alexa, ask Jamie to find me a chicken recipe.” Alexa will then comeback with a recipe. If you are happy with the recipe Alexa will email it to you along with instructions and ingredients list so you can follow as you cook. Alexa will also provide you with voice assistance during the recipe if you forget measurements or cooking temperatures.
Commuting & National Rail
Commuting can be an absolute nightmare. Alexa thankfully can make it easier. In the app input where you work and Alexa will be able to give you real-time traffic reports for your journey whilst making suggestions about which route to take. Similarly she can also give you tube and rail service information.
You can also ask National Rail to plan you a journey if you’re heading somewhere new. Alexa will provide you with the quickest route whilst providing journey times and costs.
Play the Radio or Read me a story
Whether you have the Echo or the Echo Dot you can ask Alexa to play the radio. Thanks to her partnership with TuneIn you can get Alexa to play you almost any radio station anywhere in the world. Simply ask “Alexa, play me BBC Radio One” Great if you are getting ready in the morning or having a spring clean.
Similarly if you are a Kindle user you can get Alexa to read you a story. Ideal if you’re too tired to focus your eyes on the words but not quite ready to put the book down just yet!