Widgets Magazine

A Week with Alexa

I did it. I finally did it. After several colleagues and friends encouraging me to do so, I did it. I purchased an Amazon Echo.
Upon opening the package I expected some amount of instructions or documentation. What was inside was the simplest of directions; download the Alexa App. Once that was completed the world of Alexa opened up.
It took all of five minutes to plug in the Echo, download the app, and begin interacting with the device. Amazon has found the ease and simplicity of an Apple device with the Echo. I have had Amazon Fire tablets as well as Kindles. This was the best user experience for a product developed by Amazon.
The voice recognition is quite good. The Alexa voice is pleasant to interact with, which is something I think is important. You don’t want to talk with someone who grates on your nerves. There are two things that really make this device one of the best pieces of home tech I have purchased; Skills and my kids.
Skills are the various tasks or functionalities of the Echo. This is where you can enable the Echo to search for PGA leaderboard, get an Uber ride, or turn down the Nest thermostat. That is where my excitement really hit. After only a day’s worth of use I could see this as a first foray into voice control for the home AV market. If you are a control company and you aren’t working with Amazon, I think you’re making a mistake. It has huge potential.
Seeing my kids interact with Alexa was the true wow factor. Without any instruction, or prompting really, my 10 and 8 year olds were interacting with this device as seamlessly as if you had handed them a Lego set or pencil and paper. They play music, ask Alexa questions, have it read them Harry Potter books through Audible, or other various skills.
After only a week I have found myself using the grocery list task, checking weather, playing music, and all sorts of actions. It really has been one of the best pieces of tech I have purchased for my home and I would highly recommend it for any AV professional who wants a cool new tech tool but also wants to see the future of control and automation.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

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