Tips & Tricks: Alexa – Amazing Skills

The age of the connected house is well and truly upon us. When Ikea and global telecoms providers start to produce connected light bulbs and smart tables, you know that connectivity isn’t going to leave us anytime soon.

2nd Generation Amazon Echo: In Heather Grey Fabric (Hopefully coming to Australia officially soon)

I’m a quintessential early adopter, I have unashamedly queued for the latest technology, and regularly I get my Mum to ship new tech to me if it’s available in the UK before it comes available here. So when I first heard about Alexa, I was keen to get her set up in my very connected home.

I’ve tested in a home environment; Amazon Echo (the home of Alexa), Echo Dot (a smaller version of Echo) and Google Home. I’m yet to test Apple’s Homepods in the real world, although I’m keen to see how Siri fares running my house; to date, I’m a little disappointed with the HomeKit connected system, I think it’s the least intuitive of all the connected hubs. Hopefully, voice and Siri will be the missing link in this chain.

Here’s what Alexa controls or is connected to in our house:

LIFX — Connected light globes with schedules, alarms and millions of colors
Sonos — Music in every room, plug-and-play (Alexa integrated speaker)
Flic — Bluetooth Buttons with lots of functionality (via IFTTT)
Arlo — Battery powered wifi cameras, pop them anywhere you can imagine
Sensibo — Controls our Air Conditioning via IR
Samsung Smart Things — Motion & Door Sensors
Tile — GPS sticky tags, don’t lose anything again

There are heaps more skills that I haven’t yet activated because I was trying to ease us into the experience. By far my favorites to date are Sonos and LIFX (with Smart Things) We have Alexa in every room on our house (via the great value Echo Dot), so we feel the convenience of a connected life. The ability to tell Alexa to play your favorite playlist on Sonos is massive for me because I find the Sonos app experience lackluster at best.

The next items that I’m going to connect are our garage doors and our roller blinds. That will lead to a whole new level of connectivity. Christmas this year in our house will be a smackdown between, Alexa and Siri. I’ll keep you posted on who the winner is! I’d be keen to hear if you have Alexa and how you use her to make life a little easier.

PS. Amazon didn't pay me to write this article, I just think Alexa is currently a market leading product.

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