If you currently have one of the many devices that Alexa will work with, you likely know you can ask her to give you the weather or play your favorite song. However, there are a multitude of things that Alexa can do around your home to make your life simpler – and more fun! We have compiled the top ways to use Alexa to turn your house into a true smart home. Once you have set up your voice profile so that the virtual assistant recognizes each member of your household who will be utilizing the service, you will want to take a look at some of the skills the device is already capable of.
The skill I find myself using the most is My Chef. It is so simple to shout out to Alexa that I just ran out of tomato sauce while I am cooking so that it can be added to my grocery list. I am a forgetful person, so this is a true lifesaver. Did you know, though, that this skill can do much more than just compile your shopping list? It can track expiration dates, keep you updated as to what is in your pantry or fridge and keep you connected to recipes. There is an additional kitchen skill called Track by Nutritionix that allows you to count calories and fat intake along with other handy things to help you keep your diet and nutrition on track.
Do you constantly misplace your phone? There’s a skill for that, as well. You will not need to wait for someone else to get home so that you can call your phone from theirs. Once the feature is set up, simply have Alexa track it down for you. Your device will emit a beeping noise until you find it and turn it off. Additionally, there is a skill that will allow you to tell Alexa to save a voice note on your phone – even if you don’t have your phone near you at the time. I have done this more times than I care to admit… remember, short term memory issues. Doing this has saved my bacon more than once because I no longer forget things moments after someone gives me information I may need later.
Controlling Your Home
Alexa has many uses in your bedroom beyond setting an alarm to wake you up in the mornings. She can turn your lights off and on, lower the thermostat in the house, turn a fan off or on – or do everything at once if you program it to do so by saying “goodnight, Alexa.” If you want to hear the latest news as you are getting ready for your day, simply set your device up to cover the “Flash News” sites and types that you prefer, and then ask her “Alexa, what is my Flash Briefing today?”
You already know that you can use Alexa to listen to your Amazon playlist. Did you know, though, that you can now also use Spotify, iHeartRadio and Pandora with your device, as well? Additionally, you no longer need to log into Amazon to add something to a playlist. As you’re listening to one of your other services, simply say “Alexa, add this song to my playlist” and it is done automagically for you.
There are hundreds of skills you will want to look at, all available via the Alexa app. Obviously, some of them will require you to purchase hardware, such as if you want to be able to lock your doors or remotely monitor your home with cameras while you are away. In the market for a new appliance? Consider buying a smart refrigerator, washer/dryer combo, dishwasher, stove or air conditioning unit. Any of these things can be programmed to do various tasks using voice commands with your Alexa assistant!
One of the coolest things I have found is the Wemo Outlet made by Belkin. Anything you plug into this outlet can be turned off and on using a voice command. Try it with a fan, an electric space heater or even your laptop. This device is not powerful enough or properly equipped to allow you to control your television, for example, but it CAN turn it off and on for you.
What other ways have you been using Alexa around your home or office? We would love to hear from you in the comments. As always, if there is anything you would like us to write an article on to help you make your life easier, please don’t hesitate to let us know!