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What is Alexa and how to use Alexa virtual assistant

You’ve probably heard the name ‘Alexa’, regardless of whether you own an Amazon device or not.  If you got a question, you call the name out if you have an Echo device or speakers that are Alexa-enabled.  Google has its own virtual assistant, Apple got its Siri. Now Amazon brings its own virtual assistant Alexa to ease your life up. This virtual assistant of Amazon is a female voice that talks to you in a conversational manner. It is always ready to be at your service with many things. Several company products got Alexa integrated with them and Alexa is now finding its way to third-party devices like Sonos One speaker and GE lamps. From playing your favorite tracks, Alexa can perform a variety of simple tasks in your smart home to dim lights, lock the doors, adjust the thermostat and control other smart home devices.

Today, we are going to shed some knowledge on Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa. So if you’re searching for this topic, the article is for you.

 

WHAT IS ALEXA?

Most people take Alexa as the name of the voice that comes out of the Alexa-enabled speakers.  Basically, Alexa is the same thing to Amazon what ‘Siri’ is to Apple.  If you are wondering and question Alexa like ‘what is the weather today in Chicago?’ you can do so. Alexa will understand your question and reply accordingly.  When you are asking Alexa a question, you are actually communicating with a cloud-based service.  Alexa Voice service has been designed by Amazon to mimic real conversation. To get this service to perform specific tasks, however, you are actually using intuitive voice commands.

Alexa images

HOW TO USE ALEXA?

Using Amazon Alexa on a smart speaker will give you a soothing breeze-like feeling. You can get the attention of Alexa by using a wake of a word of choice like Alexa, Echo, Amazon or Computer. If you want to change the wake word, you can do so by simply going to the Alexa app. You gotta click Menu and then go to the Alexa Devices. If you press it, you will find the Wake Word option. Just simply say the wake word that is followed by a command, to use Alexa on a smart speaker.

For example, you can say, ‘Alexa, tell me what the weather is like.’

You may need to push a button to wake some devices like the Amazon Tap, so this means, they are not completely hands-free. Amazon Alexa experience on smartphones isn’t quite as good as on smart speakers if you want our opinion.  You have to launch the app manually as the digital assistant doesn’t support wake words. Then you gotta tap the blue button in the bottom bar so that you can use it. Compared to Google Assistant, it also offers way less.

Bear in mind, you won’t be able to play Youtube videos by using Amazon Alexa on Android.

But hey, there’s no room for disappointments. Surely, you can check the weather, you can get answers to your random questions, and you can also check your appointments on the calendar. Even, you can control Alexa-compatible smart devices in your smart home. However, if you want to do basic things like launching an app like YouTube, perform Google searches, or create reminders on Android, then Amazon Alexa is not for you.

You’ll get the same feedback if you use Alexa on any other gadget like a camera or media streaming device.  To get the device’s attention and then boss it around with your various commands, you can use a wake word or press a button dedicated to it. You should keep in your mind that not every device supports all feature.

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ALEXA-POWERED DEVICES

Alexa’s most powered devices are Amazon’s Echo smart speakers. Non-Amazon smart speakers like Sonos and Ultimate Ears are also available brands. Alexa can also be united with Amazon’s Fire tablets and media streaming devices that can turn your dumb Tv into a smart one.

Alexa also comes as pre-installed versions on smartphones like Huawei Mate 9 but using any handset with Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher, you can download it from the Play Store. Devices like Ecobee4 smart thermostat and the Echo Look camera are other Alexa-powered devices.

AMAZON ALEXA SKILLS

Amazon Alexa shines for its skills. New functionality to Alexa comes from third-party apps. If you want then you can enable the Kayak skill in Alexa to check the flight prices. You have to simply say ‘Alexa, ask Kayak how much it costs to fly from New York to Boston.’  Using your voice command, you can also track a flight and book a hotel, and many more.

In the Alexa app, you can browse and enable Skills, if you want to do so. Go to the Menu option and then click the Skills and Games option. Though they offer premium features, more than 30000 skills are available and they are all free.

Related: What is Siri and how does it work on your command

AMAZON ALEXA AND SMART HOME PRODUCTS

Amazon Alexa can control compatible smart devices in your home just like the Google Assistant.  You can function your lights, thermostats, and cameras and a lot more.  All Amazon’s smart speakers let you control smart devices by using your voice command, but Echo Plus is the only thing that has a built-in hub. It uses the built-in hub so that it can communicate directly with a smart device without the need for a separate hub.

Though it’s not perfect, it works fine. However, you can’t use advanced options like scenes and custom colors if you connect it with Philips Hue. If you want to connect your smart devices Amazon’s digital assistant, you need to launch the Alexa app and enable the Skills for all smart products that are available in your home. You need to open the menu and then select Skills and Games. On the top, you’ll find a search box that can be used to find the Skills you are searching for. After you have enabled them, you need to select Add Device in the Smart Home section of the Alexa app. If you think its a hassle, you can just say ‘Alexa, discover my devices.’

Now all you need to do is to follow the on-screen instructions to get things right and running. There’s a ‘work with Alexa’ badge with smart home products that are compatible with Amazon’s digital assistant.  This means that, with voice commands, you can’t control them directly like products that have a built-in assistant. But through smart speakers or the Alexa app on your phone, it is easy to control them.

Related: What is Google Assistant- Everything you should know

You need to open the menu and then select Skills and Games. On the top, you’ll find a search box that can be used to find the Skills you are searching for. After you have enabled them, you need to select Add Device in the Smart Home section of the Alexa app. If you think it’s a hassle, you can just say ‘Alexa, discover my devices.’

Now all you need to do is to follow the on-screen instructions to get things right and running.

There’s a ‘work with Alexa’ badge with smart home products that are compatible with Amazon’s digital assistant.  This means that, with voice commands, you can’t control them directly like products that have built-in assistant. But through smart speakers or the Alexa app on your phone, it is easy to control them.

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