Tech we Love - Alexa

Tech we Love - Alexa via @stitchesandpress

Aaron loves all things home automation and is always coming up with ways to make our smart home even smarter. Most recently, he has been trying out different ways to control things using voice commands. At first, the system required some pretty lengthy commands to do anything and was sufficiently complicated that I typically opted for the old fashioned way: using my hands to actually press a button on our remote or flip a light switch. Needless to say, I wasn’t sold on the the whole voice thing and, until recently, I honestly didn’t think I ever would be. That all changed when we got our Amazon Echo.

If you’re not familiar, Echo is Amazon’s bluetooth speaker that let’s you access their Alexa Voice Service. You can ask it about the weather or request the latest news updates from NPR, which is cool, but it also let’s you control your smart home gadgets and that’s my favorite part because the commands are simple and it works seamlessly. To show you just how awesome Alexa is here is a glimpse of our typical morning:

  • Walk downstairs with Max after he wakes up:

    Alexa, turn the downstairs lights on 10%.

    Because at 5am nothing is more unpleasant than lights at full power.

  • Place Max’s bottle in hot water:

    Alexa, set a timer for 10 minutes.

    A few minutes later Max sees his bottle and starts to cry:

    Alexa, how much time is left?

  • Once Max is situated with his bottle:

    Alexa, turn on NPR.

    We like to listen to Morning Edition while we get ready.

  • After Max has had time to wake up he’ll sometimes point to the Echo, letting us know he wants to listen to his music:

    Alexa, play Max’s playlist on Spotify.

    And because I know Max is going to start turning in circles and get dizzy during the second song (“Rolling” by Hap Palmer):

    Alexa, set the downstairs lights to 80%.

  • And finally, after breakfast and before I head up to get dressed:

    Alexa, what’s the temperature going to be today?

If you think you don’t need an Amazon Echo, you’re probably right. But we sure like ours and since July 12th (TODAY!) is Amazon Prime day, it is the perfect day to snag one and try it out.

Shop the item here: Alexa at Amazon.