As this new year kicks off, you may have been thinking about maximizing all the cool features that your Alexa device has. This could be as a result of either what your friends are saying about theirs, or just personal reflection.
Well, if you are one of those asking “What cool things can Alexa do?”, rest assured that there are so many cool things Alexa can do. And we’ve set out with the intention of highlighting a plethora of Alexa skills that will blow your mind.
One interesting Easter egg Alexa has up her sleeves includes the ability to beatbox rather well. You can ask Alexa about the latest shows or even get her to teach you a prank or two!
Also, if you have a tune in your head and only know some of the words, you can try singing to Alexa. Alexa may recognize that song and offer to play the version you prefer.
The song is played by saying, for instance, “Alexa, Here Comes Santa Clause.”
In this post, I’ll be running down about 11 mouth-watering features of Alexa gadgets that can tremendously increase your productivity, make your home a lot smarter and of course more comfortable and answer the question you’ve been asking “What can Alexa do for me?”. Number 7 & 8 will shock you.
Without further ado, here’s the list of cool and interesting things Alexa can do:
11 Cool Things Alexa Can Do
1. Use as a Bluetooth Speaker
The first cool Alexa feature that always comes to mind when we are asked about the Amazon Echo or Echo Plus is the ability to use it as a Bluetooth speaker. From streaming music online to playing audiobooks to getting weather and news updates, these can all be done handsfree with Alexa.
If you’re connected on Amazon Prime you have access to stream any song of your choice free of charge from Amazon Music. You can also ask for a song, artist, or genre from Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora and SiriusXM too.
A recent development of the Alexa is that you get notified when a new album or a new track has been released by your favourite artist(s) that you follow on Amazon Music.
Then for someone like me that values my time a lot and I always try to see if I can multitask when doing my laundry, for instance, I just tell Alexa to read me an audiobook and I’m able to achieve multiple things at once.
You can also listen to audiobooks with an app from Amazon called audible. You can tell Alexa to continue playing from where you left off if you were listening to one previously. Smart homes gadgets sure improve productivity.
You can also use it as a guide for your workout especially for people that don’t have the strength to join a gym or get a personal trainer. Alexa can still try in that regard.
2. Alexa Can Set A Reminder
Alexa can also remind you about events and you can set up your favourite song to perform this task. You can say easily say “Wake me up by 5 a.m. tomorrow with the jazz song” or you can say “Remind me to feed the dog in 10 mins” and Alexa just gets the job done the way you like it.
Recently, location-based reminder features were added to Alexa so you can say something like “Alexa, remind me to call Dad when I get home” and as soon as you get home a Notification of the reminder enters your phone.
3. You Can Use Alexa to Find your Phone
Amazon’s Alexa can also find your phone using phone finder. You can just say “Alexa, use phone finder to find my phone” then Alexa gets to work and if your phone is online it begins to vibrate.
This is one of my favourite features of the Alexa because I could be really careful with my gadgets (ironically!!). So you don’t need to tell someone to help you call your phone again; you can just tell Alexa.
Let’s move on to the next point.
4. Alexa Can Control your Smart Home
Controlling your home has been made a whole lot easier with Alexa. You can use your voice to control your home and make it your desired taste.
You can Turn on and off your Philips Hue lights both inside and outside the house with your Alexa. You can also instruct your vacuum cleaner to clean a particular part of your house and regulate the temperature of your house to your desired temperature by telling Alexa what to do with your smart thermostat.
5. You Can Use Alexa to Make Skype Calls
With the recent partnership between Alexa and Cortana, very wonderful features and developments are coming out. The first we’ve seen is that you can now easily make Skype calls through the sound of your voice. You can say “Alexa, call Mike on Skype”, sit back and just watch the magic happen.
I actually love this feature because I make a lot of Skype calls based on the country where I reside and the distant location of a lot of my friends.
6. Ordering Stuff Online
You can order your groceries with Alexa. This cool feature has actually been there for a while, but only 2 percent of Alexa-device owners are maximizing it.
I actually like this feature, but I can understand the bias that Alexa-device owners would have with this feature. However, I feel the 2% will strongly increase in the coming years because Amazon is constantly working on updating Alexa to meet your taste.
The things that you normally don’t remember to include your shopping list when going out like toiletries and the likes can be ordered with Alexa. You can also order your favourite pizza or call an Uber especially when you are still preparing for an appointment that you are already late for.
We’ve just touched 6 things Alexa can do for you but there are still 5 more.
7. Alexa Guard Can Provide Security to Your Home
This is actually one of the best features that Alexa has from my personal opinion and when I’m done talking about it you’ll know why. Think about it, what is your primary reason for making your home smart? Security and Convenience if I’m to add a second. The Alexa Guard as the name implies handles the security aspect of it.
Just by saying “Alexa ,I’m leaving” activates the Alexa Guard. When the Alexa Guard is activated it automatically locks the entry ways, it schedules your lights to come on and off throughout the period you aren’t around in a natural pattern so it looks like someone is actually at home.
Whenever it hears unusual sounds such as smoke alarms or breaking glass, it sends notifications to your phone immediately. The alert it sends actually contains the audio clip of the sound for your review and you can decide to forward it to Ring or ADT if its demands security attention.
8. Alexa Can Read Your Emails
Alexa recently got email integration feature. You have to first activate it by saying “Alexa, enable Mailbox”. Then you’ll have to link it to your Gmail account through directions on your Alexa App’s home feed. Afterwards, you can fully enjoy this feature.
You can say “Alexa, open Mailbox and read my emails” Alexa goes through your emails, check for new ones and then she says “Email 1, from Jeff Scott, Subject of Email. Email 2, from …”. Take note of the numbers because you’ll use them in archiving or replying the emails.
To reply you can say “Reply to email [NUMBER]” and to archive you can say “Archive email [NUMBER]” then Alexa replies or archives that particular email number depending on which command you gave her. This brings so much ease.
We’re still not done yet…
9. Alexa Has a Follow-up Mode
This feature makes Alexa feel more like a human being than just a computer. It’s no longer the old way of giving a single command and expecting a single response in turn.
You can now give it multiple commands at once like if you say “Alexa play jazz music on Amazon Music” instead of telling it to open Amazon Music first before telling it your song choice.
After every command, you will notice that the ring around your speaker still glows blue and green meaning that the Assistant is still listening for the next 5 to 10 seconds for more commands.
This is actually the follow-up feature and it happens every time you give Alexa a command. You can activate the follow-up mode in the settings section of the Alexa app.
10. You Can Establish Routines Using Alexa
Routines are a very good way to keep Alexa busy. I believe there are actions and routines that you do every morning, afternoon and/or evening that are already a part of you. You can program Alexa to do those routines at those times and just watch it do its thing.
Added to this Routine feature are also delayed actions where some actions don’t start immediately the routine is triggered, they start at your desired time in the future.
For this feature you can just picture yourself waking up on a Monday morning and saying “Alexa, Good morning” and it automatically turns on your lights, switches on your coffee maker, reads you the news followed by the weather updates. Think about it… How cool is that?
11. Alexa Skills
Skills are the different voice commands that Alexa can respond to (also referred to as Alexa commands), and currently, there are a lot of them. Amazon actually announced the availability of about 70,000 skills. In my opinion, this is actually an area that gives Alexa a competitive edge over its competitors. You can get to know about more about the different skills and how to activate it in the Alexa app or you can just say “Alexa help me get started with skills” or you could also visit this website.
According to new data published by Voicebot, the number of Amazon Alexa skills in the U.S. grew by more than 10 percent in 2021, while the number of skills grew by 7.7 percent and 7.5 percent in Alexa’s two other top markets, the U.K. and Germany, respectively. The data says that Amazon began the year 2021 with 70,729 Alexa skills in the U.S., which increased to 80,111 skills by the end of 2021.
Amazon is constantly using the random questions or queries the assistant hears as an opportunity to recommend particular skills and based on the rate of growth above, we can say that developers were publishing an average of around 200 skills per day in 2021.
This is actually important because virtually every smart speaker has no screen. In the past year, the accuracy of these recommendations have seen some marked improvements.
Now it’s over to you. You’ve seen all the wonderful things Alexa can do. I would like to know which one of them appeals to you the most. Let me know in the comments section below. If you haven’t gotten any Alexa device yet, I’d like to know if you were convinced. Just leave a comment in the box below… Cheers!