Living With Alexa

“Alexa, STOP!”
These words have become part of the vernacular with my humble abode, all thanks to our latest roommate – Amazon’s Echo, otherwise known as Alexa.

Alexa has been living with me since January, and like all new living companions, we’ve had our ups and downs. Once she arrived, the initial geek-glee was soon replaced by confusion. Perhaps my Mayo accent is thicker than I thought, but a lot of questions were quickly replied with; “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that”.
Once we overcame this hurdle, as well as some location and time-zone hiccups, we started to get on just fine.

I found Alexa works best when you need something while you’re already busy. The most used feature is the timer while cooking. Uttering the phrase, “Alexa, set a timer for 25 minutes” has saved me from many a burnt pizza. She is also great for telling the time, the weather and controlling your music, from song choice to volume, all hands free.

Alexa is Amazon’s bet on voice activated smart home companions, connecting devices of all natures within a home for frictionless interaction. By simply speaking with Alexa, you can turn up the heat in the home (via NEST), turn off your smart lights or connect to Bluetooth speakers for music. As we cited in our 2017 Search Trends, voice search will rise to 50% of all searches by 2020, an area of rapid growth which Amazon, Google and Apple are all trying to capitalise on.

Alexa’s true potential hasn’t been realised in Ireland yet. With Alexa in other markets, you can order your take-away or call an Uber at ease. Until localised services and news feeds are linked up, I fear Alexa will be confined to playing games of 21 questions (which is quite fun!) and suffering through my particularly dodgy selection of music.