Did Santa bring you an Alexa? Let’s place it to function

So you received an Amazon Alexa for Xmas and you’d like to know what it can do?

How about setting up some uncomplicated and low-cost household automation?

You’re in the proper spot.

1st, let’s converse about what Alexa can do for you.

Amazon’s Echo units

I’ve had Echo equipment all over the residence for a few yrs now, and in this article is a glimpse at how we use Alexa in our household.

I have a fourth-era Echo Dot with a clock on my bedside desk and a 3rd-era Echo Dot in the living space.

Every early morning, my wife and I get started our day by asking Alexa what the temperature is and what the climate is heading to be for the working day.

This is as uncomplicated as declaring, “Alexa, what is the temperature going to be in Dallas nowadays?”

We also use Alexa as our day by day alarm to wake up.

This is accomplished by expressing, “Alexa, established an alarm for just about every weekday at 6:30 a.m.”

Alexa can also help if you’re using the day off and want to sleep a small late.

Just say, “Alexa, cancel my 6:30 a.m. alarm.”

She’ll react by expressing, “6:30 a.m. alarm canceled. Do you want to cancel for every weekday?”

If you say no, she’ll just cancel the alarm for a person working day.

Timers are also a wonderful endeavor for Alexa. From my kitchen area, I can just holler out, “Alexa, set a 25-moment timer.” You can also title your timers by expressing, “Alexa, set a 45-moment cake timer” if you are baking.

Of class, there are hundreds of Alexa instructions. You can appear up a large list at cnet.com.


A single of the most effective capabilities of the Alexa ecosystem is the addition of third-social gathering skills.

These competencies insert options to the Echo as a result of tie-ins to other businesses.

Some preferred expertise involve:

Audible: You can hear to Audible publications through Alexa and command the playback with your voice.

Roku: If you have a Roku Television, you can empower the Roku ability and regulate the Television set with your voice. “Alexa, switch off the Tv set,” is something we say each individual day at my property.

Nest: If you have a Nest smart thermostat, you can add the Nest talent to enable voice management of the temperature in your house.

Sleep sounds: You can convert Alexa into a white noise machine so you can tune out the seems of the town and rest.

You can interact with Alexa and do factors like add competencies on the Alexa app in your cellphone or pill.

Some of the applications you can add expense dollars, but there is no monthly rate for Alexa.

House automation

I used to enable a Wink hub help control my dwelling automation products like sensible bulbs and good plugs. Wink also aided handle my Emerson Sensi Thermostat and my Schlage wise deadbolt.

Wink determined to transfer to a subscription model, so I began seeking for no cost possibilities.

It turns out several units have turned to Alexa to aid handle factors.

I did have to ditch some outdated sensible bulbs, but most of my house automation setups were being previously Alexa-compatible.

This usually means you established up the product — like a Wyze Good Bulb — with the Wyze application on your cellphone, then load the Wyze talent in the Alexa app and request Alexa to scan for new units.

Alexa need to choose about 20 seconds to scan and occur back to convey to you she found a new bulb.

You title the bulb, like Jim’s bedside desk, and you can even assign it to a home in your property.

Assign an Echo product to the home (say, the bedroom) and you can just stroll in and say “turn on the lights” to flip on all the lights assigned to that bedroom.

As soon as you have the bulbs set up, you can management the full home with your voice.

I also have Alexa doing work with my Emerson Sensi Sensible Thermostat to command my house’s temperature.

My AT&T Digital Daily life residence alarm also has a skill, so I can check with Alexa to arm or disarm the procedure.

I’m also utilizing various clever plugs — there are many models — to manage different things around the home.

I have a massive flooring lamp with four bulbs in my living place. Rather of applying 4 intelligent bulbs to management the lamp, I am utilizing one smart plug.

The Alexa app lets you set up the clever plug and designate it as a gentle, so I can team my flooring lamp with the relaxation of the intelligent bulbs in my dwelling room.

Songs in any area

Ultimately, you can use your Echo to engage in songs from most well-liked tunes services, like Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Songs, Pandora and SiriusXM.

If you have many Echo devices all-around your house, you can group them and sync up the audio playback during your residence.

Some Echo units have quite very good speakers, but most Echoes — even the smallest Echoes like my Echo Dot — can link to superior speakers via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm aux out plug.

Moreover, adding tunes to a different room is the fantastic excuse to obtain another Echo.

There is a bunch additional the Alexa ecosystem can do for you. Amazon sends a weekly electronic mail to tell customers what is new with Alexa.

I’m chatting about Amazon devices in this column for the reason that that’s what I use at household, but a good deal of this operation can also be had with a Google Property or Apple’s HomePod.