Regardless of whether you have an Amazon unit, then lots of us have most likely noticed the name “Alexa.” Alexa is Amazon’s virtual assistant, where a female voice speaks to you in a conversational form, setup to help you with numerous features in your home.
Alexa has been available since 2014, and Alexa continue to get smarter and smarter being able to manage more and more features. Alexa was developed to Amazon Echo, a unit that works both as an audio speaker and a smart-home hub, but nowadays Alexa also operates with many other devices, where Alexa by using voice interaction is able to manage features such as music playback, tracks on Spotify, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audio-books, and delivering weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information.
Originally Alexa was incorporated into several of Amazons products, but later on it was also integrated into third-party devices, like Philips Hue products – Read more about Philps Hue products – Click Here and the Sonos One speaker. As mentioned Alexa can perform a variety of straight forward tasks, like playing music, but it can also be used to control smart-home gadgets, giving it the ability to change the lights, secure the doors, or adjust the thermo-regulator.
While “Alexa” has become associated with products like the Amazon Echo and has been a big selling point for products like the Amazon Fire TV, you can’t actually go out and buy an “Alexa.” You need to have a device where the Alexa feature is integrated with the feature. So what is Alexa exactly ?
What Is Amazon Alexa – How can you use Alexa ?
Alexa is a virtual personal assistant created to compete with the same kind of likes regarding Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and others. Alexa, which was designed by Amazon’s secretive Lab126, can listen to your voice instructions and reply with relevant responses to help you get the task completed.
Alexa can help you listen to tracks on Spotify, create to-do lists, and even control your smart home products, like Google’s Nest thermostat or the Philips Hue light system.
Nevertheless, what exactly is Alexa ? When you ask Alexa a question, subsequently you are interacting with a cloud-based service. Amazon has developed the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to copy real conversations, but you are in fact using simple-to-use voice instructions to get this voice service to perform specified tasks. “Alexa” is basically the “wake word” that notifies the voice service to start paying attention to your voice.
Here’s how Amazon describes the Alexa Voice Service on its developer page:
“The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is Amazon’s intelligent voice recognition and natural language understanding service that allows you to voice-enable any connected device that has a microphone and speaker.”
Just like other virtual assistants, Alexa sometimes has its fair share of difficulty to understand user instructions and responding precisely. However, because Alexa is a cloud-based service, Amazon is continuously updating Alexa’s intelligence to manage different issues. As Alexa’s machines learning becomes more sophisticated, based on all the inputs Alexa receives on a daily basis form its users, then also Alexa will become more and more “intelligent”.
What Is Amazon Alexa – Why is Amazon using the name Alexa ?
Apple has Siri. Google Home has the Google Assistant, which comes alive when you say “OK, Google.” And Amazon has Alexa. But why is Amazon using the name Alexa ? According to David Limp, the Amazon executive who followed the development of the Alexa service, the name “Alexa” was chosen for a few reasons.
First, the name “Alexa” goes back to the archive of Alexandria, which attempted to accumulate all the world’s knowledge. Amazon is attempting to do the same kind of thing with Alexa. Alexa is learning every day, and in theory, it should be a consistent supply of new information.
More practically, the voice service was named Alexa because it contains the unusual “X” sound when you pronounce the name. Since this service is voice-activated, Amazon wished to choose a name that as little than possible get confused with other kind of same words that could accidentally awaken the device by incident:
“We did go through a number of names and the name is important as much for the personality that it creates around the persona than is this computer-based voice computer in the cloud. But there’s computer science behind it, too,” Limp said. “If any of you have Echoes, you know that it only wakes up when it hears the word “Alexa,” and the phonics of that word and how that word is parsed and the fact that it has a hard consonant with the ‘X’ in it, is important in making sure that it wakes up only when it’s asked for. And so, a combination of those two things allowed us to kind of narrow in on Alexa.”
What Is Amazon Alexa – Where can you use Alexa ?
If you want to use the Amazon Alexa system, it will require a device that integrates the Amazon voice technology. This usually means an Amazon device, such as an Echo, Dot, or Tap and Amazon Fire TV.
But because Amazon wants the Alexa system to have a more expanded appeal, then the Alexa cloud-based personal voice assistant has also been integrated with some 3rd-party systems. For example the LG SmartThinQ hub and the Philips Hue Lighting system come with Alexa support, and numerous of other 3. party devices also integrate with Amazon Alexa.
Alexa has now also become the center of many smart-home systems, including Wink, SmartThings, and the Logitech Harmony. You can also use the Alexa voice-assistant to build your smart home piecemeal, as Alexa can also pair with hubless devices such as WeMo switches and Nest thermostats.
Here are some of the most popular Amazon products, where you can use the Alexa system:
What Is Amazon Alexa – What can Alexa perform of tasks ?
The Alexa company app is very important regarding the Amazon Alexa experience. The Alexa app — which is available in Apple’s App Store, the Google Play store and the Amazon App store — is essential for the best Alexa experience.
The list of instructions that Alexa can understand are growing on a daily basis. Amazon calls these “skills,” and now you are even able to create your own skills through Amazon Blueprints. The number of tasks that Alexa can manage is much more than can be listed in this article, but here are some examples:
- Find recipes and give you audible step-by-step directions with the “All Recipes” skill.
- Control your smart home vacuum cleaner.
- Read a Kindle book for you.
- Get movie showtime or sports schedules.
- Order a pizza for you or find restaurants close to you.
- Pay your bills with the Capital One app.
- Order almost anything online.
- Give lots of different advises to you within topics you are interesting in.
- Track your Amazon packages.
Alexa has also now the skill to set up daily “routines” with you, where a single instruction that you set — for example, “Alexa, good night,” — will be able to let Alexa to take care of shutting off the lights, locking your front door, sets an alarm for a time you set, and sets your coffee pot to turn on at a certain time in the morning.
Amazon is all the time including new features to Alexa, where you will have more skills and device compatibility. If you want to learn more about Alexa the new features, that have been added to your Alexa system, you just ask Alexa: “Alexa, what’s new feature with you ?” and Alexa will be happy to share new features with you.
What Is Amazon Alexa – How does Alexa integrate with my smart home ?
Alexa can be a useful tool for controlling your smart home. In fact, Alexa connects to popular smart-home services such as WeMo, Google’s Nest and the Philips Hue system, and a number of other smart home systems.
With those apps, you can control your smart-home products, change the temperature in your home, set the lighting and much more. As with entertainment (and every other skill), you can simply ask Alexa to make changes to your smart home devices. It’s an excellent feature which makes Alexa very useful.
What Is Amazon Alexa – Final verdict about Amazon Alexa
The latest Amazon Echo (2nd generation) smart speaker is a refreshing update to the Amazon Alexa range. Its price is lower, the design more appealing and using Alexa together with Amazon Echo is a great experience and further Alexa gets better with each passing month.
Therefore you will over time get more and more benefit with your Amazon Alexa system, because Alexa is cloud based and cloud learning based on the inputs Alexa all the time receives from the many users of Alexa, and therefore the Amazon Alexa will get smarter and more intelligent every month you have your Amazon Alexa system.
Here is a video about Amazon Alexa